Intelligent Asset Management Strategy for a Smarter Grid | Ubicquia

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Moving Towards Zero Downtime with Predictive Analytics

By Jow H. Ortiz, PE, general manager of Ubicquia’s Utilities Business

I have spent the bulk of my career dedicated to improving the reliability of power delivery through small incremental changes that are often measured in decades. I understand the challenges of aging infrastructure, increasing capacity demands, and the impact of more extreme weather events. Despite that, I believe it’s possible for a utility to operate at near zero downtime if they have an intelligent asset management strategy.

That’s a big “if.” Today most utilities have limited visibility of their distribution network and smart grid performance. Since the distribution grid is responsible for 70%-80% of outages, this is a real challenge. The promising news is AI-based technology exists to improve grid visibility and drive more efficient fleet operations.

The Promise of AI in Smart Grid Visibility

By using AI-based monitoring tools, fleet managers can now monitor a smart grid 24/7, with the same ease as monitoring their heart rate with a watch. A distribution transformer monitor (DTM) can identify locations prone to overload and signs of degradation before outages occur. It can even provide insight into the underlying causes of the overload, such as environmental factors or harmonics coming from EVs, solar panels, or distributed smart grid installations. Such information can give fleet managers a better understanding of their transformers' condition.

Evolving Asset Management for Better Distribution Transformer Monitoring

DTM technology has evolved from providing alerts on basic temperature or power thresholds to using advanced analytics and AI to predict failures with greater accuracy. Ubicquia's data science team, for example, has studied terabytes of data on transformer performance with EV loads, hurricanes, and shifts in capacity needs during COVID. They have developed algorithms to analyze the data and identify several fault signatures, which our UbiGrid DTM+ product can now use to predict an outage event 27 days in advance.

Collaborating for Greater Reliability

Ubicquia is working with tech-savvy fleet managers to test the technology in various scenarios. By combining people and intelligent asset management, this collaboration is taking the guesswork out of decisions such as when to pull an overloaded transformer out of service and redeploy it in another location or when to service a unit. It's this powerful combination that is transforming the way we operate smart grids.

This is Just the Beginning

AI-based asset management has enormous potential to improve smart grid reliability and move us towards zero downtime. With the continued evolution of DTM technology and collaboration between tech-savvy fleet managers and innovative companies like Ubicquia, the power industry can harness the power of intelligent asset management to deliver greater reliability and efficiency.

Learn more about Ubicquia's smart transformer and grid monitoring solutions for utilities.

About Jow H. Ortiz

Jow H. Ortiz, general manager of Ubicquia’s Utilities Business, brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the power industry. Having run various corporate-wide projects related to digitization and development of the smart grid, adoption and integration of green energy, and M&A development, as well as managing the transformer fleet team, he understands what it takes to deliver power reliability and efficiency.

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