- The company has been preparing for the current situation related to Covid-19, by reinforcing its health and safety measured adopted for operational continuity considering the key role played by its workers at the service of the community.
- It incorporated 400 new sets of remote control equipment for a 20% increase over last year, in order to reduce its outage recovery times.
- A priority platform was implemented for electro-dependent customers, with teams dedicated to the delivery of electrical support, and a new technology was incorporated for lithium battery electrical support equipment.
Santiago, May 8, 2020 – In order to better coordinate actions in the face of potential weather events that could affect the operation of the electrical system during the winter months, Enel Distribución implemented its “2020 Winter Plan,” which involves a series of actions from a technical standpoint and in terms of its customer service channels in contingency situations related to the Covid-19 pandemic in Chile.
Via streaming, the CEO of Enel Distribución, Ramón Castañeda, shared details on the actions adopted by the company along with four mayors from the company's concessions area: the Mayor of Lo Prado, Maximiliano Ríos; the Mayor of Peñalolén, Carolina Leitao, the Mayor of Nuñoa, Andrés Zarhi, and the Mayor of Independencia, Gonzalo Durán.
To face the winter months, the company has been preparing within the context of the current Covid-19 situation, by reinforcing its health and safety measured adopted for operational continuity considering the key role played by its workers at the service of the community.
When critical weather events are forecast and these may affect the continuity of the electrical supply, the company allocates all technical and customer service resources -around one thousand people- to help manage the contingency.
In the event of adverse weather conditions, the company has work teams available for both the city and hard to access areas, like near the mountains, to get the power back on as soon as possible.
It also has specialized teams for exclusive service to homes with electro-dependent patients, who can distribute home generators ahead of time to registered customers in the event of severe weather forecasts.
“The Winter Plan was developed during the second semester of 2019 and beginning of 2020, implementing a series of measures aimed at acting quickly in emergency situations, since the entire electrical grid, and particularly outdoor power lines, are exposed to potential outages in adverse climate conditions. This year, we have also been preparing for the current situation related to Covid-19, by reinforcing the health and safety measures adopted for operational continuity,” explains Ramón Castañeda, CEO of Enel Distribución.
The 2020 Winter Plan includes:
Remote Control Equipment
In order to reduce the number of customers affected and limit recovery times in the event of service outages, the company deployed a plan to increase its remote control equipment to further automate the electrical grid so that it may be operated remotely. It has over 400 additional remote control equipment sets for this winter in comparison to May 2019, which implies a 20% increase over last year. With these new acquisitions, the company has over 2,200 machines operative at the end of March 2020, allowing it to not only reduce recovery times, but to also considerably reduce, and in a matter of minutes, between 30 and 90% of the customers affected by outages in the main medium voltage network.
To minimize the risk of power outages, during its annual maintenance planning and execution the company considers it important to clear out the vegetation near electrical lines. Therefore, since the end of winter 2019 it has been making progress on its Tree Trimming Plan for 70 medium voltage feeds, located in highly concentrated areas, in order to avoid incidents caused by falling trees or branches getting stuck in the electrical lines during winter 2020. In coordination with the different municipalities, the company cleared around 1,500 kilometers of high, medium and low voltage lines, equivalent to 64,631 trimming spots.
Online Information for Customers
The company currently uses its different information platforms to deliver information to its customers on power outages and Estimated Recovery Times, and offers customers the chance to access GPS-based maps of the areas affected by scheduled and unscheduled outages, in order to provide ongoing information regarding the affected areas and emergency services.
Air and ground inspection plan
An inspection plan was carried out in order to detect and anticipate sensitive spots in the electrical system, so as to prevent potential service outages. This service uses state-of-the-art technology consisting of high-resolution cameras, thermography and the LIDAR 3D system, which can digitally capture the entire network, in order to prepare the power lines for this winter. A total of 1,700 kilometers of high and medium voltage lines were inspected across most of the concessions area. The helicopter inspection can perform in 6 weeks the work that could take over 6 months on the ground.
In order to supplement the helicopter inspection and cover areas that cannot be inspected by air, an inspection plan was carried out with technological systems along 280 kilometers of grid that presented incidents like light poles down due to third parties. This plan consisted of using a pick-up truck and/or drones carrying high-resolution, thermographic cameras with 3D LIDAR systems throughout the entire area. The goal is to be able to identify anomalies in the medium voltage network, using technology that identifies 100% of the defects in the grid, after the occurrence of these types of events that have caused damage to our network.
Moreover, in order to continuously improve the quality of service offered to its customers, ENEL Distribución continues to explore innovative ways to detect points of risk for electrical installations and is carrying out network status detection testing using satellite technology and artificial intelligence to avoid outages in the power lines.
Progress on customer service and information platforms
The call center staff has been increased eight-fold over the normal staff.
Reinforcement of customer service tools, including its website, mobile application, text messaging system, power outage reference map, customer service through social media, and other digital tools, in order to optimize the flow of information to users.
Implementation of automated telephone service in natural language, which not only improves the self-service experience, but it allows the customer to obtain information on his or her account and report electrical emergencies.
Protocol for electro-dependent customers
The company has a registry of electro-dependent customers, which currently includes 1,660 patients and 550 home generators, 120 of which have been given to municipal governments for them to manage.
A priority platform for electro-dependent customers has also been implemented, which manages teams dedicated to delivering electrical support and offering preventive electrical support in the homes of registered electro-dependent patients, on specific dates and in specific sectors.
It also incorporated new electrical support technology based on stationary lithium batteries for electro-dependent patients who live in high-rise apartments. This technology provides clean, quiet and secure service for 60 special customers.
It should be noted that thanks to collaborative work with the municipal governments in its concessions area, the company managed to increase the number of customers registered in 2019 and so far in 2020, automatically extending the registration period for those expiring soon without the need to go to the company's offices, as a measure to address complex situations related to Covid-19.
Electro-dependent patients not yet registered can contact the company through its digital channels. These are: website enel.cl, Twitter @EnelClientesCL, Facebook “Enel Chile” and mobile app “Enel Clientes Chile.”
Enel Distribucion serves 33 municipalities in the Metropolitan Region
Enel Distribucion Chile is the main electric power provider in the country, with 1.9 million customers. Its concession area covers 33 municipalities exclusively in the Metropolitan Region: Cerrillos, Cerro Navia, Conchalí, Estación Central, Independencia, La Cisterna, La Florida, La Granja, La Reina, Las Condes, Lo Espejo, Lo Prado, Macul, Maipú, Ñuñoa, Pedro Aguirre Cerda, Peñalolén, Pudahuel, Quinta Normal, Recoleta, Renca, San Joaquín, San Miguel, San Ramón, Vitacura, Santiago, Providencia, Huechuraba, Quilicura, Lo Barnechea, Colina, Lampa and Til Til.