Technology is empowering utilities to take asset management to an entirely new level. Many utilities today are using their advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) investments to analyze and visualize real-time data – and develop new asset management strategies that can improve reliability, customer satisfaction, efficiency, and long-term planning.
Managing distribution assets, while always a key consideration for utilities, is receiving renewed attention, as utilities look to maximize the life of existing and new asset investments, and solidify their business models in a rapidly-changing industry. Some of the major trends influencing utility asset management strategies center on budget allocation, regulatory changes, customer preference, and grid complexity.
Utilities are facing new budget pressures from declining or flattening load growth, and experiencing reduced revenues due to energy efficiency and the increased use of renewables. With growing pressure from investors, utilities are looking for ways to be more economical with capital and O&M expenditures.
The regulatory landscape is changing. Utilities are facing increased pressure from regulators to improve reliability standards within a tighter budget.
Customers are demanding more from the utility while expecting to pay less. And, customer expectations for reliability and quality of service are rapidly moving to the forefront of utility decision-making.
In addition to managing aging assets, utilities are exploring ways to reliably integrate large quantities of DER on to the grid. As a variety of residential loads such as residential photovoltaics (PVs), electric vehicles (EVs), air conditioners, water heaters, washers and dryers, each having different load characteristics keep coming on to the energy grid, they are adding new levels of complexity to the energy grid.