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Hydro One first North American utility to launch innovative Asset Analytics tool


January 10, 2013
By Anthony Capkun

January 10, 2013 – Hydro One says it is the first North American utility to launch an “innovative, online, asset analytics tool”, giving it the ability to make “more effective and prudent investment decisions”. Electrical Business contacted the utility to learn more about this tool.

“This tool will help us increase reliability and value for our customers and ratepayers by directing our resources and investments to where they are most needed across the province,” said Carmine Marcello, president & CEO of Hydro One (Photo 5). “It allows us to plan our work to ensure the highest asset risks are prioritized first, which will help manage the bulk of aging infrastructure that is affecting the entire utility industry.”

By using a combination of mapping software, asset condition and location information, and business intelligence, Hydro One says it can now instantly get “accurate, complete, cross-referenced, analyzed data”.

The Asset Analytics tool was created with software firm Space-Time Insight. A system was created that grafts its own data onto Google Maps. The initial Wave 1 deployment gives Hydro One planners a real-time view of the condition of their assets on both distribution and transmission systems. For example, when more information is needed about the assets associated with a specific circuit, a few clicks will take a Hydro One planner from a basic Google Earth view to the transmission line, right through to a crystal-clear view of the circuit.

The initial deployment of the asset analytics tool gives planners an onsite view of the condition of all poles, lines and stations across the province. The second wave of deployment will alert planners to the consequences should the asset fail. This provides the utility with a comprehensive view of operational risks and will shape decisions when it comes to the prioritization of investments.

The tool doesn’t just allow us to see the circuit, says the Hydro One spokesperson, but it instantaneously provides valuable information such as circuit type, the asset class and, more importantly, the condition of the assets on this circuit.

Hydro One delivers electricity across the Ontario, and owns and operates the province’s 29,000-km high-voltage transmission network that delivers electricity to large industrial customers and municipal utilities, and a 123,000-km low-voltage distribution system that serves about 1.3 million end user customers and smaller municipal utilities in the province. Hydro One is wholly owned by the Province of Ontario.

Photo 1
Using the new asset analytics tool, planners have scheduled this weakened, woodpecker-damaged wood pole for replacement next year. The view shows that the pole is at the side of the road and easily accessible by bucket truck, meaning it can be replaced with a composite pole.

Photo 2
The asset analytics tool stores data for every piece of equipment owned by Hydro One. Each icon shows a data point contributing to the health of this transformer.

Photos 3 and 4
Looking at the overall health of the area allows a planner to bundle the work with other replacements needed nearby, minimizing the amount of planned outages needed for customers in the area.