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An Overview of Outage Management Systems

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Outage management systems or OMS are a variety of computer-aided systems which are used by electrical distribution systems. They are primarily used by the grid and distributed system supervisors to return power to the grid.

Outage management systems identify outages and provide instant alerts. They also record the history of outages throughout the operations and provide real-time insight into the systems. OMS systems also provide customer assistance by alerting them about outages and status of repairs. OMS systems usually work in tandem with GIS or geographical information systems, CIS or customer information systems and call handling systems such as IVR (interactive voice response).


Some of the Major Functions of OMS

Some of the key functions of OMS are mentioned below.

    • Facility planning of systems such as transformer, fuse, recloser, breakers and other kinds of safety devices.
    • Efficient planning of maintenance and curative efforts along with the prioritization of grid restoration activities depending upon emergency devices, location, and scale of outages.
    • Collecting and communicating accurate records of outages, their consequences and affected a number of customers.
    • Estimating maintenance times and schedules.
    • Assigning crews and deciding number of members in each kind of crew.

Requirements for Implementing OMS

  • The main foundation of typical outage management systems lies in having efficient networking of distributed systems. Having a robust model network is vital to having strong outage management systems. GIS is fundamental in establishing this model network. By recording the location of all the support calls made for outages, analysis engines of OMS can predict future outages more efficiently.
  • Having strong CIS is also a prerequisite for having outage management systems. Since most outage service calls are handled by the consumer support department, it makes complete sense to establish an automated CIS in conjunction with OMS. For such systems to work, it is important to keep track of all the customers and account for those who are not directly connected to the systems (also known as "fuzzies").
  • Having automated consumer handling technologies such as IVR as mentioned above can be established in order to streamline the operations of OMS by automating the process of consumer-end communication and real-time alert generation. For efficient and advanced outage management systems one can install advanced automatic meter reading systems which are equipped with outage detection and safety capabilities.
  • It is a common practice to combine outage management systems with other computer-aided systems such as SCADA which provide automated monitoring and management of electrical systems.

Advantages of OMS

Some of the major advantages of OMS systems are mentioned below.

  • Reduction in duration of outages and maintenance.
  • Efficient prediction of outages and outage locations.
  • Improved consumer handling and customer satisfaction.
  • Better media relations through efficient outage data recording and clear visibility into restorative efforts.
  • A significant reduction in the number of complaints registered by end-users. Additionally, the frequency of random outages can be reduced through the efficient setup of robust outage management systems.
  • Improved operations of regulators thanks to the planning and scheduling capabilities of restorative programs.

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