The way your electric utility organization responds to energy outages may define it in the eyes of members. This means reduced outage durations can translate into better relationships with your local community and ongoing loyalty.

In today’s technology-driven world, it’s not surprising that the most direct answer to power outage woes is installing an outage management system (OMS). If your utility is struggling under the weight of too many manual processes or inefficient workflows, restoration times may be too long for customer comfort. This is where an OMS proves its worth.

OMS energy restoration: Serve utility members more effectively

Customers want power to be highly reliable, with few breaks in service and quick restoration. According to the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index report on utilities, the overall level of approval in the energy sector fell 2.7% to 73.2 on a 100-point scale. One of the factors that made people unhappy was a feeling that the reliability of power generation is on the decline. While ACSI noted this puts pressure on utilities to maintain the grid more actively, there are other measures that impact restoration times, including the collection and use of real-time data through an OMS.

Indeed, even regions taking immediate action to repair weaknesses in the power grid are likely facing a years-long battle to make the infrastructure more reliable. When the American Society of Civil Engineers surveyed the nation’s essential power infrastructure on an A to F system in 2017, the power grid scored a D+. Stepping up restoration efforts while aging assets increase the odds of power failures is an ongoing challenge.

An OMS can lead to reduced outage durations by removing periods of ambiguity from a power failure. When an incident occurs, the outage location is mapped using geographic imaging systems (GIS) and that information is accessible by personnel throughout the organization, including field crews making their way to the site of the problem.

Utilities have made the switch

When you browse dataVoice International success stories from companies that have already adopted OMS technology, a common thread emerges: Responding to problems with an OMS is simply a more streamlined and efficient process than trying to cobble together a resolution with too many legacy systems. Processes such as taking customer calls about a power outage, mapping their approximate location and dispatching linemen via phone or radio are no longer necessary with an OMS to provide real-time data.

An OMS integrated with an interactive voice response (IVR) system can help any utility provider deal more effectively with customer outage reports. People reaching out can be redirected to the answers they need, meaning many calls will never require intervention from a live operator. This keeps your team free to coordinate the outage response. An IVR can also alert members to planned outages and restoration timelines, keeping lines of communication open at critical times without needing manual intervention.

The present is an age of precarious infrastructure and high customer expectations. With an OMS, energy utilities can craft outage restoration strategies that meet these challenges.

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