January 30, 2015 12:31 ET

Utility Execs Explain How to Centralize Crew Management Before and After Storms

COLUMBUS, OH--(Marketwired - Jan 30, 2015) -  At DistribuTech 2015 in San Diego, Calif., executives from ComEd, Iberdrola USA and Northeast Utilities will join a panel to discuss new strategies and technology for automatically assembling and managing their crews as well as contractor and mutual aid crews before and after major restoration events. The panel begins on Feb. 5, at 10:30 a.m. in the San Diego Convention Center, room 24A.

According to an article in Electric Light & Power magazine's December 2014 edition, adopting an automated crew management system helps utilities anticipate needs and reshuffle resources in changing conditions. Utilities can also stay in front of requests for information, the article states.

The EL&P article noted that Iberdrola USA's operating companies in New York would keep count of crews with up to 500 hundred spreadsheets at times before automating its crew management process. During spring 2012, Iberdrola USA, NSTAR (an operating company of Northeast Utilities), Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI) and solutions provider ARCOS® LLC developed a system to automate crew management. ComEd also provided significant initial ideas on the early design, as well as after the product was released in 2013. 

The crew-management panelists are:

  • Cheryl Maletich, vice president for Distribution System Operations, ComEd
  • Kerri Foster, manager - T&D Support, Programs & Projects for Iberdrola USA
  • Steve Gilkey, vice president for Electric Field Operations at Northeast Utilities
  • Jim Nowak, director of Utility Services for ARCOS and former manager of Emergency Restoration Planning at AEP, will serve as the panel moderator

According to the February 2014 edition of T&D World Magazine, "Mobilizing and tracking crews efficiently, capturing crew staffing and the time crews worked, and playing it back after a storm has passed -- this is all data Iberdrola USA is collecting to better gauge restoration costs and address information requests from executive management and regulators."

Foster, Gilkey and Maletich will explain how automated crew management best practices enable supervisors to direct crews (including foreign contractor and mutual assist crews) and show their precise status during a major event. Foster will also show how IUSA uses its crew-management software to ensure storm managers always have accurate information, which eliminates delays in rolling up crew data from phone calls and spreadsheets.

Twenty-four of the top 25 U.S. utilities rely on the ARCOS® Callout and Scheduling Suite. When the power goes out, a gas leak is reported or another emergency occurs, the award-winning, SaaS-based ARCOS Suite instantaneously finds, assembles and tracks repair crews, reducing outage interruptions and improving restoration time for electric, gas and power plant utilities. For more information, visit or call 614-396-5500.

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