Editor's Letter: Weather Events are Part of Our Lives, and There are Steps Utilities can Take to Reduce Downtime

Weather impacts everyone - our nation, businesses and customers. This issue of Utility Products brings you feature articles that discuss ways to prepare for storms and what utilities are doing to remain competitive.

May 1st, 2017

Weather impacts everyone - our nation, businesses and customers. This issue of Utility Products brings you feature articles that discuss ways to prepare for storms and what utilities are doing to remain competitive. Mark Ebel’s article, “Why Weather Needs to be Your Strategic Business Partner,” outlines the three main areas the largest utility companies are focusing on to leverage big weather data: tracking weather down to an exact GPS location, protecting teams in severe weather situations, and predicting weather accurately for future projects. “With 15 weather events in 2016 - causing $1 billion EACH in damage - leading utilities are working with partners to understand time critical weather issues before they impact profits, property and the safety of their employees,” Ebel reports.

“Weathering the Storm: How Storm Impact Analysis Can Save Utilities,” by Shylesh Muralidaran, discusses how now, more than ever before, utilities must address the threats that severe weather brings. It’s reported that more than 60 percent of utilities in the U.S. lose an average of $100,000 per year in revenue due to power outages. In addition to recovering unplanned funds, utilities must address other issues such as aging infrastructures, technology-driven customers, and increased regulatory demands. Muralidaran addresses how storm analytics can turn weather forecasts into actionable data that deliver effective results.

And “Isolated Bus Phase Maintenance: Critical During Outages” by Cal Crader, takes a look at how properly maintaining and upgrading the isolated bus (isophase) is a crucial component to the overall health of a power plant’s operations. When plant managers ignore the needs of the isophase, there is a higher risk of an unplanned outage - which could be costly. “To avoid unplanned outages because of a failure inside the isophase, it is important for plant managers to align themselves with knowledgeable isophase specialists,” Crader says.

Another feature article, “Secret to Unleashing an Unstoppable Improvement Culture” by Ivan Seselj, reviews how utilities can continually increase efficiency and improve productivity by encouraging staff engagement and collaboration among employees. By focusing on a corporate culture that supports and encourages innovation, teams will feel more empowered and will be more driven to improve and succeed.

This issue also brings you a great lineup of product focus articles. Read how one company helps eliminate manual reports and automate information capture for high-voltage electricity systems’ security operations. And “Wood Poles: The Green Choice” by Deepa Akula, addresses how using wood poles is a positive step toward reducing the carbon footprint - and with more trees in our national forests now than 100 years ago, forest growth nationally has exceeded harvest since the 1940s.

Milwaukee Tool’s article presents cordless line maintenance solutions that offer reliability, ergonomics and safety. Other articles discuss how proactive voltage monitoring drives long-term payoff; how brake manufacturers design for noise, vibration and harshness control for a safe, comfortable ride; and using GPS fleet tracking solutions to manage field communication.

John Tabor
Associate Editor
johnt@pennwell.com

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