By Darren Thraen, Director of Sales, Utility
“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” the old saying goes. But how much weight does this cliché carry anymore? Did it ever?
Technology continues evolving, our expectations keep climbing and the world spins faster. Mostly because this quote was never founded in truth. Innovation shapes the world today. And it’s turning the traditional utility substation process on its head.
But there is one cliché that holds true for all utility companies: “safety first.” That’s particularly true for substation safety, and innovation is important there, too.
Substations don’t run themselves. You know, those intimidating-looking cluster of electrical towers encircled by barbed wire and high-voltage signs. When substations need service, most utility workers call in to their employer to check-in and out. Because, well, safety first. Unsurprisingly, busy signals pile up at the control center, production takes a hit as field crews wait on hold, and substation safety is still a concern. A new solution called SubTrac is changing all that.
The first standalone tracking product of its kind, SubTrac allows field crews to use two-way text messaging to check-in and out. They arrive at a substation, text a unique substation designation, receive confirmation, and get to work. Boom, boom, boom. And that’s just a piece of what makes SubTrac a utility game changer.
Improving efficiency and substation safety
As a single cloud solution, SubTrac gives multiple control center territories and operating companies visibility into field crews’ statuses. No more playing a frustrating game of telephone and worrying about field crew safety from substation to substation.
And when a worker does end up checked-in past their designated time at the substation? SubTrac automatically sends an alert to their supervisor.
Most utility companies across the country can agree that tracking field crews’ entry and exit from substations has been a headache in the past. But times have changed, and one of West’s utility partners has already leaned on SubTrac to reduce their call volume by up to 80 percent across 10 states!
For utility companies, SubTrac proves that the old cliché at the top of this article belongs with the beeper, parachute pants and the substation process of old – replaced and forgotten.