Ever try to put a dollar amount on a great skill set and a little empowerment? In the case of the Grays Harbor PUD’s Alice King and Corwin Grey it comes out to roughly $80,000 per year. That is the estimated amount the two will save the PUD thanks to their creation of a new network operations center system.
Previously the PUD had contracted with an outside agency for system monitoring services to watch over servers, battery banks, communication systems, SCADA, Load Reporting, and other PUD systems. However, the PUD outgrew the existing system and coupled with the $7,500 per month costs, the contract was becoming an ill fit.
Seeking a system with lower costs and more efficient responses, Grey and King received the go ahead from the Chief Information Officer Rob Hanny to acquire new software and create a system in-house; one based on specific Grays Harbor PUD needs. In the end, the new system met PUD efficiency requirements, allowed for faster response times by PUD staff and did so for roughly $10,350 per year. Compared to the $90,000 per year the PUD was paying their contract company, its’ impossible to argue the win-win status of the new network operations center system.
“This really shows the quality of the employees we have,” said Board of Commissioners President Russ Skolrood. “They saw a need and acted on it. I am really impressed with the skills they have shown.”
While the new system is a Grays Harbor PUD creation, it may spread to other utilities. Hanny says other districts have already contacted him to learn about the system and how it may work for their system.
Grays Harbor PUD line crews will assist the Snohomish County Public Utility District with power restoration efforts in the wake of the Dec. 11th storm.
As of 9am Friday morning, Snohomish County PUD reported 13,000 of their customers were still in the dark after strong winds ripped through the Puget Sound region. The call quickly went out for mutual aid responders from neighboring utilities to send crews to assist with the recovery. Grays Harbor quickly assembled two, five man volunteer crews who will travel north Friday afternoon to lend a hand with system reconstruction and power restoration work. The cost of the work will be covered by the Snohomish County PUD.
“Utilities have a long standing tradition of helping each other in times of need,” said Grays Harbor General Manager Dave Ward. “Dozens of utilities helped the Grays Harbor PUD recover from the December 2007 storm. We are proud to return that service when and where we can.”
As a strong Pacific storm approaches the Washington coastline, the Grays Harbor PUD is reminding its customers to be prepared for the possibility of power outages.
“While we pride ourselves on system reliability, it never hurts to be prepared,” said General Manager Dave Ward. “If the lights go out, our crews are ready to go, but there are steps our customers can take to help them deal with outages.”
Customers should check their outage preparedness kits to ensure that they are stocked and ready. Items in those kits should include:
- Fresh Batteries
- Sleeping bags
- Battery-operated radio
- Supply of drinking water
- Non-perishable food
- Non-cordless, landline phone
- Manual can opener
During an outage, the PUD System Dispatch Center immediately sends service crews out to find the cause of the outage and assess what repairs are needed. In addition, the PUD Communications Department begins notifying customers through the PUD website, media, Twitter and Outage Alert email system.
There are also methods for customers to inform the PUD of power outages. To report an outage, customers can call the outage reporting line at 360-537-3721 or 1-888-541-5923. If your call is not answered (it continues to ring), it means the PUD is experiencing a high volume of calls. Your call will be answered in the order it was received. In addition, customers can go to the PUD website at www.ghpud.org and report an outage electronically.
During an outage, there are a number of steps customers can take to protect themselves and their property, including: turning off and unplugging all sensitive electrical equipment, keeping freezer and refrigerator doors closed as much as possible so the cold air stays inside until the power comes back on, not operating generators indoors and avoiding areas where PUD crews are working.
If for some reason your power stays off for an unusually long time, again contact the outage reporting line at 360-537-3721 or 1-888-541-5923 to ensure that PUD crews are aware of your outage.
For more information on how you can be better prepared for power outages, click the following link: Preparing for Power Outages