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EPB: Using CGI’s Pragma digital capabilities to transform grid operations

Based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, EPB is one of America’s largest publicly owned electric power providers, serving 180,000 homes and businesses in the greater Chattanooga region, as well as parts of surrounding counties and areas of North Georgia. Operating with a decades-old electric power system, EPB had an aggressive corporate strategy to modernize its infrastructure and drive smart, connected, automated, and data-driven distribution management capabilities that would improve grid efficiencies and reliability. In addition, EPB wanted to transform its customer service culture from one focused on simply “re-stabilizing” services into one that re-establishes services while providing customers with value-added services.

The solution

As part of this strategy, EPB, a CGI client since 2007, turned to CGI for digital solutions and system integration and maintenance services to help streamline its power grid operations, as well as implement innovative mobile workforce management capabilities across the organization.

EPB implemented CGI’s PragmaLINE solution, which enables intelligent automation and optimization of its electric outage restoration lifecycle, improving its workflows, decision-making and issue resolution. Through enhanced information flow and real-time updates, EPB is now better able to manage and improve its response to outage and network issues.

EPB also implemented CGI’s PragmaCAD mobile workforce management solution, which has improved the overall performance of its workforce through automated allocation, scheduling and monitoring of field resources. The solution gives EPB the ability to “see” its field resources and their work in real time, enabling better workload management as each work day progresses. In addition, the solution has provided EPB field technicians with innovative mobile tools for increasing their productivity and improving service support for customers.

PragmaCAD was initially implemented to manage field activities for EPB’s electric power grid operations, but since then has been expanded to support field service delivery operations for EPB’s fiber optic subsidiary.

Both PragmaLINE and PragmaCAD have been fully integrated with EPB’s customer information, supervisory control and data acquisition, interactive voice response, and several other back-office systems to improve cross-functional workflows and deliver real-time information that optimizes EPB’s core business processes and overall operational performance. CGI also provides ongoing consulting and systems maintenance as EPB continues to pursue its digital transformation journey.

The benefits

PragmaLINE and PragmaCAD have played a key role in EPB’s strategy to transform its legacy electric power system into an intelligent, integrated and automated smart grid. Since the implementation of both solutions in 2007 (PragmaCAD) and 2008 (PragmaLINE), EPB has benefitted from the following gains:

  • Increased productivity: 20 percent increase in the productivity of electric power operations, resulting in approximately US$1.6 million in savings each year
  • Reduced workforce overtime: Approximately US$1 million per year in savings from a reduction in workforce overtime
  • Increased efficiencies: Approximately US$2.7 million in savings per year from a combination of increased efficiencies and reduced overtime within electric power operations
  • Increased distribution system reliability: 42 percent improvement in the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) and a 51 percent improvement in the System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI)
  • Improved decision-making: Resulting from cross-functional reporting, dashboards that provide both historical and real-time information, and more effective work order management capabilities
  • Higher customer satisfaction: J.D. Power, a leading global consumer and marketing research organization, announced that EPB received the highest overall scores from customers for midsized utilities in the southern U.S. region on July 29, 2016

CGI continues to partner with EPB to drive its digitalization, performance and growth through the ongoing maintenance and evolution of PragmaLINE and PragmaCAD. As a result of solutions like CGI’s, EPB has been able to significantly reduce its overall operational costs to invest in change that is transforming its business model for the future and delivering higher customer satisfaction and engagement.

Key EPB digital enablers

  • Business process automation and digitalization
  • Intelligent outage, network and storm management
  • Enterprise workforce mobility
  • Digital customer experience
  • Superior business insight

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