Work and Asset Management in a Smart Grid
"Asset" in essence is immortal! It takes life when commissioned and never dies but gets replaced with a new one. Throughout its physical existence (Life!) it needs monitoring and maintenance which is termed as Work! (Work Orders may be). "Assets" take birth for the first time on a Planner's desk. While designing for load growth or system modernization, a Planner designs a network using appropriate components that meet the engineering, demographical, topological and various other standards. This as-designed network when becomes as-built, gets capitalized as "Assets" and the finance department starts depreciating it for the rest of its life. So what has changed over the hundred years starting with when T.A Edison designed and commisioned electrical networks and what beholds for these immortals in the near future?
Some of the positive meanings of the word "Smart" are: "characterized by sharp quick thought; bright; amusingly clever; witty". I think except for the witty part Utilities would desire everything else that "Smart" means, in a Smart Grid. And to enable this a variety of off-the-shelf solutions are available today which collectively can be called subsets of a Smart Grid. Some of the desirable changes in the Work-Asset Management space are:
1. Near Zero incidents of reactive-maintenance.
2. Auto Problem-Isolation and Network Restoration
3. Spatial-Analytics (GIS) integration to Asset Investment Strategy
4. Unique/Single source of information
5. Real Time Condition Monitoring of all assets
6. Map based Reporting
7. MIS for Energy Audit, Interruption Monitoring and Equipment Failure
...And Many More..
Surprisingly there is no single off-the-shelf product that can address all of these challenges. An EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) is handicapped without bolt-ons; Even with bolt-ons one needs a comprehensive GIS (Geographic Information System)..and beyond all these, external subscriptions for diverse information, may be needed to enable the WAM (Work and Asset Management) in the Smart Grid World. It's a win-win situation for all parties involved i.e.,off-the-shelf product companies, system integrators, Utilities and most importantly the end user, to work together towards the common objective of enabling a Smart Grid.
Not to mention that all the above would translate into some real, tangible and meaningful benefits to the Utility Customers which I would detail out in my next post.
Until then, take care.