San Diego Gas & Electric takes top honor - National ReliabilityOne™ Excellence Award
19 November 2014
Last night (18 November) PA Consulting Group (PA) announced the recipients of its annual 2014 ReliabilityOne™ Awards that recognise North American utilities in a number of critical industry categories including: reliability, storm response, technology and innovation, and customer engagement. PA Consulting Group's ReliabilityOne™ awards are widely recognised as one of the most prestigious honors in the electric utility industry, recognising organisations that provide their customers with the highest levels of reliability.
This year PA recognised six regional ReliabilityOne™ winners from utilities across the U.S. for the 2013 calendar year. The selections were based on overall system wide performance in both outage duration and frequency. PA awarded its annual National ReliabilityOne™ Excellence Award to one of its winners that demonstrated superior leadership, innovation and achievement in the area of electric reliability. PA also selected from its group of winners, the utility that had the Best Response to a Major Outage Event and the utility with the most Outstanding System-Wide Reliability.
Of note, PA expanded its program to include Outstanding Reliability Performance for Midsize Utilities and introduced two new award categories – Outstanding Customer Engagement and Outstanding Technology and Innovation.
National ReliabilityOne™ Excellence Award recipient:
PA’s National ReliabilityOne™ Excellence Award goes to a company that is a consistent top performer in the industry and is one that has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to maintaining reliability for their customers from every level of the organisation.
This year’s National ReliabilityOne™ Excellence Award was presented to San Diego Gas & Electric. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is constantly striving to optimise processes and moving towards integrating current tools with new technology to help manage information. For example, they have pioneered the use of microgrid technology in one of their most remote and difficult communities to serve. Even more notable, is the fact that they went from a pilot microgrid demonstration project to quickly leveraging the new technology to restore customers during two outages in 2013 which included windstorms and intense thunder. The microgrid utilises local power generation, energy storage, and automated switching to create a more robust, resilient grid that can dynamically react to changing conditions.
In addition to SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) and CIS (customer information system) integration, they deployed AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) to 99.9 percent of their customers – processing over 80 million reads per day and are developing new network monitoring and analytic tools to improve operational efficiency and reduce device downtime by providing analysts with near real-time results necessary for expediently troubleshooting network issues and optimising network performance.
"We look forward to our ReliabilityOne™ event every year because it gives us a chance to celebrate utilities that have clearly demonstrated a commitment to excellence in a sector that is facing constant challenges in the form of talent, technology, and increasingly severe weather events,” said PA Consulting Group's Program Director for ReliabilityOne™. “Keeping reliability as a priority in this environment demonstrates a dedication to customers, and these companies have set the standard in the industry by providing the tools, responsiveness, and leadership necessary to blaze the trail.”
This year's six regional ReliabilityOne™ awards recipients are:
Northeast Region - Consolidated Edison Company of New York
Mid-Atlantic Region - Public Service Electric & Gas Company
South Region - Florida Power & Light
West Region - San Diego Gas & Electric
Midwest Region - We Energies
Plains Region - Kansas City Power & Light
Outstanding Reliability Performance for Midsize Utility award recipients are:
Midsize Utility - Vectren Energy Delivery
Midsize Utility - Narragansett Electric Company (operating as National Grid)
New to the program this year, PA expanded its Outstanding Reliability Performance to include the top Midsize Utilities. Both Vectren and Narragansett (operating as National Grid) delivered exceptional results. Narragansett’s (operating as National Grid) reliability programs are leading the way in National Grid’s overall partnership with its customers in Rhode Island – and Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana posted their best reliability results in the last ten years, over 60 percent better than our national average.
2014 ReliabilityOne™ award recipients for outstanding performance are:
Outstanding Customer Engagement- San Diego Gas & Electric
Outstanding Technology & Innovation - Florida Power & Light
Outstanding Response to a Major Outage Event - Narragansett Electric Company (National Grid)
Outstanding System Wide Reliability - Consolidated Edison Company of New York
San Diego Gas & Electric received the award in the new category of Outstanding Customer Engagement due to their ability to embrace communication across multiple channels to provide accurate information during both blue-sky conditions and major weather events. They have seized the opportunity to deliver a positive shift in their ability to engage with their customers directly in real-time through their optimised website, mobile application, and their presence on social media. In addition, they developed an Energy Solutions Network to partner with over 250 community-based organisations to connect customers to solutions which contribute to system reliability - and they have taken extra steps to engage with customers with medical conditions, or life sustaining equipment, and rural customers to ensure their well-being during an emergency or outage through increased communications efforts.
Florida Power & Light won this year’s new Technology & Innovation award because of their leadership in embracing the benefits that new technology can provide to their overall outage restoration and management process. They have demonstrated that by breaking through the barriers to innovation organisations can achieve exceptional results.
Florida Power & Light (FPL) leveraged the considerable skills of their dedicated employees to develop an in-house mobile application, capable of running on both tablets and smart phones that provide the entire organisation with an unprecedented level of information regarding system status and outage information. Through their application, both field staff and management have the ability to instantly “ping” (query status of customers’ electric supply) meters and maintain full situational awareness during any outage in real-time. Their system provides a level of reliability information to field personnel that is rarely seen in the industry.
PA awarded Narragansett Electric Company (National Grid) the achievement of Outstanding Response to a Major Event in recognition of their tremendous restoration efforts. Narragansett responded to Nor’easter “NEMO” - a major storm that brought high winds and heavy snow causing significant damage to their electric infrastructure and interrupting power to over 35 percent of their customers, as well as affecting 99 percent of the communities served.
Restoration was completed in just over four days, much faster than the six to 10 days required by many other utilities during similar sized events. Pre-mobilisation began 48 hours prior to the first outage and by anticipating the difficulties and risks associated with a winter storm of this magnitude, the Company enlisted nearly 1,200 field crews, including approximately 930 external crews, to assist with restoration.
Con Edison was awarded Outstanding System-Wide Reliability for being the utility that achieved the best system wide reliability in the U.S. - Customers served by Con Edison experienced an average outage duration of less than 20 minutes per year compared to an industry average of nearly 130 minutes. This result is not only better than the industry first quartile, but nearly 30 minutes better than even the first decile. Con Edison is looking to improve and innovate through business processes and technologies to become smarter, stronger, and more sustainable.
PA's ReliabilityOne™ Program Director added, “This program began back in 1999 as a way to recognise utilities that were taking the lead in setting a whole new standard for reliability. Those utilities are still leaders, and have transformed their organisations, systems, processes, and cultures - demonstrating to the industry what tremendous improvements are achievable. We are proud and honored to present these awards to the utilities setting the gold standard in the industry every single day.”
The awards reception was held at the New York Academy of Sciences at 7 World Trade Center in New York City before an audience that included senior management at leading utilities, industry regulators and energy industry experts. This year’s event also included an Executive Forum where panelists from Con Edison, Ambri, Goldman Sachs and SNR Denton focused on how technology and regulatory change is driving a customer-centric transformation of the utility.