Standard Audits: Objectively assessing the condition of utility assets

Published: Thu 05 Jun 2014
A blog entry by Smart Grid Watch

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Is your power grid in good enough shape to meet your current and future energy distribution needs? The challenge of managing utility transmission and distribution network assets poses several thorny problems, such as:

•  Cost pressure, especially when budgets are tight.

•  Loss of technical expertise and institutional memory due to staff attrition.

•  Reduced equipment reliability and lifespan due to operating aging system components at higher levels.

It’s essential to know (rather than guess about) the condition of each asset in your network. This supports effective and efficient maintenance and replacement plans — focusing resources on upgrading or replacing assets in especially poor condition, or that pose especially high risks if they fail.

A free June 5 Siemens webinar explains more about substation condition monitoring: REGISTER NOW.

How can you accurately assess the correct condition of an asset in the field? Periodic field checks by technical experts can help, but there’s a crucial flaw in this common approach. Experts are unique individuals, each with their own experience and with their own opinion about what constitutes dire conditions or severe risk. Consequently, two experts who examine the same field asset might assess the condition and risks of that asset very differently.

Standardized asset audits are one way to avoid this problem

This service, offered by Siemens, controls the influence of human variability in audit results — allowing an apples-to-apples assessment of device conditions. Standardized audits can form the basis of a targeted maintenance strategy for critical substation assets such as high-voltage gas insulated switchgear (GIS), high-voltage circuit breakers, power transformers and medium-voltage switchgear.

Siemens standardized audits are conducted by experts trained in specialized audit tools and predefined criteria, and leveraging Siemens’ decades of OEM knowledge and the experience.

Steps in this process:

1.    Information gathering. Asset-specific details are collated from utility records: technical and historical data about an asset’s operation, years of operation, maintenance procedures performed, customer remarks, etc.

2.    Visual inspection. A site visit to observe the operating asset  and evaluate the installation environment, stress of operation, condition, operating mechanisms, etc.

3.    Extended diagnostics. Functional checks of the secondary system, SF6 gas analysis, and measurements of key values such as operating time and resistance of main contacts.

Standardized audit reports are delivered with ample documentation, and are available in multiple languages. Each report includes:

•  Graphical representation of each asset’s condition

•  Comprehensive audit information

•  Evaluation of how the operating environment has affected each asset’s condition

•  Recommendations for condition-based maintenance

•  Assessment of each asset’s environmental sustainability.

Learn more about Siemens standardized asset audits. See the fact sheets below. Questions, please comment below or contact us to get directly in touch with our experts.

 

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