How to Streamline Electric Utility Asset Management

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As the owner of a power cooperative, small-scale utility, and renewable energy asset, you are responsible for managing them to ensure your processes run smoothly. You will be responsible for the maintenance of hundreds of high voltage power lines, substations and other critical equipment. It must always be a grueling week – you had to deal with an aging asset, an emergency outage and two major construction projects.

Adding to your stress is that you haven’t updated your business processes or technology in years (or even decades). Thus, you are dealing with a lot of annoying workarounds, slowing down your team members. And because you’re not using technology to meet your asset management needs, it takes longer to get actionable insights.

In this article, you’ll learn how to effectively streamline your electric utility’s asset management operations.

What is Electric Utility Asset Management?

Electric utility asset management refers to maintaining and monitoring the condition, performance and upkeep of utility assets. It can also refer to any system or methodology used to track these components. In other words, it is an essential element to ensure the proper functioning of your electrical equipment.

Asset management is a critical part of electric utility operations. An effective asset management strategy helps you maintain accurate data about your assets and improve their efficiency. In addition to improving reliability and increasing consumer safety, it can help you generate revenue faster by reducing costs associated with downtime.

How do you rationalize assets?

The key to effective power utility asset management is a consolidated, organized, and accessible data system. It facilitates the planning, implementation and monitoring of maintenance operations. Other ways to streamline the asset process include:

  • Assemble and organize all vital data

As with any strategic business operation, you will need to identify critical data and ensure that it is well organized. Data will be crucial in this case due to the critical nature of electric utility assets and their functions in current operations and future performance. As a manager or director, your primary objective should be to provide effective management that facilitates optimal asset performance.

With that in mind, start by collecting all information about new and existing assets, including asset performance and status. Second, collect information about the location and maintenance history of each asset. Finally (and arguably most important), include data on each asset’s costs and depreciation schedules determined after carefully analyzing its remaining useful life (RUL) at regular intervals.

  • Review your asset data management processes

Many utility companies still struggle to manage their assets. They may have an overall strategy, but they lack the data needed to make their processes effective. If this sounds like you, take the time to examine your asset data management process.

You want to set up a data management system accessible to all employees. It allows you and your team members to easily collect, store, and manage data in one centralized location. This can eliminate confusion and help employees stay on the same page. It can also reduce the time people spend searching for information or correcting errors.

  • Track service, maintenance and repair history

You can use asset management software to track its service, maintenance, and repair history. This data can be used to plan future work and predict when assets will need to be replaced.

For example, your asset management software may tell you that a particular processor has had a high number of service calls over the past year compared to other processors in its class. Alternatively, it can say that a transformer or substation has received warranty repairs every year for the past five years. You can use this information to schedule an earlier than normal inspection or even replacement of these assets.

In addition to tracking warranty repairs and breakdowns, you can monitor any routine maintenance you perform on your equipment. For example, if you regularly inspect all transformers every three years and have an inspection scheduled for the next month, you will see it on your asset management system schedule.

  • Have a management strategy in place for the end of an asset’s useful life

As you prepare for retreat and elimination, keep in mind that your efforts will ultimately result in many materials that will need to be handled. Your challenge here is to figure out how best to manage this material.

You have three main options: replacement, resale or disposal. When considering these options, consider the cost of each choice and the environmental impact, and possible financial gain or loss. Additionally, there is a growing emphasis on social responsibility and public perception that you can use to your advantage in end-of-life management.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for ways to improve your power utility asset management, or are new to the field, consider the four-step approach presented here. An audio system will help you manage your utility assets, from utility poles to transformers. By having a plan in place and sticking to it, you can help develop an effective asset management program that keeps your customers happy and your costs down.

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