Improving Outage Restoration and Meeting Customer Expectations: A Case Study on Outage Management for a Major Utilities Company

Powering up Outage Management: Meeting Customer Expectations with a Robust and Integrated NMS and OMS Solution

Business Problem

The business problem addressed in this case study is the need for a robust Outage Management system for a major utilities company. With increasing customer expectations, the company is facing challenges in improving outage restoration and meeting those expectations.
 
The current Outage Management system (OMS) is not capable of handling the complex network of energy distribution operations effectively and efficiently. This results in longer restoration time, increased uncertainty and inefficiency in energy distribution operations. This leads to customer dissatisfaction and negative impact on the company's reputation.
 
Additionally, the company is facing challenges in safeguarding workers and the public during outages. The current OMS does not provide enough information to make informed decisions and take necessary actions to protect workers and the public.
 
To address these challenges, the company needs to integrate a robust Outage Management system that can improve restoration time, efficiency, and uncertainties of energy distribution operations. In addition, the company needs to integrate a Network Management System (NMS) like Oracle Utilities Network Management System, which helps utilities safeguard workers and the public during outages.
 
Overall, the goal of this case study is to improve outage restoration and meet increasing customer expectations by integrating a robust Outage Management system and NMS like Oracle Utilities Network Management System.

Business Solution

The business solution for this case study is to integrate a robust Outage Management system (OMS) and a Network Management System (NMS) like Oracle Utilities Network Management System to improve outage restoration and meet increasing customer expectations.
 
To achieve this, the company implemented an Outage Dashboard that is used by various departments throughout the company to view information about customers who have no power, the number of customers restored, and the estimated time of restoration (ETR). Additionally, the Outage Dashboard displays information of customers with medical emergencies and other priority customers. This allows for better communication and coordination between departments during outages.
 
In addition, the company transitioned various OMS users to use the Outage Dashboard in lieu of the OMS application. The goal of this transition is to reduce the number of users currently using OMS, streamlining the process and making it more efficient. By implementing OMS functionality into the Dashboard that is needed by certain users to complete their daily tasks, without having to access the Outage Management System.
 
By integrating a robust OMS and NMS, the company was able to improve outage restoration time, efficiency and uncertainties of energy distribution operations. This led to increased customer satisfaction and a positive impact on the company's reputation. Additionally, the integration of NMS helped the company to safeguard workers and the public during outages.
 
Overall, the solution implemented in this case study has helped the company to improve its outage management system, meet increasing customer expectations, improve restoration time, and increase efficiency.

 

Technical Solution

The technical solution for this case study included a redesign of the back-end suite of applications to mitigate contention problems.
 
The first step was to implement customer call integration to the Oracle Utilities Network Management System (NMS). This allowed trouble calls taken by customer service representatives or the IVR system to be fed into the NMS. To accomplish this, a Java application was developed that polls call information from the DB2 database to the NMS in batches.
 
Next, the solution retrieved and transferred device topological statuses to the NMS SCADA system through a SOAP web service. This ensured that the NMS had real-time information about the status of devices on the network.
 
Periodic updates were also performed on a set of customer model database tables to reflect customer additions, removals, and modifications. This helped to keep the NMS data up-to-date and accurate.
 
The solution also extracted GIS electrical data by circuit for NMS data modeling, which helped to improve the accuracy of the NMS's understanding of the network. Additionally, a module was implemented for capturing interruption information associated with electric power outages. The data was reformatted and stored on a client-supported Data Analyzer system for reporting to the Public Service Commission.
 
Lastly, a notification system was developed that provides business users the ability to receive notifications when there is a significant number of outages or customers out. The customer and incident counts were configurable and the application was written in a generic way to make it possible to use the same application as the basis for additional notifications in the future.
 
Overall, the technical solution for this case study helped the company to improve its outage management system, meet increasing customer expectations, improve restoration time, and increase efficiency.

Technologies

The technical solution for this case study involved the use of a variety of technologies to improve the company's Outage Management system and meet increasing customer expectations.
 
The primary programming language used in this case study was Java 1.8 and the application was built on J2EE architecture. Data connectivity was achieved through JDBC and communication between the different systems was done using SOAP, REST, and WSDL protocols. Data was passed between systems in XML format and XSLT was used for transformation of data.
 
The solution was built on Spring framework, specifically Spring Boot, which provided a robust and flexible architecture for the application. Hibernate was used as the ORM tool to interact with the database. ActiveMQ was used for message queuing, which helped in the integration of different systems.
 
The solution used a combination of PostgreSQL, Oracle11g and DB2 as the databases. The application was developed on UNIX operating systems and JUnit was used for unit testing. The application was deployed on Tomcat servers and was developed using Eclipse IDE and TFS. SQLDeveloper and PGAdmin were used as SQL clients and Maven and Ant were used as build tools.
 
Overall, the implementation of this case study used a wide range of technologies to provide a robust and efficient Outage Management system that helped the company to improve restoration time, increase efficiency, and meet increasing customer expectations.
 
Customer Success Outcomes:
 
As a result of the technical solutions implemented in this case study, the company was able to achieve several key customer outcomes:
 
Improved Outage Restoration Time: The integration of a robust Outage Management system (OMS) and Network Management System (NMS) like Oracle Utilities Network Management System allowed the company to improve the restoration time of outages, which led to increased customer satisfaction.
 
Increased Efficiency: The redesign of the back-end suite of applications and the implementation of the Outage Dashboard streamlined the process of managing outages, increasing the efficiency of the company.
 
Improved Communication: The implementation of the Outage Dashboard allowed for better communication and coordination between departments during outages, which improved the overall management of outages.
 
Safeguarding of workers and the public: The implementation of NMS helped the company to safeguard workers and the public during outages, which improved the overall safety of the community.
 
Improved Data accuracy and real-time updates: The implementation of data integration and real-time updates from GIS systems and device topological statuses to NMS, helped the company to improve the accuracy of the data and understanding of the network, which led to improved overall management of outages.
 
Overall, the technical solutions implemented in this case study helped the company to improve its Outage Management system, meet increasing customer expectations, improve restoration time, increase efficiency and improve overall safety of the community.

 

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