dataVoice International has collaborated with the American Public Power Association to develop a new application that allows utilities to compare their outage data to figures from other power providers.

DataVoice International has collaborated with the American Public Power Association to develop a new application that allows utilities to compare their outage data to figures from other power providers. With the tool, called the eReliability Tracker, DataVoice users can easily push outage metrics to the shared APPA database and view comparable statistics from utilities across the country. The single-sign-on portal features three key sections: manage, outages and report.

Administrators will use this section of the application most often, as it includes user- and utility-management tools. Creating a new user involves entering email and username information and assigning an organizational role, a process that takes seconds to complete. The eReliability Tracker offers a self-enrollment option as well, meaning administrators can prompt employees to set up their own accounts via email. The system also supports joint action agencies, or groups of municipalities and utility companies that own service delivery fixtures or purchase energy jointly from private utilities. Administrators can assign users to different utilities within one JAA, adding further context to the data.

In addition to managing users, backend operators can configure and edit utility companies that fall under JAAs. Like the user configuration process, inputting new utilities is easy. Administrators must enter contact information and the total number of customers served. They can then add associated substations and circuits, along with the number customers connected to those fixtures. These small details come in handy when the system has to process outage events, as it can access these figures to tabulate accurate “customers out” counts.

Once the data have been entered, administrators can add specific customer and delivery device information. The eReliability Tracker offers myriad equipment choices, from cables and connectors to meters and relays. These seemingly minor particulars enrich the data, making for more constructive outage reviews.

“With the eReliability Tracker, users can easily enter outage metrics into the shared APPA database.”

Within the outages section, administrators and regular users can enter service interruption information. The outage entry form features a number of required fields, including address, substation, circuit and primary cause. It also has single-cause and multi-cause event options. The form automatically populates the total number of affected customers by mining previously configured utility data. Individuals entering outages can add extra details to flesh out the data as well. The form includes sections for system characteristics, miscellaneous details and field notes. Users can also assign work details to each outage entry as a way of collecting historic repair data. 

The outages tab includes a sortable list of service interruptions with filters for utility, substation, circuit, customers affected, start date and duration. Users can add batch outage information stored within CSV files. And, those using the the DataVoice outage management can push internal data directly to the APPA common database without manually entering information.

Utilities using the eReliability Tracker can also export outage data for use in geographic information system applications.

Administrators can access aggregate outage data in the report tab. The section includes regional and customer-based filters, along with platform-wide data viewing options. The eReliability Tracker generates automatic annual reports and delivers them via this tab. Utilities can customize these reports to show key performance indicators such as System Average Interruption Duration Index scores, and common outage causes. Of course, every user has access to national data from other power providers, facilitating valuable industry comparisons. The APPA asks that administrators log their outage data prior to the conclusion of the fiscal year so as to maintain accurate nationwide figures. 

These tools give users that power to catalog and access actionable outage data, making the eReliability Tracker an essential application for data-backed, performance-conscious utility companies looking to reduce service interruptions and bolster customer service. Those that use the platform to its full potential can earn a Certificate of Excellence in Reliability from the APPA. The organization requires aspiring certification holders to rank within the first quartile for SAIDI ranking and maintain accurate data that comports with reliability metrics published by the Energy Information Administration.

Utilities that want to take their eReliability Tracker usage to the next level can work with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley to adopt advanced visualization and mapping tools and machine learning software that can help maximize maintenance costs and improve delivery system resiliency. The institution also offers an implement interruption cost estimator that functions at a circuit level and adds extra visibility. Collaborating utilities can even work with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to explore new ways to utilize operational data and improve service quality.

In all, the eReliability Tracker from the APPA and DataVoice offers utility companies new data mining capabilities that have the potential to transform on-the-ground operations and improve customer service. Want to learn more about this application or other products from our OMS suite? Connect with us today. 

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