By NICHOLAS SAKELARIS | CoServ
When CoServ Members think about reliability, they probably think about their lights coming on but rarely think about the behind-the-scenes work to make that happen.
The most visible aspect of that would be the CoServ linemen who are on the front lines of power restoration and maintenance of our electric system every day. Their hard work, training and dedication to safety are unmatched in the utility industry.
But reliability is a team effort that starts at the executive level and extends to every department in the cooperative.
CoServ consistently ranks as one of the most reliable utilities in the state, according to the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), a metric that utilities use to measure reliability.
For 2022, CoServ’s SAIDI score was 31.2, meaning the average CoServ Member was without power for about 31 minutes. The score is more than 3 points better than 2021. Some Members may have been out longer and some may not have been without power at all but the index looks at the average for all Members. The lower the SAIDI score, the better.
Put another way, the average Member experienced uninterrupted service 99.994 percent of the time based on the number of minutes in a year.
“Service and excellence are two of our core values at CoServ. Surpassing our goal for our SAIDI number is a direct reflection of the hard work our Employees do across the organization to bring reliable power to our Members,” said Shea Hassell, CoServ’s Vice President of Field Operations.
For example, System Planning ensures there’s adequate power to meet the needs of our fast-growing service territory while also serving our existing Members. That’s no easy feat considering CoServ added more than 14,000 new meters in 2022 alone and our service territory includes two of the fastest-growing counties in the United States, Collin and Denton counties.
Engineers design the infrastructure and equipment and then CoServ’s construction management team makes sure it’s built according to specifications by CoServ’s own linemen crews or contractors. CoServ’s Materials and Supply Coordination team works with our supplier Irby so the supply of transformers, high-voltage wire and other materials aren’t negatively impacted by supply chain disruptions.
The Vegetation Management team is also an important part of the reliability puzzle because they oversee the contractors who trim the trees near our lines. CoServ also has its own drone inspection program that finds problems on the utility poles before they cause an outage.
Then it’s up to linemen to keep the infrastructure in top condition and replace equipment while also responding to outages.
As in previous years, a major initiative in 2022 was replacing existing distribution lines with higher capacity wire that can meet Members’ needs on a scorching hot afternoon or during a frigid cold evening.
In July, CoServ’s power supplier added a new substation to the western half of the territory that provides a new source of power for the area. New circuits were also added at two other existing substations.
The capacity was also doubled at substations in Aubrey and Sanger, which already proved beneficial during the cold snap that hit the week of Christmas, said Perry Ancell, CoServ’s System Operations Manager.
When there’s a power outage, these higher capacity lines and alternate power sources play an even more important role, allowing CoServ’s System Operators and linemen to reroute power, a process called backfeeding, to restore power to Members before the actual lines are repaired.
“The more feeders and substations we’ve got the better off everything is. Less load. Less stuff to ride out,” Perry said. “You don’t have as many people off when you have stuff off.”