FPL, SDG&E, PSEG, ConEd win awards for electric reliability

Florida Power & Light Co. led the way when PA Consulting Group named its award winners Thursday night as the most reliable utilities in the United States.

The 15th annual ReliabilityOne Award winners spanned the nation, but Florida Power & Light shined as the Excellence Award honoree for 2015. Since 2006, FPL has invested more than $2 billion to strengthen its system, the utility reported.

“This award is a direct reflection of the commitment of our employers, who each and every day deliver outstanding value for our customers,” FPL CEO Eric Silagy said in a statement. “We are constantly working to improve our service by investing in innovative technology that makes our grid stronger, smarter and more resilient, particularly where it concerns Florida’s severe weather.”

PA Consulting also honored six utilities as regional ReliabilityOne Award recipients. They include: Northeast Region—Consolidated Edison Co. of New York; Mid-Atlantic—Public Service Electric & Gas Co. (PSEG); Southeast—Florida Power & Light; Midwest—We Energies; West—San Diego Gas & Electric; and Plains—Xcel Energy Minnesota.

Consolidated Edison, PSEG, FPL and San Diego Gas & Electric are all repeat winners in their categories. Last year’s overall winner was San Diego Gas & Electric.

Midsize utilities named for outstanding reliability performance in 2015 include Indianapolis Power & Light, Mississippi Power and Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM).

“The ReliabilityOne Awards program recognizes electric utilities for providing customers with the highest levels of reliability in the industry,” said Jeff Lewis, PA Consulting Group’s ReliabilityOne Program Director. “With the energy industry continuing to be challenged by new regulations and threats such as cyber-attacks, it is imperative that we recognize the leaders in this industry who are paving the way with innovative technology and superior customer engagement. Our ReliabilityOne recipients take great pride in protecting the reliability of the electric system.”

Florida Power & Light Co. is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving about 4.8 million customer accounts across nearly half of the state of Florida. In the past 10 years, the utility has strengthened nearly 600 main power lines, cleared vegetation from 120,000 miles of lines, installed 4.8 million smart meters and more than 12,000 other intelligent devices which help reduce outage times and give customers information to manage energy use.

Some of these same utilities were singled out for specific accomplishments in reliability.

PSEG, based in New Jersey, received the award in the category of Outstanding Customer Engagement. PSEG received the award for successfully managing multiple channels to ensure that key stakeholders including customers, regulators, government officials, and the media all receive clear and consistent messaging during both blue-sky and major events. The company’s corporate communications department engages over 72,000 Twitter followers, nearly 60,000 Facebook followers, more than 1.2 million email accounts, and a significant presence on LinkedIn.

FPL also won this year’s Technology & Innovation Award. The company leadership was lauded for embracing the benefits that new technology can provide to enhance their overall outage restoration and management process.

FPL employees also enhanced their mobile application, which is capable of running on both tablets and smart phones.

PA awarded San Diego Gas & Electric the recognition for Outstanding Response to a Major Outage Event for its efforts during the May 2014 wildfires. SDG&E used state-of-the-art computing and advanced analytics to monitor the largest utility weather network in the world and track winds on every high-risk circuit every 10 minutes.

This ensured response and restoration activities could be conducted strategically, according to PA Consulting. Ultimately, 12 wildfires affected their service territory over six days interrupting over 50,000 customers, destroying 65 structures, 46 homes, and causing over $60 million in damages.

Consolidated Edison of New York was awarded PA’s Outstanding System-Wide Reliability for the eighth year in a row for providing its customers with system wide reliability that is 85 percent better than the industry average. Con Edison incorporates planning criteria for outage contingencies that are more stringent than the majority in the industry. As a result of this substantial investment, the average customer on Con Edison’s system can expect an outage about once every 10 years.

New Jersey-based PSEG also captured the honors for Outstanding Outage Response Time, which recognized the best outage response time for customers experiencing an outage out of the Regional ReliabilityOne winners. PSE&G restored customers 30 percent faster than other large investor owned utilities, according to the report.

The award reception was held at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach in Miami, Florida before an audience that included senior management of leading utilities, union representation, and leading energy industry experts

PA Consulting has 2,500 employees and has offices in North America, Europe, the Nordics, Middle East, North Africa and Asia Pacific.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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