Power Desk role takes customer collaboration to new heights and reduces impact of system maintenance

In 2019, Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc. introduced the Power Desk & Operations Specialist to provide a central point of contact for collaboration with its power generation customers.

“What makes the role unique is the use of tools and analytics to communicate between power plants and Southern Star’s Gas Control as it relates to system conditions, ensuring reliability, and protecting the integrity of the system,” said Dustin Burch, Manager, Gas Control in Owensboro.

The Power Desk & Operations Specialist aligns maintenance activities with the needs of power generation customers on the Southern Star system. The role also uses data from Southern Star and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) to help predict the region’s energy generation mix – the combination of the various resources (natural gas, wind, solar, etc.) used to generate power. SPP is a regional transmission organization regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. As a nonprofit, the SPP works to ensure the reliability of the power grid for the central United States.

Christopher Hodge, Power Desk & Operations Specialist in Owensboro, Kentucky, explained, “The Power Desk role is laser-focused on great communication with our power generation customers, while working to balance seasonal power demands. When maintenance takes place, my role is to contact our power generation customers and see what we can do to prevent customer impact.”

Customers say the Power Desk’s maintenance forecasting allows for reliable planning of generation resources. The role also allows for real-time communication during peak-demand scenarios and timely review of planned outage requests.

“On a peak summer day, for example, the power generation customers may pull heavy on our system. As we approach peak periods of operation, I communicate with our power generation customers to maintain system reliability,” said Hodge.

Customers also say the Power Desk role maximizes their relationship with Southern Star and minimizes risks for reliability and power demand.

“Having this one person, with a primary responsibility of focusing on power generation customers and scheduling maintenance on the pipeline, gives our customers a relationship with someone who knows their business and knows the Southwest Power Pool. The Power Desk & Operations Specialist allows Southern Star to minimize impacts for our customers, which is a win for everyone,” said Burch.

Southern Star is leading the way with optimized collaboration and communication between its team members and the customers we serve to provide the greatest value possible.