No matter how many measures you take to prevent them, outages happen. Aging infrastructure and natural disasters are unavoidable, and increasing demand for energy in urban areas is stressing electrical grids. Brownouts and blackouts come up, and it’s outage management systems (OMS) that are essential for restoring power quickly.
Outage management systems help companies manage outages effectively, reducing their duration by identifying the problems and helping you respond. But until recently, the typical OMS was limited in terms of analytics and service improvement.
The internet of things (IoT) and AI technology like machine learning is changing that. New applications that take advantage of smart grids and connected assets are gathering and processing more data than ever before. That data isn’t just helping utilities respond to outages – it’s helping prevent them and increase profitability.
Here are three ways advanced analytics is improving outage management systems and increasing their ROI.
1. Analytics Reduces Outage Duration and Reaction Resources by Predicting Outages
Most outage management systems focus on helping companies gain information about current outages so they can respond. Advanced outage analytics connects to your system one step earlier – before an outage occurs.
Analytics applications connect to smart grids and IoT assets to gather more comprehensive data on your grid’s performance. Machine learning algorithms process the data, identifying patterns and ‘learning’ what’s normal and what isn’t. It analyzes events, network topology, and statistical data to predict future outages.
The system will alert you to the assets that have the greatest probability of a failure that will cause an outage, as well as notifying you of incipient outages. You can use that information to mobilize a response before problems come to a head, reducing outage duration and associated costs.
2. Analytics Lowers Maintenance Costs with Predictive Maintenance
A typical OMS will help you shorten restoration times by identifying assets that need maintenance immediately during an outage. By adding analytics to your system, you can further improve maintenance by servicing assets before they fail.
Known as predictive maintenance, this strategy uses data to analyze and improve asset performance by determining what maintenance will have the greatest effect on outages, severity, and frequency. Once you have that information, you can send crews to attend to the assets in need, solving problems that are directly tied to outages before they happen.
Compared to traditional scheduled maintenance and reactionary maintenance when an asset fails, predictive maintenance is more efficient. It reduces costs by servicing assets only when needed, reducing truck rolls and increasing asset performance.
3. Analytics Provides Insights that Reduce Future Outages and Lost Revenue
Advanced analytics combines real-time and historical data to give utilities a better view into grid and asset performance. In the short-term, this helps predict outages and enable predictive maintenance. In the long-term, it helps lower the frequency of future outages, reducing lost revenue.
To reduce outage frequency, analytics uses machine learning to review current and historical data, identifying outages that have the same or similar causes, and where they occur most frequently. You can prioritize these areas for upgrades and restoration based on outage cause, frequency, and the consequences of outages for critical infrastructure.
Adjustments in these areas lead directly to a reduction in outages, saving your company money and increasing profitability.
Improve Business Performance with Outage Analytics
Advanced analytics applications that deal specifically with electrical outages are designed to improve service and reduce disruptions. By doing so, they directly impact the ROI from your OMS by reducing maintenance needs, lowering costs, and increasing uptime.
But while advanced analytics is sometimes included in modern outage management systems, it’s more often available as an add-on application. Add-ons can connect to your current software and infrastructure and are usually labeled as ‘outage analytics’ or ‘outage intelligence’ applications.
As technology advances, you can expect to find more major technology and service companies offering these types of outage intelligence applications. And by adopting the technology earlier, you can reduce the frequency and duration of blackouts and brownouts, raising service quality and reducing costs from outages.