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FP&L, SDG&E share top ReliabilityOne honors for IOUs

Gregg Edeson, reliability and resiliency lead at PA Consulting, discusses this year’s ReliabilityOne award winners.

Florida Power & Light won PA Consulting’s top award for grid reliability for the third straight year, but it shared honors with a co-champ this time around. San Diego Gas & Electric joined FP&L atop the leaderboard for the national ReliabilityOne Excellence Award. PA Consulting’s annual honors focus on investor-owned utilities for their customer service and power restoration efforts during the previous year.

The awards were announced during the 18th annual ReliabilityOne ceremony Wednesday night in Phoenix. Five other utilities were also honored for their efforts during a year in which most were challenged by difficult or even traumatic weather events, from hurricanes to wildfires to tornadoes and floods.

Gregg said: “This years’ ReliabilityOne™ winners raised the bar for their customers in times of extreme emergencies and weather situations. The winners continue to layer in innovative and groundbreaking technologies to serve their customers and keep the power on in the face of these ‘new normal’ weather conditions."

Extreme weather has caused more than $100 billion annually in the U.S. for the past few years. Hurricanes Harvey, Michael, Florence and Irma devastated coastal power grids, while historic wildfires in California have impacted the financial well-being of citizens and utilities there.

Gregg adds: “Given the worsening storms and weather conditions affecting the U.S., in years to come we may even see utilities collaborating on storm modeling to bring an industry tool or approach for all types of weather events. Together we can work to create a positive lasting impact.”

PA Consulting also honored six regional winners and one midsize utility for their reliability efforts, noting that investor-owned utilities overall reduced average system outage duration to 114.4 minutes in 2017, a five-minute decrease from the previous year.

The six regional ReliabilityOne Award winners were: West—San Diego Gas & Electric; Plains—Xcel Energy; Midwest—We Energies; Mid-Atlantic—Public Service Electric & Gas Co.; Northeast—Consolidated Edison of New York; and Southeast—Florida Power & Light.

Atlantic City Electric of New Jersey was awarded a ReliabilityOne outstanding performance for a midsize utility.

For 18 years, PA has been conducting reliability analyses of the nation’s electric utility industry based on publicly available information on the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), which provides the average outage duration per customer, and System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI), which measures the average number of interruptions per customer. PA’s certification and analyses of the utilities in the ReliabilityOne™ program found that:

  • IOUs in 2017 saw a slight decrease in average outage frequency compared to 2016.
  • Average SAIDI performance of the regional ReliabilityOne™ winners decreased by approximately 2 minutes from 2016 to 2017 and remains over 60 minutes better than the national IOUs average SAIDI performance.
  • Advanced utilities are becoming more agile and using innovative technology and automation to improve data capture and validation in outage related processes. ReliabilityOne™ winning companies are continuously pushing the boundaries to incorporate technologies and analytics that improve outage restoration processes.
  • Companies are starting to tap into the growing field of machine learning to help identify and mitigate problems on the distribution grid before outages are caused.
  • Utilities are increasingly using staff meteorologists to better predict how changing weather patterns (e.g. storms, fires, floods) are impacting their operations, and are utilizing this data to shape their responses to outages.
  • Utilities are taking full advantage of better communications to help keep customers informed throughout major event preparation and outage restoration processes.

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