Asset Management

The US federal government defines asset management as “the practice of managing infrastructure capital assets to minimize the total cost of owning and operating these assets while delivering the desired service levels.”

For most organizations, asset management is simply driven by a cost-benefit analysis. But for gas and electric utilities, the service levels we desire are 100% reliability and zero tolerance for safety incidents for employees and members of the public. These constraints have led to an entirely new profession of utility asset manager – one who understands utility operations, the people who do the work, codes, and standards, and a commitment to our customers.

The WEI Operations Conference Asset Management Track has led this new profession for nearly a decade, bringing together key influencers and employees who do the work for yearlong conversations leading up to the Operations Conference. Together in Boise, we will continue this discussion of world-class best practices and roundtable discussions.

This track is sponsored by:

Meet the Asset Management Program Development Team. Learn more about the Operations Conference.

April 15, 2020

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Roadmap for AI-Enabled Asset Management Decision-Making
Speakers: Alejandro Toyofusa Komai, Predictive Analytics/Data Science, Advisor, Southern California Edison
David Pope, Senior Manager, Pre-Sales US Energy, SAS Institute
Want to deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) for asset management but don’t know how to get there?

Join us as SAS’ David Pope will share his experiences with helping utilities navigate the field of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and discuss the essential need for alignment between the People, Process, and Technology. David will also discuss cloud and tool integration and software solutions.

Southern California Edison’s Alejandro Komai from the Predictive Analytics team will walk you through two of their operations-based AI models. The Overhead Conductor Replacement Model and Work Scope Bundling Model will be showcased.

Discussion topics will include tools for AI, model building, cloud storage and computing, personnel, executive and regulatory buy-in, benefits, and lessons learned.

1:00 PM – 2:15 PM
Risk-Based Asset Management

Speaker: Stephen Seewald, Manager, Asset Performance and Risk Management, EPCOR Distribution and Transmission Inc.
What does asset risk management mean to you? Join this discussion to understand best practices, defining and applying a risk methodology framework to decision-making and achieving benefit realization. The conversation will include:

Defining Risk
• Types of risk / Drivers of risk – internal vs. external, configuration vs. asset
• Customer perspective – economic value of reliable power
• Quantification – ways of measuring
Alternatives to Risk-Based Approach
• Deferral/run to failure (panelist may have other suggestions as well)
• Trade-offs of intervention now vs. later
• Comparison of investment strategies
Applying a Risk-Based Approach
• Building business cases
• Portfolio management
• Change management / culture shift
Benefits Realization
• Benefits measurement
• Forecast vs. actual

April 16, 2020

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Battle of the Xs
Introduction to finance concepts and use of data to optimize budgetary challenges
Speakers: Mark Congdon, HydroMAX USA
Abe Romo, Puget Sound Energy
This presentation will endeavor to take the mystery out of the challenging world of operational and capital budgeting. We will do this by first defining together some basic finance terms the non-finance manager. We will review these key concepts to understand their impact in addressing operations and maintenance challenges. We will then discuss rate case applications with regulatory agencies and their effect on budget constraints. Rate case applications require a certain amount of data be presented to make your case. As such, we will also look at a method to quantify risk numerically and construct a probability model to communicate specifics of that risk to organization and regulatory decision-makers.

Lastly, we will pull all of these together as we look at a current real-world example from Puget Sound Energy. We will show how the application of this quantified risk was developed for a legacy cross bore program and how it affected operational budgets.

Optimizing Maintenance Practices by Bridging the Gap Between CAPEX and OPEX Activities
Speaker: Robert Otal, Director of Asset Management & Analytics, METSCO Energy Solutions Inc.

Maintenance programs represent an integral component of managing ongoing performance and sustainability of electrical assets, including larger substation equipment (power transformers, circuit breakers, switchgear, etc.) as well as distribution equipment (cables, poles, distribution transformers, switches, etc.). Maintenance work typically consists of three types of activities, including (a) visual inspections, (b) asset testing, and (c) asset repairs.

Outputs from maintenance activities ultimately flow into both near-term operational (“OPEX”) decision-making as well as longer-term capital investment (“CAPEX”) decision-making. For instance, maintenance outputs, from testing and visual inspections, can be used as part of OPEX decision-making to make immediate repairs, or replace assets identified as being at or close to their physical end-of-life (i.e. “inspection-defined” failure mode). Outputs from maintenance activities can also be used to support longer-term capital investment decision-making, through the formulation of asset condition assessment (ACA) frameworks, where testing and visual inspection results are used to calculate health index (HI) results for individual assets. These HI results can then be used to support the proactive and prioritized replacement of assets over time. These results can also be utilized as part of a broader asset risk-based framework, where the total costs of ownership of each asset – or TOTEX – can be quantified, in order to create a business case for each decision within the system.

This presentation will look at how the exchanges of information between the CAPEX and OPEX programs are leveraged to further optimize and prioritize maintenance programs. This presentation will touch upon answering the following key questions:
a) optimal age range when maintenance should be applied;
b) whether it is beneficial to replace assets identified at their physical end-of-life during the inspection;
c) the most appropriate frequency for maintenance program execution; and
d) whether life-extension components introduce benefits to the program as a whole.

To answer each question, a cost-benefit analysis was performed, where benefits represented either the reduction in risk cost or the financial cost savings to the organization, while costs represent either a possible increase in risk cost or the lifetime financial costs to the organization to execute the maintenance program. Where cost-benefit ratios – also referred to as “prioritization scores” – were greater than 1, the calculation suggests a positive net benefit value of doing the work underlying the question. By utilizing this approach, current-state service levels can be established for each maintenance program, and these programs can ultimately be prioritized in order of their overall importance and further differentiated to account for low, medium and high-risk equipment across the organization’s system.

1:00 PM – 2:15 PM
Utilizing Innovation and Technology to Manage Infrastructure
Speakers: James Pierce, Supervisor UAS Operations, Ameren Services
Ted Zalucki, Managing Director, METSCO
Arnaldi Rustandi, Supervising Principal Engineer, Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Zlatan Fazlic, VP Business Development, Camlin Power Ltd
Jason Pfaff, Vice President, Innovation, POWER Engineers, Inc.
Are you innovating to make real-time decisions? We will get you from the legacy stone age to the digital age. We will discuss how to justify technology to regulators and share case studies of successful and failed deployments.