AEP coal power plant automates callout with ARCOS


Southwestern Electric Power Company, part of AEP, automates callout at its coal-fired J. Robert Welsh Power Plant near Mt. Pleasant, Texas with ARCOS

The J. Robert Welsh Power Plant near Mt. Pleasant, Texas, has chosen ARCOS® LLC to automate employee callout for emergent work, so supervisors can expedite crew response. The Welsh Power Plant – owned by Southwestern Electric Power Company, part of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) system – operates three 558-MW, coal-fired units and employs 100 craft workers and operators.

The Welsh Plant operates with a lean crew, but requires a full complement of operators in the plant’s control room at all times to keep its units running. In the event that an operator cannot report for an assigned shift, management will hold over working operators until a replacement reports for duty.

According to Tommy Slater, plant manager for the Welsh Plant, in some cases, a callout for a replacement operator can take a supervisor up to two hours to fill. The plant’s supervisors also spend time calling out and confirming the availability of craft workers, such as mechanics and welders, for emergent work (e.g., a boiler tube leak).

With the ARCOS® Callout and Scheduling Suite, supervisors can automatically locate and assemble craft workers and replacement operators in minutes, not hours. The ARCOS solution will replace a paper list of crews maintained by Welsh Plant supervisors and all of the manual phone calls they had to make to find qualified plant employees. While the plant’s manual system has always worked, the process is inefficient. For example, when the power plant needs a mechanic, a supervisor has to spend time carefully looking at overtime requirements when deciding on the order in which to call workers.

With five operating crews working a rotating schedule of 12-hour shifts, plus emergent work in the plant, callout is a constant. With callouts constantly running, it is beneficial for all concerned to have certifiable, automated notification that workers received a callout, accepted it or not, and are coming to help.

With the web-based ARCOS suite, supervisors can launch a callout from a variety of desktop or hand-held devices and return to their first priority:  ensuring a unit is safely operating. The ARCOS solution exactly mirrors the order of phone calls stipulated in workplace agreements and documents workers’ responses.

“This eliminates grievances and equitably distributes callout for overtime work,” said Bruce Duff, CEO of ARCOS.

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