The Times West Virginian

Local News

February 27, 2014

Project helping Mon Power improve service, repair work

FAIRMONT — A $2.3 million-project is helping Mon Power improve the service and repair work it provides across West Virginia.

Mon Power’s new Work Management Initiative (WMI) is giving linemen access to advanced equipment that will benefit customers in the company’s 34-county service territory in the state.

Todd Meyers, spokesman for Mon Power, which is one of the utility companies under FirstEnergy Corp., said this project will assist with day-to-day operations as well as power outages.

The new technology was unveiled during a media presentation Wednesday at the Mon Power Headquarters, located in the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont.

This initiative, which began in 2013, has involved installing laptop computers in 250 trucks, said Mollie Burnett, manager of operations for Mon Power. She is also on temporary assignment leading the WMI.

The technology has already been implemented in Fairmont, Morgantown and Clarksburg, and will be completed in Mon Power’s entire service territory by about July.

The initiative provides computer-aided scheduling and detailed maps, enabling workers in the field to better plan and meet customer needs. The WMI will also enhance safety for workers, Burnett said.

In addition, this equipment allows Mon Power to dispatch orders electronically when power outages occur, she said. The system will improve efficiency during outage situations, and customers will get better time estimates for when power will be restored.

If crews can get to a location more quickly, they can get the power back on faster, Meyers said. With more technology, Mon Power is able to define restoration times more accurately and convey that information to customers.

The company strives for continual improvement, he said.

Burnett said she’s looking forward to this enhanced capability across Mon Power’s service territory and thinks customers will be pleased.

Rob Garcia, lineman A for Mon Power, provided a demonstration of the new equipment located inside one of the company’s trucks.

He showed how he is able to log onto the computer in the vehicle and his work for the day will already be loaded up, rather than him having to retrieve orders from another location. This process saves him time, and he is able to get information about the customer’s name and address as well as pertinent details about the job.

Garcia said the mapping feature allows him to determine a driving route or use GPS to get turn-by-turn directions. When en route to a power outage, the dispatcher or service center knows that he is on his way and can in turn give the customer information about approximate times.

The system allows workers to access important information in real-time. Linemen can also see where other crew members are located in the area so they can communicate before any work is performed, Garcia said.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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