3 Tips for Improving Power Outage Prediction and Response

  • Apr 27, 2018

Improving Power Outage Prediction and Response 

The energy and utility landscape looks a lot different now than it did a decade ago. For example, weather-related power outages are on the rise and making the news.

This is mostly due to an extremely active 2017 hurricane season, with Major Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma crippling the power grids of Texas, Puerto Rico, and Florida.

What if energy and utility companies could see what’s coming sooner? What if they could accurately predict the extent of damage incoming weather conditions will cause? That’s where hyperlocal,  real-time weather data and meteorologists come into play.

1. Monitor Multiple Points in Real-Time

The first tip is probably the most simple tip when it comes to improving power outage prediction and response. This tip is to monitor multiple points throughout your infrastructure in real time.

Let’s face it: Weather conditions vary from station to station. Heck, weather conditions can even be different depending on what side of town you’re on. That’s why it’s so critical to rely on weather data pulled from a network with weather stations all over the place.

Hyperlocal weather networks are great for prediction because they offer forecasts for your specified areas. It’s also a benefit because of established networks. For example, Earth Networks has over 12,000 weather stations worldwide. This is extremely beneficial because there is most likely a station in our network close to at least some of your most important points.

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Relying on a hyperlocal network is also great for response. Like we said before, weather conditions can vary from one side of town to the other. Understanding the weather at each individual point that might need to be repaired can help send out your line workers only when conditions are safe in their immediate area.

2. Get Weather Data in Real Time

It’s one thing to have hyperlocal information. It’s another thing to have hyperlocal weather information updated in real time.

The second tip on our list is to rely on weather data that is updated every few minutes, rather than every few hours. While forecasts are great, weather conditions can change in the flash of a lightning strike. Storms can pick up speed or slow down, in which case you can pretty much throw forecasts out.

Real-time weather data helps by transmitting weather updates as they happen. This is especially helpful when custom weather alerts are also updated in real time. Besides National Weather Service alerts, some weather data companies offer their own, customized alerts so energy and utility companies can look out for the conditions that matter most to them.

This means you can set up weather alerts for infrastructure-damaging conditions like high winds and lightning. That way, you can better predict outages and mobilize maintenance workers into position before the conditions arrive to increase response activity.

3. Rely on Experts

In today’s increasingly data-driven world, it can be easy to forget about the importance of human interaction. Not everyone who uses weather data is a weather expert. A storm that may look minor to you could actually be the beginning of something major.

That’s where meteorologists come in. The last tip we have for improving power outage prediction and response is relying on meteorologists to help you make critical decisions. Even with the most hyperlocal, real-time weather data, it can be useful to talk to someone who understands weather patterns and forecasts just as well as you understand your power grid.

Not only will they most likely offer some customized advice to your specific operation, but they give decision-makers peace of mind, reassuring them that they’re making the right choice.