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LPEA Adds Online Outage Viewer
Indiana Reed | 12/15/10
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To better inform members in the event of an electrical outage, La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) has initiated an on-line Outage Viewer. Those interested can follow outages in LPEA’s service territory in “real time.”

“This is a next step as we continue to improve our Outage Management System (OMS),” said Ron Meier, manager of engineering. “We’ve had an internal outage viewer utilized by LPEA operations, customer service and communications, but the new viewer is user-friendly for the general public.”

The Outage Viewer displays a Google-earth type map of LPEA’s service territory. In the event of an outage, colored squares and polygons appear on the map at the outage location(s), and indicate the number of electric meters out of power. A feature also allows those interested to “zoom in” on a specific location or neighborhood. The map is updated every five minutes, and when an outage is resolved, the colored blocks disappear from the map.

“One joke we’ve heard is, well... the power’s out, how can we use our computers?” said Mindy Potter, engineering IT specialist who researched and implemented the OMS over the past several years. “Well, aside from the fact that many people have laptops and devices such as iPads, the Outage Viewer can be used by people who might be at work and in town during an outage.”

Because the Outage Viewer is accessed through a public web site, it can be viewed on any computer, without any type of code. For example, as Potter explained, those who are at work during a severe storm can check to see if the power is on at their home, which might be located miles outside of town.

“They can know in advance to perhaps stay in town for dinner, or call LPEA to find out if it might be an extended outage because of storm damage,” she said. “At that point they might want to find lodging in town instead of going home to a cold, dark house. It’s all about giving our members another tool to be informed.”

To access the LPEA Outage Viewer, visit the LPEA website and click on “Outage Hotline” — then the Outage status map. Member-customers are also reminded to inform LPEA of any new or additional phone numbers, as the overall Outage Management System relies on current phone number data.

LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its more than 35,000 members, with in excess of 40,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible.
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