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Utility adds software to improve responsiveness, service call efficiency across barrier islands routinely challenged by powerful storm

Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative, which serves 7,600 customers on Hatteras Island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, has increased efficiency and responsiveness with a new mobile workforce management system from SEDC.

Hatteras’ service challenges include accommodating the frequent service starts, stops and continuations of service for the popular vacation area; continual maintenance of electrical infrastructure against the corrosive effects of the salty, windswept environment; and adapting service routes to flooding and road washouts common in the barrier islands. The new mobile workforce system has proven itself in supporting responsiveness throughout the course of a year, and it enabled them to prepare for a Super Bowl Sunday storm in February 2016.

“One of the biggest benefits we’ve seen is the quicker way we handle our service orders,” said Hatteras Manager of Engineering and Operations George Price. With the mobile workforce management system in place, the main office no longer needs to wait for field service workers to come into the office to pick up paper work orders once a day.

Hatteras uses SEDC’s automated vehicle location (AVL) technology to inform the complex task of dispatching trucks and managing movement across the narrow barrier islands, which connect to the mainland by a single land route at the north of the islands (and a single ferry route at the south).

“It’s more efficient now with the AVL. Our customer service representatives can tell exactly where the trucks are located and can determine whether someone will be able to get to it or not,” Price said.

Technicians immediately receive the task assignment on their mobile device, which they later use to record when the job is complete. The system instantly reports the data back to the dispatcher and reflects its impact on the appropriate customer’s billing record – eliminating travel time, excess paperwork and the potential for errors.

Price continues to see benefits from the decision to deploy to the mobile workforce system. “SEDC provided us the best technology to serve our members across Cape Hatteras. We have a unique environment that we deal with, but being able to provide our customers with same-day service is an improvement our customers have really appreciated since we made the switch.”

Price indicated that the co-op has plans to further enhance service by integrating SEDC’s Outage Management System later this year.