A Fortune 500 Energy Company Transforms External Outage Communications

The Challenge

In the aftermath of a major merger, the client utility enlisted HEXstream to build a single reporting platform to house the 2 Network Management Systems (NMS) and 2 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) belonging to the now-merged entities.  In consultation with the HEXstream team, the client decided to replace their existing Focal Point system with Oracle Utilities Analytics (OUA) in order to achieve their reporting and analytics goals. 

Additionally, the utility sought to improve outage response and community relations by implementing more sophisticated customer communications systems and a brand new outage map, all of which relied on the data made available through OUA.

About the Client

  • Publicly-traded utility providing electricity, natural gas, and water
  • Headquartered in New England
  • Serves approximately 4 million customers

What We Built

Customized Oracle Utilities Analytics Interface

HEXstream designed  a custom OUA interface to dictate the flow of data through the application.  Using the Utility360 engine, the HEXstream team constructed a real-time data feed to populate the OUA dashboards requiring real-time data.

The unique design allowed users to view the separate NMS and GIS systems at both a summary level and in detail with high granularity, depending on the goals of the inquiry.  Additionally, HEXstream built in auto-refresh capabilities for multiple OUA dashboards, and the team designed the new interface using the utility's logos and colors. 

Revitalized Call-Taking System 

As part of the effort to strengthen outage response, the client tasked HEXstream with upgrading their legacy call-taking system.  Their existing system prevented users from exporting reports and included minimal search capabilities.  Not only did this make the system less user friendly, but it also limited the utility's use of customer call data for reporting and analytics. 

Under the improved system, built with the latest Microsoft .NET Core, customer calls to report outages and other events automatically generated tickets in the client's outage management system, prompting swift corrective action.  Unlike the old system, the upgraded version included device agnostic pages and broadened search capabilities.  The utility could now export its reports in a variety of formats, including .csv, .txt, .xlsx, as well.  The utility's call-taking system was now faster and more responsive, resulting in better data collection and analytics to drive better customer service.

Storm Support Outage Map

HEXstream designed and implemented a near-real-time outage map to strengthen the utility's storm response capabilities.  The map featured a search function filtering by both address and event, as well as both static and dynamic weather data overlays.  As a result, the client scored very well with their regulators for storm performance in each of several consecutive weather events.

Communication-Driven Community Portal

To best meet the needs of the utility and its surrounding communities, HEXstream designed a robust customer communications system centered around a shared community portal in Microsoft SharePoint.  In order to make critical, time-sensitive data (i.e. wire-downs and life support customers) available quickly, HEXstream used .NET-based Windows Scheduler Jobs to automate the flow of data from Oracle Utilities Analytics into the SharePoint portal. 

Continued use of the Community Portal has resulted in better customer relations for the utility across its several jurisdictions as town officials benefit from better access to utility data. 

How can we help your utility manage and analyze data more effectively? Ask the utilities analytics experts! 

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