field service reps, they routinely manage the 15,000 service starts per year
–including move-in week–even providing same-day service to calls coming in
as late as 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
The transition has been dramatic, yet
rooted in a gradual implementation of a
variety of automated technologies.
North East MS EPA is no stranger to
the benefits (and complexities) of auto-
mation, having deployed SCADA, OMS,
GIS and MDM in recent years. By 2012,
eing a utility in a college town
has a unique set of challenges. In
addition to serving 24,500 customers
across four counties, each August brings
a frenzy of service starts for North East
Mississippi Electric Power Association
(NE MS EPA) as over 20,000 students
return to Ole Miss in a single week.
For the co-op, which serves most of
the apartment complexes and rental
properties of students at the University
of Mississippi, the paperwork, cus-
tomer service, and workforce manage-
ment challenges were daunting. During
move-in week, service starts can reach
1,200 a day.
Helping students through service
starts (many of whom were setting up
utilities for the first time in their lives),
keeping track of which landlords did or
did not want their units cut off when
the students left, and expediting installs
often caused delays and backlogs in
service at the utility. It also created mas-
sive paperwork and required help from
Today, a year after automating its
workforce management, North East MS
EPA has seen a complete turnaround.
With a staff of three in the office and two
BY KEITH HAYWARD, NORTH EAST MISSISSIPPI ELECTRIC POWER ASSOCIATION