Strategic Asset Management is an Investment in Itself

Asset management programs maximise the return on investment for utilities, ratepayers and shareholders alike.
Published: Thu 23 Jan 2014

Electric utilities are asset-intensive organizations and as a result, billions of dollars go towards asset investment.

It is essential then, that the money utilities spend on maintaining, repairing and replacing assets, is spent wisely.

More effective ways of maximizing the value of these assets must be implemented.

Innovation

There is an urgent need for innovative solutions which utilities can implement to help them better manage the cost of adding or replacing infrastructure. At the same time, the solution must also provide a reliable power supply to the customer.

Thanks to an increase in meters, sensors and other intelligent technologies, utilities are able to get a lot more information about their equipment. Through the use of various software options, they have the ability to aggregate all of this data, analyse it and put it to good use.

Cloud is a good example of this innovativeness. The almost limitless on-demand computing power of the cloud enables utilities to quickly simulate a large number of optional asset management strategies to compare risk and value. Plans can be re-evaluated and adjusted at a much faster rate, creating a more efficient organisation.

Proper assessment

Advanced analytics tools are helping utilities to properly assess the asset health index of every important piece of technology.

Their functions help to:

  • Determine which assets are most important to the utility’s operation

  • Advise the utility where money should be spent on maintenance to ensure maximum benefit

  • Compile reports for regulators about which equipment must be replaced to ensure greater efficiency

Strategic Asset Management has progressed

A number of sophisticated next-generation software tools have been developed. Solutions are providing the following benefits:

A more detailed and useful snapshot of asset health

Most utilities have access to large stores of data about their equipment. However, utilities often lack the expertise and software that will give the data useable value. This is where analytics will forecast short- and long-term failures based on labs, tests, and inspections.

Prevention of critical equipment failure

Software has been developed to alert the utility in advance when critical equipment nears a danger zone of operability.

Improved rate of investment on maintenance.

Software provides a scientific method to help makes decisions about repairs, refurbishments, upgrades or the replacement of equipment.

Better investments

Better investment decisions are made. Analytics will help utilities to forecast future capital projects based on asset criticality, effective age and system impact.

More sophisticated risk analysis

Knowing just which assets are most critical can have a significant impact on resource planning and operations.

Data capturers now become knowledge workers

Old-school asset management can be as much as 80% data-gathering and only 20% analysis and decision-making. With next-generation tools, this will be reversed.
 

There is no doubt as to the benefits of data management and analytics but perfect asset management is still in the making. There is still a lot of piloting and testing of new concepts and technologies.

The utility will need to choose the right mix of both technology and business process design, suitable to its needs.

The technology exists to enable these more informed and effective asset management programs, but it is up the utility to take advantage of this capability to ensure grid reliability and sustainability.