2022 Reliability — Outages

Posted on Apr 06 2023 in Decatur County REMC
Brett Abplanalp

I have always been about numbers. Since being at Decatur County REMC, we have implemented metrics behind most of what we do. One of these data points we measure is outages.

On average last year, Decatur County REMC electric service was active 99.98% of the time. Being that close to 100% is certainly a point of pride, but the 0.02% affords us opportunities to investigate and improve. It’s enlightening to review and recap our electric reliability data year to year. It helps us determine outage causes and patterns, as well as make data-driven decisions to continue enhancing your electric reliability.

In 2022, our top electrical outage causes were trees, small animals and birds, major storms, and vehicle wrecks or machinery — which is all consistent with most years. Two other major outages were caused by a little critter getting into our substation.

We also measure member outage hours, or the total number of hours in a year when members do not have service. In 2022, we saw an 18% decrease in member outage hours from 2021. Weather doesn’t always turn up here, but Mother Nature was windier in 2022, prompting a 400% increase in weather-related outages over 2021, including several storms with winds of more than 50 mph+. We had a 55% increase in 2022 in tree-related outages and a 72% increase in tree-related outages outside of our right-of-way (dead ash trees). Another interesting fact was our top four worst performing circuits for trees were the circuits we cut in 2016-2018.

I am happy to report that we finished our first right-of-way reclaim cycle of the entire system (2016-2022). We recently studied the reliability and business case of this program. On average, every member could expect to see five hours less of outages due to our reclaim process over the course of a year. Without this process, we would expect our tree-related outages to be five times more. 

As we continue to study the numbers and make improvements where needed, I would also love to get your feedback and experiences. Please give me a call at 812-663-3391.