NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — In 2016 increasing storm severity and frequent outage situations led to higher than average outage durations and affected most of the country. Nevertheless, U.S. utilities did a remarkably good job of keeping the lights on and communicating with consumers to ensure they weren’t left in the dark regarding restoration efforts. Today, PA Consulting Group (PA), a global management consultancy, is pleased to announce that We Energies won the National ReliabilityOne™ Excellence Award at the 17th Annual ReliabilityOne™ Awards ceremony. Six additional utilities were also recognized for their outstanding reliability efforts.
The weather in the U.S. posed a challenge to the energy and utility industry in 2016. Nationwide, companies strived to ensure resources, logistics networks, and mutual aid arrangements were in order. At the same time, microgrids became a viable distributed energy alternative to traditional infrastructure investments, and utilities implemented a number of technological tools to enhance the consumer experience and minimize outages.
“The guiding theme for this year’s winners is resiliency. The nation’s top utilities are becoming more innovative and implementing technologies to better protect against storm damage,” said Gregg Edeson, PA Consulting Group’s ReliabilityOne™ Program Director.
Edeson added: “The more advanced next generation utilities are working to communicate in real time with customers who are facing outages. This includes the extensive use of social media channels and proactive outreach to customers and elected officials for storm planning and restoration updates.”
For 17 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. The indices showed an increase in IOU (investor-owned utility) average outage duration by almost ten minutes in 2016 to 118.6 minutes, likely due to increased storm severity. Key to the utility reliability trend data is PA’s in-depth analysis undertaken as part of the process to identify the top performing utility and winner of the National ReliabilityOne™ Excellence Award.
PA’s certification and analyses of the utilities in the ReliabilityOne™ program found that:
Overall, the 2016 average system outage duration was longer than 2015, likely due to increased storm activities. Average SAIDI performance of the regional ReliabilityOne™ winners increased by about 1 minute, versus the national panel average of