CoServ maintains high reliability score
It was a mild November day when a construction crew accidentally hit CoServ’s underground electric line on Alma Road, causing a power outage for more than 4,000 Members.
CoServ linemen in coordination with system operators immediately began redirecting power, isolating the damaged section and reenergizing the affected homes and businesses. Within 45 minutes, CoServ had restored power to all affected Members.
“CoServ’s ability to backfeed our system when there’s an accident like this prevents thousands of people from being without power for an extended period,” said Systems Operations Manager Perry Ancell. “The crews in the field can do a lot of the switching under the guidance of the system operator, and for some of it we have Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition [SCADA] capabilities, which means it can be done remotely in system operations.”
This is one of many reasons why CoServ consistently ranks as one of the most reliable utilities in Texas. Utilities grade their reliability using a metric called System Average Interruption Duration Index [SAIDI], which measures how many minutes the average Member was without electricity over the course of a year.
CoServ’s SAIDI score for 2021 was 34.39, which means the average Member was without power for about 34 minutes. The lower the score, the better. Major weather events and power supply problems do not count against SAIDI scores.
CoServ linemen work hard to identify potential problems but whenever an outage does occur, they’re ready to spring into action no matter the time or weather conditions, said Vice President of Field Operations Shea Hassell.
“It’s a point of pride for them to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. It’s their system, so there’s a lot of buy-in from them,” Shea said. “Every trip that we get on our system is investigated within the next day or two. A ‘blink,’ to me, is an outage. It’s not a sustained outage but it’s still an interruption for the Member. If it’s happening at the circuit level, it has the capability to become a major outage.”
In 2021, CoServ expanded its aerial inspection program with a new DJI Matrice drone that can inspect a mile of power lines and utility poles in minutes. Shea said the high-definition cameras have found hundreds of problems that CoServ linemen were able to proactively repair. The drone allowed CoServ to inspect the entire overhead system in one year—something that would be impossible for crews using a bucket truck or climbing gear.
In 2022, CoServ will also expand the use of distributed automation, smart technology that communicates problems and allows system operators to remotely troubleshoot, isolate and repair problems, so crews know where to go.
Collaboration is key among all departments to ensure reliability and safety while sharing best practices. Team leaders from multiple departments, including operations, engineering and power quality meet regularly to discuss problems, trends and major projects so they can collectively decide how to address it.
CoServ is always striving to provide reliable, high-quality service to our Members and our SAIDI score once again reflects that dedication.