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More than half (53%) of surveyed utilities plan to upgrade or replace their existing outage management systems (OMS) within the next two years, according to a new survey from BRIDGE Energy Group.

The survey, which polled over 14,000 utility employees, revealed that the current OMS project initiatives - including consideration of cloud-based solutions, integration of smart meter outage inputs, and integration of OMS, geographic information systems and energy management systems - are leading the push to upgrade or replace existing systems. As these initiatives are pursued, the survey further uncovered that the integration of related systems and availability of knowledgeable staff ranked as the two top concerns.

“The complexity of outage management implementations has sharply increased as the integration of smart meter data and analytics has become a core component of upcoming project plans,” says David E. Olsson, CEO of BRIDGE Energy Group. “It is no longer enough to plan for the upgrade of a single system. Utilities are looking at multiple systems, with their individual complexities, and considering if they have the internal resources and know-how to successfully and cost-effectively delivery on an outage management transformation.”

Sixty-four percent of respondents indicated that restoration management was a top priority. This fact was no doubt related to their stated goal of improving customer service, as well as the cost of their outages ranging between $1 million and $30 million, BRIDGE Energy Group says.

"Extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy demonstrate the importance of moving beyond traditional outage management to develop true restoration management capability,” explains Forrest Small, BRIDGE’s vice president of grid optimization strategy. “Knowing where the outages are isn't enough to restore power quickly and satisfy stakeholders. Utilities have to process information from many sources, make good decisions in real time, and communicate clearly and continuously internally and externally. Knowing how to integrate new technologies with existing operational systems and business requirements is critical to strong restoration performance."



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