Electric Distribution Operations

Wednesday, April 19

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Unplanned Outages: Evolving Communication in Today’s Society
Speakers: Brad Merl, Distribution Operations Manager, Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Marko Aaltomaa, Manager, Network Services, FortisBC
Barry Anderson, Vice President, Electric Distribution, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
In today’s environment, social networking and instant communication is the norm for customers. With a click of a button, people can place orders, make payments and download information instantly. Grid modernization and automation will reduce outages and improve reliability, but unplanned outages can occur during storm conditions, equipment failure or other causes. With these unplanned outages, the customer’s demands are still the same.

In this session we will discuss managing estimated times of restoration and technologies utilized in today’s industries for the instant communication society we live in today. We will be discussing current utility practices and where the utilities are heading in the future. We will be covering both routine emergencies and major emergencies in this session.

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
From Damage Assessment to Estimated Restoration Times, No DA? Then No ERT
Speakers: Marko Aaltomaa, Manager, Network Services, FortisBC
Jim Nowak, Director of Utility Services, ARCOS LLC
Jeff Potter, Distribution System Operations Engineer, Avista Utilities
During a storm, when the power is out the only question the customer wants answered is: “When is my power going to be restored”? To accurately answer that difficult question you must answer several questions of your own. What is the extent of the damage? How many crews or resources are available? How many individual outages or incidents do we have? How will we prioritize or in what order will we work each outage? How long will each outage take to fix?

Damage Assessment must be completed before accurate ERTs can be provided to your customers. Find and Fix is no longer an option when customers demand accurate outage information. Utilities must deploy Damage Assessors before line crews to set the stage for outage restoration. We will take a look at how a few players in the industry are attempting to tackle Damage Assessment. And, how good DA translates to more accurate ERTs and a better customer experience.

Thursday, April 20

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
From Chaos to Confidence: Technology Evolution in the Control Room
Speakers: Dustin Lenaburg System Operator, Southern California Edison
MaryAnn Dillahunty, Manager, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Brad Merl, Distribution Manager Operations, Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Our panel, composed of craft people through to Senior Managers, offers a broad range of perspectives on the changes that are taking place in the Operations Control room and how those changes are impacting both our control room operators and our customers.

The panelists welcome comments, thoughts, and questions from conference participants as they openly discuss the challenges they’ve overcome while implementing recent process and technological changes. The discussion topics will include Control Room consolidation, remote intelligent switching, the roll-out of automatic voltage & power factor correction systems, and the challenges of energy storage as part of distributed energy resource (DER) systems.”

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Optimizing Our “Boots on the Ground”: Operationalizing Data to Improve Customer Service
Speakers: Mike Minichiello, Manager, Restoration Center, BC Hydro
Lester Pate, Construction/Maintnenace Section Leader, Arizona Public Service Company
Brad Marchese, Distribution Line Maintenance Manager, Salt River Project
Growing customer expectations impose an increasing demand on utilities for improved power quality, increased system reliability, and more timely stakeholder communications. These expectations have led utilities to make millions of dollars of investments in new advanced grid technologies that represent positive impacts as well as new challenges. This session will look at how these new technologies have changed the way personnel in the field approach their job duties, as well as their interactions with the customer and the control rooms. Topics include new skill sets required by field personnel, changes to training curriculum, the impacts of distributed energy resources (DERs) and automated system technologies, as well as the evolution of troubleshooting outages.

Our panel will discuss how the evolution and implementation of these advancements have impacted field operations within their utilities and the opportunities, or challenges, that they have represented.