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Geneva to buy digital outage management system

'We will go from the manual way of doing it to the electronic way'

GENEVA – Aldermen recommended approval to spend $65,000 for an electric utility outage management system, moving from maps and colored pins to a real time digital platform.

Acting as the Committee of the Whole on Jan. 14, the City Council would have to take final action to approve the contract with Milsoft Utility Solutions of Abilene, Texas.

Electric Superintendent Hal Wright said this was a three-step process, beginning with a package into the city’s geographic information system that would give every single piece of mapping data intelligence which has been completed.

“The second step is an outage management system. It will take that intelligent database system that gives every single item on a map meaning. A line has a beginning and an end. It has a source. All those sorts of things,” Wright said.

“We can see power flow. OMS will give us that user friendly interface where you can enter customer information, it will pull up customer information out of our GIS system, give us a map that shows us where the outage is at and allow us to automatically track the number of outages we have, the customer minutes, all those things we do manually now,” Wright said.

The final step will be to put all that data on a big electronic wall map, Wright said.

“Instead of having to print out maps up, pin them up, and drill holes in them, and put pins in them,” Wright said. “We will go from the manual way of doing it to the electronic way.”

Fourth Ward Alderman James Radecki asked if the new system would mean responding to outages more quickly and will it help with the utility’s reliability.

“I think this will allow new employees, people that haven’t been here for 30 years and walked the system and looked at every poll and know internally to be able to respond as well as we do,” Wright said.

Fourth Ward Alderman Jeanne McGowan said currently when there is an outage, public works has a lot of questions.

“Public works staff wants to know what other homes in your area are out? Can you tell is it your whole neighborhood? Is it just your street? Is it the other side of the street?” McGowan said. “Will this new outage management system give staff a better idea of where exactly the outage has occurred and how many customers are affected?”

Wright said the new system will do that.

“When the call gets taken, it can easily be entered,” Wright said. “It will display based on the randomness of the data, where it thinks the outage is at.”

Utility customers will eventually be able to access outage data as well, officials said.

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