Weather Intelligence

Under Increased Pressure to Speed Restoration?

If you are under growing pressure to speed power restoration, you are not alone. An increase in high-profile weather events, aging infrastructure, and customer expectations is creating a “perfect storm” of pressure for utilities.

According to a University of Vermont study in 2008, more than 44 percent of outages are directly due to the weather, and a 2012 Berkeley Labs report attributes 78 percent of major grid disruptions to the weather, too.

Know your risks in advance

One way to better manage your weather-related service issues is to know your risks in advance. That’s why at Schneider Electric we’ve created the Energy Event Index (EEI). With EEI, you can better anticipate critical weather events and make better informed decisions that can save you money on mutual assistance calls and help you avoid major public relations and regulatory headaches.

How it works
For the past two years, we’ve partnered with half a dozen utilities to pioneer these forecasts, and are now making them widely available. One of those utilities is New Hampshire-based Unitil, which used EEI to manage its planning and operations around Hurricane Sandy. We worked closely together to establish EEI’s color-coded, one-to-five rating system of estimated impact indices, based on the kinds and severity level of weather phenomena, such as high winds, heavy snow, or ice. These forecasts also factor in environmental conditions, such as time of year and leaf coverage.

A rating of one has the least impact, while a rating of five has the most significant impact. This allows for fast assessment of the potential severity of forecasted weather several days in advance — allowing you to prepare the necessary resources to respond effectively. And by being ready, you can repair outages faster, ensuring customer satisfaction and protecting your organization’s reputation.

Typical risk category definitions

Typical risk category definitions

EEI assessments also include the confidence level of the meteorologist who prepared the forecast. These forecasts can be made for your own territory and risk thresholds to further support your mutual aid decisions, days in advance. By knowing that mutual assistance is not needed, you can potentially save millions of dollars. You can also better determine when it will be needed, and how much will be needed — ensuring faster restoration and helping you avoid customer, public relations, and regulatory problems. EEI can also be used provide documentation and support cost recovery.

Sample EEI forecast

Sample EEI forecast

Backed by industry-leading professionals

EEI forecasts are created by our team of experienced, power utility-focused meteorologists. These include many of the same individuals who have helped ensure the accuracy of our industry-leading temperature and precipitation forecasts, which have been rated number one for the last seven years in an independent study. You can be assured that when you rely on EEI forecasts, you are being supported by the same level of knowledge and commitment.

If you are interested in learning more about EEI please view our webinar rebroadcast.

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