Efficiency Expert at FPL
FPL works hard every day to deliver the lowest electric bills in the state. One way we keep costs down is by tapping into the expertise of our employees.
Six Sigma Black Belt Evelyn Ortiz has made it possible for FPL to get your lights back on faster if your power goes out. While Evelyn's "job" as a business leader at FPL's Richmond service center in Miami-Dade County centers on monitoring spend for the unit, she has led and contributed to several efficiency-improvement projects to speed restoration times. Evelyn has been a part of several Six Sigma quality projects, with her Black Belt project focusing on reducing how many times restoration specialists get deployed for equipment that does not belong to FPL. Eliminating these "false alarms" allows specialists to use their time to assist customers who need it.
Evelyn also has examined several procedures and the technology used to support power restoration. While looking at the opportunities to add, remove or change any elements of the system to benefit customers, it became clear that having customers provide images of issues at their location could help cut the time of an outage.
How did you reduce the time it takes for a restoration specialist to arrive at the site of a reported problem?
Our team created a photographic reference library that allows a customer to report an issue via phone or web. Information now can be forwarded to an FPL agent who contacts the customer and requests a photo of the problem-for example, a picture of a low-hanging line or a streetlight that's not working.
If it's an outage, we may request a picture of the customers breaker panel. This allows the agent to compare the customer's photo to frequently reported problems archived in our reference library. This process enables us to diagnose issues faster. Plus it helps make sure we don't send out a restoration specialist when it is unnecessary to do so.
During the first two months of using the photographic reference library, we have helped reduce some trips made by restoration specialists. Fewer unnecessary trips helps to get power back on faster and cut operating costs, which winds up saving customers money.
When analyzing FPL's power restoration efforts, where did you see opportunities?
We saw an opportunity to reduce both the time and the cost of restoring equipment. One of our first steps of correcting a reported issue is sending a restoration specialist to the location where the problem is occurring. Our specialist diagnoses the source of the problem and determines whether FPL's equipment is a factor. In some cases, the problem reported is one for the phone company, television provider or municipality. For example, low-hanging lines may be power lines, phone lines or TV cable lines. We can fix certain streetlight issues, though others may be dependent on decisions made by the municipality.