Arcos LLC will implement its Callout & Scheduling, Crew Manager and Resource Assist solutions to centralize and automate Nebraska-based Lincoln Electric System’s manual process for responding to power outages ranging from a single broken pole to major events.
According to LES, the Arcos platform can expedite contacting and dispatching crews to respond to outages with the goal of decreasing LES’s System Average Interruption Duration Index.
“While we’ve always been successful getting crews to where they need to be to restore power, we have a very manual, cumbersome process for doing it,” says Fredrick J. Rumery, coordinator for T&D Construction at LES. “Especially when it’s all-hands on deck, our manual process is time-consuming when contacting, securing and reporting on the status of crews.”
Lincoln Electric System’s 500 employees service about 200 square miles within Nebraska’s Lancaster County, including the city of Lincoln. When an after-hours emergency occurs, LES dispatchers alert troubleshooters.
If a job requires more work than a troubleshooter can handle alone, a dispatcher will call a duty supervisor who turns to a paper list of crew members updated and printed daily. The duty supervisor is typically a design engineer, construction manager or substation manager. These individuals are not always best suited for deciding what type and make-up of crew is best for any given job.
“Each week we provide our duty supervisors with a packet showing who’s available; if there’s an after-hours callout, they’ll mark who they contacted and turn it in the next morning for data entry by our operations staff,” adds Rumery. “There can be errors with a paper process.”
According to LES, the utility is launching the Arcos platform in November beginning with the Callout & Scheduling solution to create a central repository for all crew data. Once launched, Rumery expects to see the average time to call out and secure a four-man crew drop from 45 minutes to a few minutes or less. LES will also replace its homegrown system for tracking the status of crews during normal business hours with Crew Manager. The Crew Manager system will give LES a real-time look at where its crews are working as well as how managers can deploy crews for changing circumstances such as forecasted storms or construction projects.
“During a storm event, the Arcos platform will track when employees work and provide visual warnings when crews reach the end of their 16-hours-on, 8-hours-off schedule,” adds Rumery. “Arcos starts the clock automatically when an employee is called in and accounts for their work. Currently, this is done by staff using spreadsheets.”
LES will also implement Arcos Resource Assist to replace the computer spreadsheets the utility relies on to solicit and intake resources from contractors and neighboring utilities during major events. The data entry involved in capturing how many crews are available and inputting their make-up and equipment takes LES operations staff added hours better used elsewhere.
“Crew Manager and Resource Assist are going to speed up restoration and increase efficiency,” says Rumery. “The reporting capabilities will help us show our union partners exactly how many crew members and crews are called and working. Reporting everything accurately will be a huge benefit because it gets the right people for the right jobs equitably and efficiently.”