Outage management systems (OMS) are the tools electricity companies use to detect outages, determine problems, and begin repairing them. As a result, utilities can achieve greater regulatory compliance, avoid or reduce unplanned, provide faster outage resolution, and improve crisis response.
If you want to achieve these impressive benefits, however, your outage management system needs to have these five essential features.
5 Critical Outage Management System Features
1. Advanced Analytics
Outage management systems need to go beyond simply compiling data from disparate sources. To be truly effective they need advanced analytics to process that data and predict outage effects and estimated time to restoration when outages occur. In doing so, they can proactively identify likely causes of outages to help reduce or avoid future problems.
To get the most comprehensive benefits from OMS analytics should use artificial intelligence (AI) technology like machine learning to learn as it processes data. The more data AI systems process, the more accurate their predictions and alerts become.
2. Regulatory Reporting Support
Regulatory compliance is one of a utility’s highest priorities. Not only does accurately tracking regulatory metrics improve overall reliability, it can significantly reduce regulatory penalties. An outage management system, then, should automatically aggregate and report multiple measures such as number of outages, time to restore, and SAIDI, SAIFI, CAIDI, and CAIFI indices.
By choosing an outage management system that does this automatically, you take pressure off your staff and improve your compliance processes. You also remove the potential for human error and ensures that reports are always created and submitted on time.
3. Graphical UX and Display
OMS software now uses data from central repositories as well as connected IoT assets like smart meters. When so many streams of data are brought together, information overload is a high risk. That’s why it is crucial that any outage management system has a clear and well-designed user interface that allows any utility operator to understand the information they are being presented with.
A geographic outage dashboard is a key part of this. Outages, failures, and key trouble spots need to be displayed visually so that technicians can easily and quickly identify where to focus their efforts.
4. Customer-Focused Tools
It’s not just utility operators who need to be kept in the loop when it comes to outages. To improve electricity service and satisfaction, utility customers also need to know what is happening, where it is happening and how long the outage is expected to last. That’s why the best outage management systems provide utility customers with a user display interface where they can log on to to view the most up-to-date information and even report outages themselves.
5. Integrations with Key Systems
Most utility companies have multiple pieces of software and other technologies all serving different purposes. That means dozens of different logins and system requirements. For an outage management system to be truly effective, it has to tie into a single source of information for a utility company.
An effective outage management system should integrate with other key tools and systems so all data can be accessed from a single dashboard. Bringing all of a utility’s data together into a single view reduces administrative costs and headaches and ensures that data can be accessed from anywhere at any time.
Supplement Your Outage Management System with Add-On Applications
Not all these features are available in every OMS. If your system doesn’t have everything you need, consider using integrations or outside applications to get additional capabilities. For instance, many IoT companies provide “intelligence” applications that you can add on to your OMS to gain advanced analytics with AI functionality.
Look at your current OMS system and determine which of these features you already have, and which ones you may need to add in the coming years. Once you’ve identified gaps and how you’re going to fill them, you can start researching new OMS options or add-on applications.