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Current Outage Management Systems Not Making the Grade

More than half of surveyed utilities plan to upgrade or replace their outage management system (OMS) in the next two years according to BRIDGE Industry Survey

MARLBOROUGH, Mass., January 22, 2013 — BRIDGE Energy Group, the leading Utility business consulting and systems integration solutions provider, today announced the results from their Utility industry survey on outage management.

BRIDGE surveyed over 14,000 utility employees about their views and experiences in outage management. Results show that 53% of respondents plan to upgrade or replace their existing OMS in the next one to two years. Related initiatives described as top projects planned include smart metering and related infrastructure, automated feeder switching, Volt/VAR optimization, SCADA upgrades, system integration, and business intelligence with predictive analytics.

The survey revealed that the current OMS project initiatives – including consideration of cloud-based solution, integrating smart meter outage inputs, and integrating OMS, GIS and EMS – are leading the push to upgrade or replace existing systems. As these initiatives are pursued, the survey revealed two top concerns: the integration of related systems and availability of knowledgeable staff.

“Outage costs exceeding $150 billion per year is a massive challenge and opportunity for North America. The digitization of a wide array of utility systems has the capability for providing enormous strategic, operational and energy savings,” said David E. Olsson, CEO of BRIDGE Energy Group. “For instance, smart meters stimulate an avalanche of data that can be capitalized on through high value, problem solving analytics that drive dramatic OMS returns on investments.”

64% of respondents indicated that restoration management was a top priority. This fact was no doubt related to their stated goal of improving customer service as well as the cost of their outages ranging between $1 million and $30 million.

“Extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy demonstrate the importance of moving beyond traditional outage management to develop true restoration management capability. Knowing where the outages are isn’t enough to restore power quickly and satisfy stakeholders,” said Forrest Small, VP of Grid Optimization Strategy at BRIDGE. “Utilities have to process information from many sources, make good decisions in real time, and communicate clearly and continuously internally and externally. Knowing how to integrate new technologies with existing operational systems and business requirements is critical to strong restoration performance.”

BRIDGE will be sharing the results of this survey at DistribuTECH in San Diego, California from January 29th -31st while exhibiting at booth #2144. The Utility Industry Survey report can also be requested via BRIDGE’s website: https://www.bridgeenergygroup.com/outagemanagementsurvey.html

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