As planned, NRTC and Clevest yesterday launched the National Mutual Aid Registry (NMAR). The system designed to allow rural distribution cooperatives and statewide coordinators to know the exact locations of the emergency repair workforce in the field – local crews, visiting crews and contractors – is ready to step up and assist during future hurricanes, tornados, floods or other potentially deadly disasters.
The two companies announced the launch during an event in New Orleans just before the opening of the TechAdvantage Expo. “We’ve been thinking about this for more than two years, and now it’s at a time and place where it’s ready to happen. We’re really excited to be a partner with Clevest on this because we feel it is a high-quality, low-cost solution,” said Ed Drew, NRTC VP, Utility Solutions while welcoming utility managers and representatives from statewide associations.
The NMAR system will work like an advanced vehicle location (AVL) system, but will accomplish all worker tracking and communications using mobile phones and computers. Utilities will be able to use the capability as long as a declared national or state emergency is in effect. “This is really designed for during emergencies for those periods of time, whether it is days, weeks or possibly longer,” said Clevest Product Marketing Manager Gary LaPointe.
In response to a question from one of those attending the launch event, LaPointe acknowledged that NMAR’s use of mobile phone signals sometimes will not reach all crews during an emergency. “However, requires a very, very low signal strength to transmit and it stores signals so that even if you are out of coverage for a time period, when it connects it will actually catch up and see where you were,” he said.
NRTC and Clevest announced earlier that they planned to launch NMAR at a low participation fee of less than $1,000 a year. They said yesterday that they have set the fee at $900 a year. NRTC members can sign up for the service online at the NRTC Marketplace site.
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