January 18th, 2021

Residents have the power to monitor City power outages

By Lethbridge Herald on August 14, 2020.

Tracy Brason, operations compliance and control manager, talks about the City's new electric outage portal. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Dale Woodard
Lethbridge Herald
The City of Lethbridge wants you to have the power.
The City of Lethbridge Electric utility recently powered up a new electric outage portal, allowing residents to see where power outages are happening and what the status of the outage is on an interactive map.
“What we’ve added to our repertoire at the Electric Operations is real-time information that can be available to all our customers rather than calling 311 one at time and finding out individually,” said Tracy Brason, operations compliance and control manager for the City of Lethbridge. “We’ve added this software to link up with our internal control systems that run the power grids for the City of Lethbridge. The same information the operator gets is the same information our customer is getting.”
The outage management system will also automatically publish tweets to the official City of Lethbridge Twitter page, @LethbridgeCity, whenever there is a power outage verified by a system operator in the City’s co-ordination centre.
In addition, updates to the outage case such as estimated time of restoration and restoration progress will be published via twitter and the electric outage portal automatically.
The upgrades will provide self-serve options for the public to get information, alleviating the need to contact 311 as the latest information will be readily available at all times.
“This will update for a power outage that is occurring anywhere in the city,” said Brason. “This map is in real time. It’s going to save people wondering what’s going on or any confusion. It synchronizes the information between our officers and our field staff so they have the same information, but it also makes sure our customers have the same information. As things update, you’ll see changes on the website that give status.
“So if it’s going to be one, two or three hours before it returns to service, they’ll know that.
“The operators do have to do some manual configurations. So we do have a note that there are maybe certain outages of a smaller variety that will take maybe 20 to 30 minutes to update because there are other things that have to happen first. But for the most part, most of these outages will be in real time.”
The electric outage portal has two portals on the outage map, one is current outages in real time as well as scheduled outages.
“If you want to be notified what is coming up in the future it will be notified on there,” said Brason. “How will you know if it’s going to affect your house? We’ll also send out individual emails to local residents who are being affected. That notification, either on your doorstep or in email, has been in effect for some time.”
The 311 line is still available for information, said Brason.
“But we’re hoping the volume of calls for this type of information about your power needs will be reduced.”
To see updated information on current planned or unplanned power outages visit https://www.lethbridge.ca/living-here/electric/Pages/Power-Outages-Information.aspx.
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