Arcos LLC, the market leader for utility and critical infrastructure resource-management solutions, will implement its Arcos Callout and Scheduling Suite this winter to automate Bastrop, Texas-based Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative’s after-hours crew call outs.
According to Bluebonnet managers, the cooperative’s customer base is growing at a rate of about 500 meters per month; six years ago, the utility set about 1,500 meters annually.
“Our western territory touches Austin, so we’re seeing more growth. We believe the Arcos software will have time-saving advantages for us from the get-go,” says Paul Herzog, operations superintendent for Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative.
The Arcos suite simplifies an electric cooperative’s ability to respond to and restore outages and report on the outcome. Arcos will replace Bluebonnet’s manual call out process that includes control center operations staff juggling an online calendar system, phone calls and lists to find available workers to respond to after-hours outages. With Bluebonnet’s existing manual system, finding, assembling and dispatching a crew after business hours with the right skill set to repair a broken pole or transformer can take up to an hour.
“During our daily shifts, we rely on a radio system to dispatch crews. But after normal business hours, Arcos will be our system of record for automatically calling out and scheduling approximately 150 journeymen, substation technicians and helpers,” notes Herzog. “In the future, we’re planning to call out contractors with Arcos.”
As Bluebonnet’s level of operations goes from normal to storm planning and, ultimately, major events, the cooperative will use the Arcos system to check lineworkers’ availability and call them. According to Herzog, with Arcos in place, control center operators can launch a callout from a keyboard or mobile device and then return to analyzing messages and details about an outage to help prepare crews for what they can expect on site.