Revolutionizing Infrastructure Management

Company

A private, regulated utility in the Northwest US, serving over 800,000 customers and a population of nearly 2 million centered around a mid-sized city.

Challenge

The Client’s Transmission and Distribution business line created a new Strategic Asset Management group in 2012.  Their first task was to create a gap assessment and strategic plan, which was completed immediately. A key element of this plan was the development of capabilities and supporting tools for risk assessment and spending justification for work arising from the T&D business line.

“There is widespread acknowledgment by utilities and their regulators that planning is needed to avoid getting behind and facing increasing risk of failure or a bow-wave of replacements that is difficult to manage. Less discussed is the possibility of overreacting and replacing assets too soon, although this error is also likely without a reliable approach to making replacement decisions. To add complexity, there are also changes in standards and opportunities for upgrade that must be factored in.”

-Darin Johnson, Industry Expert

Solution

The Strategic Asset Management Group evaluated multiple proposals and selected the AERO methodology to be the cornerstone of its risk-based aging infrastructure evaluation capability.  The approach was implemented over several years through an interactive, consulting-based approach.  Important goals of this approach include the following:

Customization

The methodology incorporates institutional knowledge and strategic goals specific to the Client and its customers.

Data-driven

Available data, such as historical failures, asset condition, reliability projections, customer surveys, and the tacit knowledge of subject-matter experts are foundational.

Customer Focus

The methodology incorporates institutional knowledge and strategic goals specific to the Client and its customers.

Transparency

Assumptions and methods can be reviewed and continually improved.

In addition to the base asset-level AERO methodology, the Client team also developed an Integrated Planning Tool, which uses the cost streams from AERO along with other relevant inputs, such as non asset-related failures, to evaluate complex, multi-asset projects.  Examples of such projects include energy storage, capacity increase, feeder automation, testing of line transformers for PCB, and neighborhood-level cable replacement or injection.

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