Asset Management Planning for Wildlife Outage Mitigation Planning

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So, what should utilities do in a situation where they are having an animal-caused outage issue and do not know where to start when they are planning to install a new substation?

An animal-caused outage mitigation mindset must exist within all levels of a utility’s asset management process in order to completely manage the issue (see Figure 5). Utilities need to look internally to all of their processes to understand where there are examples of practices that work well and should be reinforced and also recognize areas of opportunity. Detailed in this section is a high-level review of the areas that should be reviewed, analyzed, understood, improved upon or implemented, when necessary, to support the drive toward zero animal-caused outages.

Asset Management Process with the Animal Protection Component Included Figure 5

You Get What You Measure: The Industry View

In order to understand the animal-intrusion issue, including the cause of the issue, utilities need to measure, establish targeted goals and then make informed decisions to meet or exceed those goals.

Utilities must begin by reviewing their management processes for collecting data relating to animal-intrusion caused outages and equipment damage. Utilities need to be more rigorous when it comes to collecting outage data. A lack of data or even inaccurate data can lead to inaction or inappropriate action being applied to a problem. There are a number of reasons why utilities may have difficulty obtaining data; however, performing a review of the data collection methods and driving improvements to the areas of weakness will address this threshold issue. Listed below are some of the top reasons why data has been incomplete or inaccurate and should be used to eliminate reasons why poor data collection processes exist:

  • A low-risk outage (momentary outage, limited customers affected, occurrence at night, etc.)
  • Data collection did not occur (operator/field personnel were busy, etc.)
  • Inconsistent or nonexistent reporting standards (operational drift)

Root-cause analysis, a necessary next step

While time consuming, performing root-cause analysis on a regular basis promotes the discipline necessary to completely understand the cause of any animal-contact issue. The analysis also will rapidly expose common themes, allowing for an informed decision on next steps and an optimized investment in equipment protection. Applying the same practices utilities commonly use for their existing safety-based root-cause analysis is an excellent start to ensuring that this methodology is applied correctly and swiftly.

 

REFERENCES

[1] Mooallem, J. (2014) “Squirrel Power!” Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/opinion/sunday/squirrel-power.html (Accessed: 20 July 2016).

[2] Economic Benefits Of Increasing Electric Grid Resilience to Weather Outages. Available at: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/08/f2/Grid%20Resiliency%20Report_FINAL.pdf (Accessed: 2 May 2016).

[3] “U.S. power grid could be knocked out by a handful of substation attacks.” TV-NovostiAutonomousNonprofitOrganization (2016). Available at: https://www.rt.com/usa/power-grid-knocked-out-substations-706/ (Accessed: 12 August 2016).

[4]  2 Paragraphs (2016) Squirrels – #1 threat to US electrical grid. Available at: http://2paragraphs.com/2016/01/squirrels-1-threat-to-us-electrical-grid/ (Accessed: 11 July 2016).

[5]  International Energy Agency (2009). Energy Policies of IEA Countries – Canada 2009 Review. Paris: OECD/IEA. ISBN 978-92-64-06043-2.

[6]  Transmission. Available at: http://www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/transmission/Pages/default.aspx (Accessed: 1 August 2016).

[7]  Kemper, C. (2016) “Animal Behavior and Protection at Electric Substations.” Interview with Colin Hassett on 10 March 2016.

[8]  CyberSquirrel1 (2015) CyberSquirel1.Com. Available at: http://www.cybersquirrel1.com (Accessed: 1 August 2016).

[9]  University of Lincoln, “New research warns world to prepare for power outages.” ScienceDaily, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140127093033.htm.

[10]      Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (2005). The Cost of Wildlife-Caused Power Outages to California’s Economy. California Energy Commission, PIER Energy-Related Environmental Research. CEC-500-2005-030.

[11]      Mooallem, J. (2014) Squirrel power! Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/opinion/sunday/squirrel-power.html?_r=0 (Accessed: 13 July 2016).

[12]      Mitigation of Animal-Caused Outages for Distribution Lines and Substations, (1999) EPRI, Palo Alto, Calif. 1999. Report TE-114915.

[13]      DeMontigny, M., & Horn, H. (2012). Guide to Accounting for Utilities and Power Companies. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from https://www.pwc.com/us/en/cfodirect/assets/pdf/accounting-guides/pwc_utilities_power_2013.pdf

[14]      Heck, N. and Sutherland, T. (2016) Electric Energy Online. Available at: http://www.electricenergyonline.com/show_article.php?mag=92&article=742 (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

[15]      Heck, N. and Sutherland, T. (2016) Electric Energy Online. Available at: http://www.electricenergyonline.com/show_article.php?mag=92&article=742 (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

[16]      Heck, N. and Sutherland, T. (2016) Electric Energy Online. Available at: http://www.electricenergyonline.com/show_article.php?mag=92&article=742 (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

[17]      Heck, N. and Sutherland, T. (2016) Electric Energy Online. Available at: http://www.electricenergyonline.com/show_article.php?mag=92&article=742 (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

This post is the third in a series of seven excerpts from an electric utility industry white paper prepared by FTI Consulting, entitled, THE CASE FOR ELIMINATING ANIMAL-CAUSED OUTAGES IN ELECTRIC SUBSTATIONS AND ON POWERLINES. The full white paper may be downloaded by clicking here.

Darren Barnett

Darren Barnett, VP MEPP (Manufacturer’s Equipment Protection Program) / Technical Services, holds a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Louisiana Tech University and has over 28 years of experience in the electric power distribution industry. Darren’s career started as a design engineer for a major transformer and components manufacturer. From there he advanced to positions of increasing responsibility, including Quality Assurance Manager, Engineering Manager and Vice President of Components Operations. Darren is an active member of IEEE and was on the committee that developed the 1656 -2010 testing guide for wildlife mitigation products.

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