With Storm Assist, electric utilities can rapidly decentralize and scale outage response workforce during periods of high activity with real-time event data

SAN RAMON, Calif. – April 9, 2020 – GE Digital today unveiled enhancements to Storm Assist, an Outage Response module that is part of its Advanced Distribution Management Solutions (ADMS) portfolio. Though it goes by the moniker Storm Assist, the solution delivers value on both blue- and dark-sky days. This easy-to-use application allows electric utilities to decentralize outage dispatch as well as rapidly expand their outage response workforce during times of intense activity.

Storm Assist optimizes existing control center staff by allowing them to focus on high-priority, high-impact outages while off-loading much of the routine outage and crew management work to other users in the control center, as well as those in the business center or offsite. The latest enhancements in Storm Assist features improved support for single customer outages, in-service incidents, and major event days.

“The need to empower decentralized and secure operations is becoming more critical, whether for health challenges, severe weather or otherwise. This translates to challenges from a resource perspective,” said Jim Walsh, GE Digital General Manager, Grid Software. “Storm Assist allows a utility to quickly increase the size of its outage response workforce by giving secure access to ADMS/Outage Management to personnel outside of the control center.”

Given the increasing need for remote work solutions, GE Digital’s solutions like Storm Assist help utilities practice social distancing while ensuring the lights stay on – one less worry for end customers. Designed as a “multiplier”, the application maintains security while giving the utility an almost limitless capacity to expand and enable remote work efficiently.

Storm Assist is an effective workflow-oriented application that manages the entire lifecycle of an outage: from the initial phone call or through an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) notification; to crew assignment and status updates; to Estimated Time to Restoration (ETR) revisions; and to the final outage closeout process. Users have access to real-time network data, customer calls and comments, real-time crew locations and status updates, and are able to capture detailed restoration information associated with the outage.

New features in Storm Assist include:

  • Support for Major Event Days – This capability coordinates the management of severe weather or other major events by communicating event details, including Estimated Time to Restoration (ETR) modifications and appropriate event data to utility customers. Utilities will receive constant communication with the major event management team, with complete visibility into event data in real-time.
  • Integration with AMI systems –Through a web-based interface, utilities can assess its customer meters using the existing AMI network to determine if a suspected outage is a problem on the utility’s network or within the consumer’s home. The assessment is done in real-time and the results are available typically within seconds. Depending on the results, utilities can decide whether to dispatch a crew or instruct the consumer to take action.
  • Support for In-Service incidents – This capability streamlines the management of non-outage or in-service issues such as partial power, maintenance, or vegetation orders. With Storm Assist, these orders are efficiently managed and assigned to specific teams or at specific times.

Severe weather brings a myriad of challenges to utilities. With Storm Assist, utilities can help their employees and communities stay safe while continuing to deliver effective outage response. North American utilities have used Storm Assist to rapidly expand the number of people participating in the restoration process. For some customers, “storm mode” may happen almost every day during the summer thunderstorm season. For others it is the occasional windstorms or ice storm.

The latest version of Storm Assist, part of GE Digital’s ADMS solution, is now generally available. To learn more, please go to www.ge.com/digital/outageresponse.