Seattle City Light is better prepared to respond to winter storms this year thanks to a new outage management system that enhances coordination of service restoration efforts and the utility’s ability to share information about that work with customers.
“The Hanukkah Eve storm of 2006 demonstrated that we needed to modernize the tools and systems we use to respond to power outages,” Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “Our new outage management system allows dispatchers, call center representatives and others who are responding to outages to share information in real time, including the cause of an outage and estimates for restoration of service.”
“We can’t eliminate the winter storms that will still bring power outages to our area,” Carrasco said. “But this tool will help us better inform our customers and make it easier for our crews to identify the reason for an outage and get it fixed.”
The Oracle-based software uses customer calls and monitors on large “feeder” line breakers to identify outages. As dispatchers assign crews, repair crews identify the cause of an outage and make repairs, that information is immediately shared with everyone else using the system. Additionally, customers can check outage information anytime using a map on City Light’s website. Information on the map is updated every 15 minutes.
“The Outage Management System is an investment in new technology for better customer service,” adds City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chairman of the Council’s Energy, Technology, and Civil Rights Committee. “The new outage tracker map will give customers the information they want quickly and efficiently as we enter storm season.”
Enhancements will be added to the outage management system in early 2011, including automated callbacks for customers who want to know when their power is restored and automated estimates for restoration of service.
City Light customers have an important role in alerting the utility to outages. To make sure a call center representative or the automated phone system recognizes a customer, City Light needs current contact information, including phone numbers. You can update your information at https://www.seattle.gov/light/Accounts/cust_info.asp .
Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.