Outage Management System
VEC has used an Outage Management System (OMS) supplied by the National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) since February 2008. The system relies on four inputs:
- AMI meter information provided by Aclara
- Integrated Voice Response (IVR) automated phone system data
- Member service inputs from the VEC Member Service Department
- Inputs from VEC’s external overflow call center (CRC - Cooperative Response Center)
The system is initiated by an outage call from a member or by the VEC Control Center. The OMS system then begins to “ping” AMI meters upstream from that member until power is detected. The process for identifying the location of an outage normally takes between 30 seconds and two to three minutes depending on the size of the outage.
VEC publishes these outages to vtoutages.com and posts every outage on our outage website with an estimated time of restoration (ETR). VEC updates the outage information every five minutes, which balances the needs of members to be informed with the stress on the OMS system of more frequent updates.
VEC strives to provide its members with the most up to date and user friendly outage information. VEC has recently made several improvements to its public outage page including a more modern map that provides better graphical representation of outages, better detail and location of outages (e.g., service territory, town/county boundaries, roads and other landmarks, use of circles to indicate size of outage, etc.), and modifications to outage tables. In addition, we also use the OMS to manage outage response and provide updated ETRs to members. Members can sign up for text or email alerts depending on their preferences.
VEC began upgrading is AMI system in 2018, as noted above, with the goal of automatically detecting an outage in less than 190 seconds, actively polling meters to determine outage status, identification of momentary outage counts (also referred to as “blinks”) for each meter, and 15-minute interval voltage and reactive and real power data. All of which, should greatly enhance VEC’s outage response capabilities and services.