March 31, 2016

ComEd Uses Municipal Portal to Improve Coordination During Large-Scale Outages

During large-scale or extended outages, ComEd opens Joint Operations Centers (JOCs), where a ComEd representative is on site with municipality representatives to share information and help manage Area Prioritization & Restoration Lists (APRLs). To communicate with municipal partners and manage restoration efforts during this process, ComEd had been using an “eOutage” platform created more than 13 years ago. The eOutage platform used a combination of internal tools along with spreadsheets hosted in Google Drive. Although getting the job done, this approach relied on manual processes to integrate municipal data into systems used centrally at ComEd.

In order to help ComEd more efficiently operate and communicate with its municipal partners, we developed a Municipal Portal solution that works in coordination with our Storm Center product to efficiently take information from the Utility’s outage management system to communicate outage information in a map format. The Municipal Portal solution developed for ComEd includes a municipal outage map, a load shed map, an APRL tool for municipal users, and a critical facilities management tool for ComEd administrators. The solution also includes a user management tool that allows ComEd administrators to review and approve new user accounts, as well as manage user information and permissions for existing users.

Municipal Outage Map

The municipal outage map uses the same look and feel as ComEd’s public outage map, but includes information not available to the general public, including information about outages affecting Critical Accounts. ComEd internal users have access to the entire map of ComEd’s service territory, while municipal users are limited to viewing details only within their respective municipalities.

ComEd municipal portal outage map
ComEd municipal outage map
ComEd municipal portal customers affected list
The municipal outage map includes a list of customers affected by each outage with information not available to the general public.

Load Shed Map

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) requires utilities to keep updated plans for load shedding in cases where partial outages are needed to prevent wide-scale blackouts. ComEd’s Emergency Preparedness team has grouped circuits based on total load to plan potential load shed operations. The load shed map displays the areas of these planned load shed operations as color-coded polygons.

Mapping load shed areas helps ComEd communicate its load shed planning to municipalities. Municipal users can view the planned load shed operations for their respective municipalities on the map to see how the operations will impact their communities if ComEd needs to execute load shedding.

ComEd municipal portal load shed map
ComEd load shed map

Municipal APRL Tool

The Municipal APRL tool allows municipal users to see the list of critical accounts in their respective municipalities and to rank the importance of restorations for critical accounts that are affected by power outages. Entries made in this tool are populated directly to the ComEd JOC application.

ComEd municipal portal restoration priority list
APRL tool for municipal users

Critical Facilities Management and User Management

The Critical Facilities Management tool allows ComEd administrators to activate Joint Operations Center (JOC) locations, and to provide JOC location information and general messages to municipal users.

ComEd municipal portal critical facilities management tool
Critical Facilities Management tool for ComEd administrators

The user management tool allows ComEd administrators to review the list of active users, approve or reject new user requests, and assist with updating user contact information as needed.

Results

By providing a collection of communication tools for municipal and ComEd users in a password-protected platform, the ComEd Municipal Portal successfully replaced multiple legacy solutions, increased overall responsiveness and security, and improved the efficiency of ComEd’s restoration efforts in collaboration with its municipal partners.

About ComEd

ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation. Exelon is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, with approximately 5.4 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across Northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.