TransGrid has recently adopted a strategic asset management framework for the management of its network assets. Here, we take you through the process the utility went through to assess and improve their asset management processes.

TransGrid is the owner and manager of one of the largest high voltage transmission networks in Australia, connecting generators, distributors and major end users in NSW and the ACT.

TransGrid’s organisational structure provides a framework for strong asset management governance and accountability. This also leads to sustainable asset management decisions, better performance, achieving business results over the entire asset life cycle, and clarity around the boundaries, handover and communication flows.

These accountabilities for asset management are separated into three core roles: asset owner, asset manager and service provider. Within this framework, asset management processes are integrated into the business model, which provides clear direction and leadership around the accountabilities for optimising asset management.

Improving asset management

In 2011, TransGrid embarked on its asset management improvement journey. The objectives of this improvement project were to enhance asset management capability, identify opportunities for ongoing improvements and move towards the adoption of internationally recognised asset management good practice.

TransGrid recognised the benefits to be gained from improving its asset management system and decided to move towards certification to PAS 55. In September 2011, TransGrid undertook a gap analysis against PAS 55.

Following the gap analysis, a number of improvements were made in asset management planning to maintain and improve effectiveness in the various life cycle activities. Some of the improvements included:

  • Development of a Network Vision to provide a long-term view of the objectives for the electricity transmission network
  • Enhancement of asset strategies to:
  • Better align to the corporate objectives
  • Consider both longer term and shorter term objectives
  • Consider all asset life cycle stages
  • Improvement to the scope, charter and membership of the various asset management committees
  • Undertaking of an asset management system gap analysis to identify opportunities for improvement which identified a number of potential non-compliances and clauses that were potentially at risk of non-compliance.

Using the outcomes from the gap analysis, TransGrid initiated a number of smaller projects to enhance the various elements of its asset management system and to address the potential non-compliances.

During this stage of the project TransGrid observed the continual advancements in asset management occurring both in Australia and internationally, including the development of the international standard for asset management ISO 55001. As the timing for the public release of ISO 55001 became clearer and TransGrid’s understanding of its own asset management system and capabilities matured, the decision was made in late 2013 to move from PAS 55 and towards ISO 55001 certification.

Following the strengthening of the asset management system to align to ISO 55001 requirements, TransGrid undertook a pre-certification audit to ISO 55001 requirements in March 2014. Following the successful outcome of this ISO 55001 pre-certification audit, TransGrid then moved towards achieving certification to ISO 55001 in November 2014.

The benefits of TransGrid’s asset management improvement journey so far include:

  • Changing the focus of asset management from how to maintain/refurbish this asset to keep it in service, to how can this asset be better managed to contribute to achievement of the required asset outcomes and corporate objectives
  • Defining the hierarchy of asset management objectives and targets
  • Better understanding of asset risks and risk based asset management decision making
  • Recognising that in order for asset managers to make better decisions they require better:
  • Asset data
  • Risk framework and methodology
  • Asset health measures
  • Refreshing the asset strategies to align to the corporate planning cycle
  • Leveraging the asset management committees to monitor the achievement of the asset strategies and the asset management plans
  • Moving to establish service provider service level agreements, based on achievement of the asset management plans
  • Enhanced monitoring of the maintenance service provider’s delivery of the asset management plans.

The next steps in TransGrid’s asset management journey are to refresh the asset management strategies to align to the Corporate Plan for 2015-2020; address minor non-conformances arising from the ISO 55001 Certification Audit; establish a road map of asset management continual improvements; and enhance the team’s asset management capabilities and competencies.

TransGrid is now moving into a challenging regulated business environment with greater public interest and reductions in its allowed regulated revenues. Therefore, TransGrid will be relying on its asset management system to respond to these challenges through better decision making and asset strategies; better analysis of implications and consequences of alternative funding scenarios; delivering better value for electricity consumers; and better communication with stakeholders about their asset risks and strategies.

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