COLUMBUS, OH--(Marketwire - Sep 11, 2012) - Gainesville Regional Utilities has implemented the ARCOS(SM) Callout and Scheduling Suite to improve dispatch operations and speed up response to after-hours calls for power restoration. The ARCOS Suite is a cloud-based application that identifies and calls available utility crews, analyzes responses and reports on the outcome, while accounting for complex union agreements. GRU will also use ARCOS's SIREN(SM) software module, which creates and relays emergency notices or updates to utility executives and workers.
"We can now instantly check the availability of our linemen and streamline our entire process for additional after-hours response," says Ken Simmons, systems control manager for GRU. "Our first use of ARCOS occurred during a Sunday afternoon thunderstorm. We needed additional crews, and our dispatcher used ARCOS to automatically get four more linemen within 5 minutes."
According to Simmons, if GRU had relied on its prior manual process for callout, a dispatcher would spend 30 to 45 minutes to make enough calls to find four, extra available workers.
During the work day, which runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., GRU's dispatchers and system operators resolve circuit lockouts and direct line crews to outages. After business hours, a system operator can now tap ARCOS to locate and secure additional line crews for power restoration. While GRU's process for after-hours service restoration has always been sound, GRU Systems Operations Manager Frank Beazlie says the utility wanted better efficiency. Restoring outages quickly gets the lights on faster and improves customer service says Beazlie.
"Automating callout will lower CAIDI," says Beazlie. "By calling out additional people with ARCOS and getting them in 10 minutes or less, we reduce the time customers are without power."
"The ARCOS Suite removes the pressure of finding available workers from GRU's system operators," adds Bruce Duff, chief executive officer of ARCOS. "They can focus on high-value activities like putting a plan together for restoration, instead of searching for available crews."
ARCOS will help GRU's system operators gain the minutes to focus on whether an outage could be resolved with, for instance, a remote control switch on a circuit. The callout time saved with ARCOS, GRU says, can help the system operators find a problem along a two-mile circuit and point the line crews to a specific location, with the correct equipment. GRU has 100 workers available for callout in the ARCOS Suite. The utility has 300 employees in SIREN.
"We think SIREN could be extremely helpful for a hurricane," says Simmons. "Instead of managers building a phone tree, a push of a button sends a SIREN message immediately to home phones, cell phones, pagers or email addresses telling employees when and where to report."
About ARCOS, Inc.
Nineteen of the top 25 U.S. utilities rely on the ARCOS (SM) Callout and Scheduling Suite. When the power goes out, a gas leak is reported or another emergency occurs, the award-winning, cloud-based ARCOS Suite instantaneously finds, assembles and tracks repair crews, reducing outage interruptions and improving restoration time for electric, gas and power plant utilities. For more information, visit www.arcos-inc.com or call 614-396-5500.