PECO is the largest electric and natural gas utility supplier to the state of Pennsylvania and a subsidiary of the leading national energy supplier, Exelon Corporation. PECO serves roughly 1.6 million electric and 511,000 natural gas customers in the Philadelphia area.
In operation for over 130 years, PECO places a focus on modernizing its systems to improve the customer’s service experience. The utility supplier’s system to resolve outages relied heavily on customers to call in power outages or gas issues placing much of the work on the client because they did not, at the time, have a more efficient way of discovering the problem.
For many electrical/gas issues to be resolved multiple data sources must be utilized to collect relevant information and have a clear understanding of what the problem is. As stated by the Damage Assessment Coordinator Dan Butcher, “Our Emergency Operations Center decision makers were looking for a way to correlate data to better deploy key assets where they were needed most.”
In other words, a system in which real-time information is streamlined and then placed into the hands of those who can resolve the problem for the customer without the patron’s involvement. This is where IPC Global stepped in to help PECO achieve its goal of becoming a utility company of the future.
Successful integration of a solution would mean a customer’s power goes out at night and PECO is able to be informed of the problem in real time, locate the appropriate resources, and dispatch them in a timely fashion, so the power is back on before the customer knows it went out. In short, the goal is to increase efficiency to evolve into the image of energy sector best practice by creating new questions to generate previously unforeseen insights.
IPC Global's creation of SLIQ delivered a platform that would blend data from PECO’s Outage Management System (OMS) system, smart meters, outage management jobs, GPS, geo-analytics, customer relationship management, etc. into one cohesive system. On top of this, users in the Emergency Operations Center are now able to see not only the proximity of crews to an outage, but also the crew’s direction of movement in real time, type of equipment on the crew’s vehicle, and the team’s supervisor.
Monitoring weather patterns and historical data of outages, SLIQ 2.0 is able to help PECO predict trouble areas before the power goes out and see to it that crews are in the area on standby, a pre-emptive strike on power outages.
The process of locating a crew with the correct equipment and knowing who to contact to reroute them is completed by hovering a mouse; A task that speaks to the application’s user interface ability. The application uses ESRI map layers to give accurate and timely information. IPC has added a sensitivity report named CAIDI, allowing PECO to generate “what-if” scenarios with ultra-specificity. SLIQ 2.0 is not only a high volume, high urgency application but also built to be run for day to day operation. In a span of six months, IPC provided the technology and resources needed to expedite the process of decision makers.
Reducing the need for customer call-ins, simplifying data for end-users, increasing predictive accuracy, and accelerating problem-solving capability, SLIQ 2.0 delivered. “What PECO and IPC Global have been able to accomplish from an idea over a conversation to a world class BI solution directly effecting operational intelligence real time, immediate on-demand analytics and time saving process improvements is staggering” Dan Butcher stated. “Bringing this dark data to light, SLIQ has spawned and delivered a dozen other use cases that continue to evolve the way electric operations functions day to day.”
Adding SLIQ 2.0 to PECO’s arsenal of tools has led to major success in the proper allocation of resources to mitigate power outages across the Philadelphia area. Reducing the need for customer notification and reliance has led to PECO being able to deliver a more thorough service to its clients. They have experienced an increase in efficiency and a decrease in expenditures in both the areas of resources, and more importantly time.
With weather pattern changes, and such a vast area being monitored, time is a precious asset that, with the power of SLIQ, can be utilized to empower decision makers to give them the greatest opportunity of success.
Awards & Recognition
SLIQ has received recognition for its innovation as well as those who played an integral part in its inception. At the Exelon Innovation Expo in 2017, it received 2nd place out of 500 competitors for the idea pitch segment and 1st place in innovation ideas, voted by Exelon Corp. employees. Again in 2018 it was recognized, receiving 3rd overall and again in 2020 with the Outage Validation Bot. Dan Butcher of PECO has received notoriety from Fortnightly, being #5 on the list of Top Innovators of 2018, specifically for his outstanding work on SLIQ’s beginning.
Looking to the future, IPC intends to continue communicating with PECO and increase the user interface capability to give better access to PECO’s core users. In addition, features will be continuously added as IPC expands SLIQ’s capability and strives to offer the best in class technology. Having already taken PECO to the level of an industry standard in technological advances, IPC intends to continue raising this bar in the future.