According to EPRI, the U.S. economy loses $104 – $164 billion per year to unplanned power outages even after utilities have implemented an outage management system (OMS) under normal operating and external conditions. Of course this translates into thousands of hours of power-less living for consumers across the country, which is sometimes a mere inconvenience but other times a life-threatening situation.
The challenge for utilities is that while OMS’s provide crucial functionality to utilities, such as determining how to reset protective devices safely to restore power, these systems alone are clearly insufficient to significantly limit the economic impact of power outage.
The problem is complex since power outages are multi-faceted events that are bigger than a single system. That’s where situational intelligence can help. By drawing data from multiple disparate sources such as smart meters, protective devices, customer information, workforce management and weather feeds, situational intelligence applications provide utilities with the broader view needed to detect power outages earlier and restore power faster.
Utilities benefit from applying this unified view to improve how they prevent, detect, assess, and respond to outages. Early insights into the start of a potentially larger outage (and possibly limiting its spread), better understanding of the cause of an outage (and associated improvement in accuracy of restoration times), and clearer prioritization of which critical customers to restore power to first, are just a few examples of how situational intelligence adds value to the way utilities respond to outages today.
If you’re curious, read about Outage Intelligence, a situational intelligence application that provides valuable analysis for utilities to reduce the breadth and duration of outages.