Reliable service is one of the things our customers tell us they value the most. Our goal is to meet those expectations and deliver outstanding and affordable service on a consistent basis.
The reliability of our energy networks is vital to our customers’ well-being and to the functioning of our economy. Quantitative metrics provide us with an objective basis for evaluating our service delivery over time.
Whether it is electricity or natural gas service, our goal is to get customers back on line as quickly and as safely as possible while providing them with timely and accurate information about their service status. Electronic outage management systems pioneered by Dominion and other technology-based tools support the physically demanding work of our field crews who re-route gas lines and re-string power lines under potentially hazardous conditions.
For our electricity customers, the key performance measure is how well we do at keeping the lights on. Frequent or long power outages frustrate customers and damage our reputation for quality service. Outages also drive up our costs, which ultimately results in higher electric bills for our customers. That is a lose/lose scenario – one that we work hard to avoid.
The nationally recognized reliability and operational efficiency standard we use to measure performance in this area – how well we keep the lights on – is the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), excluding major storms. This index represents the average number of non-major storm outage minutes our customers experience each year.
Dominion uses three-year SAIDI averages to assess our performance over time and to smooth out any peaks or valleys that can result from either an extreme number of severe weather events, or the lack of them, in any given year.
Under this index, service reliability has improved significantly over the past 7 years.
Mobile Device Outage Communications
2012 marked the first year our electric customers could use mobile phones to report and check the status of power outages during a major storm.
The launch of the mobile project took place on October 17, 2012. Ten days later, Superstorm Sandy hit. Nearly 30,000 outages were reported or checked by our customers through the company’s new mobile website – about 17 percent of the total – and more than double the level typically experienced by utilities during the first year of a smart device outage reporting option.
Natural Gas Service
On the gas distribution side of our business, service disruptions may result from pipeline pressure losses and fluctuations in flow rates that signal a gas leak in the system, or from third-party damage to mains or service lines.
Our service teams at Dominion East Ohio and at Dominion Hope (West Virginia) respond to customers’ outage-related service requests as quickly as possible. We measure our emergency response performance in 15-minute increments, from receipt of a service call request to time of arrival at the customer’s home or business.
In 2012, we responded to 97.9 percent of all emergency calls within 60 minutes, a slight improvement in our response rate from the previous year.