• EPCOR Utilities

    Implementing Risk-based Asset Management for Power Distribution

    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Project Summary

Project

EPCOR’s power distribution system has over 200,000 assets and serves over 400,000 customers in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Over the past two decades, EPCOR’s system average interruption duration index (SAIDI) peaked at just below the regulated threshold. Some areas experienced outages 10 times more frequently than the rest of the city. A simple demographic analysis of installed infrastructure predicted a 74% increase in the number of assets that would reach end of life over the next 10 years, compared to the previous 10 years. To cost effectively maintain system reliability with current resources despite the forecasted asset failure, the organization sought a digital solution, aligned to ISO 55000, to quantify asset health and prioritize assets for lifecycle replacement.

Solution

Having already established an enterprise asset management system in AssetWise with more than a decade of asset data, EPCOR extended its data application, developing statistical based failure curves and implementing a risk-based asset management program. The utility integrated SCADA data with AssetWise to determine electrical loading information in near real-time. To score overall asset health, the team created an asset health index in AssetWise and used the scores to identify at-risk assets and define a precise likelihood of failure, providing valuable information for asset budgeting.

Outcome

Within the first two years of developing the asset health index and risk-based asset management program, the utility reduced defective equipment outages by 43%. Since 2014, EPCOR’s asset performance has leveled and now falls within the acceptable regulated threshold. The total SAIDI was 0.833, well below the regulated threshold of 1.15 hours per customer. The digital asset health program provides a sustainable solution based on tangible data, strengthening planning for capital investments, and creating opportunities for further cost savings.

Software

EPCOR implemented 37 asset types and a total of 238,000 power distribution assets in AssetWise with integration to its geographic information system (GIS). AssetWise supported an increased granularity of asset data, allowing EPCOR to assign a probability of failure, criticality, and risk cost to each of the assets and establish an overall asset health index. This digital asset analysis model facilitates more informed decision-making based on measurable metrics, asset prioritization using economic end-of-life and cost-benefit ratios, and predictive analysis, for optimal electric distribution reliability. Furthermore, the health indexing dashboard gives EPCOR visibility to the overall condition of the electric distribution system, and has been adapted to measure and report on asset utilization across four major asset classes.

Project Playbook: AssetWise

Outcome/Facts
  • Using AssetWise to evaluate asset health and criticality along EPCOR’s Edmonton electric distribution network minimized unplanned outages and collateral damage to the aging infrastructure.
  • Integrating AssetWise with near real-time SCADA data and field inspection systems enabled EPCOR to calculate the health of more than 74,000 distributed assets and reduce the total SAIDI well below the regulated threshold.
  • The AssetWise digital risk-based asset management solution reduced defective equipment outages by 43% within the first two years of implementation.
Quote:
  • “Asset Wise is the central system that keeps our power distribution workforce on track and provides the foundation for a risk-based asset management, supporting over 117,000 assets.”

    Stephen Seewald Asset Performance and Risk Management, Asset Performance EPCOR Utilities