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In 2019, Jemena distributed 4,229GWh of electricity to 354,452 customer sites across Victoria via 6,600km of overhead and underground powerlines. Zinfra played a significant role in Jemena’s network performance, commencing the delivery of the operations and maintenance contract on the Jemena Electricity Network (JEN) at the end of 2018, which has reinforced Zinfra’s position as Australia’s leading provider of field services to the electricity market.  

Jemena owns and operates one of five licensed electricity distribution networks in Victoria, covering more than 950 square kilometres of north-west greater Melbourne. The network footprint incorporates a mix of major industrial areas, residential growth areas, established inner suburbs and Melbourne International Airport.

Inspection and maintenance activities are crucial to ensuring the long-term safety, reliability and efficiency of Jemena’s electricity network. 

The Jemena Electricity Services Agreement (JESA) contract commenced in December 2018 and outlines the services required from Zinfra to build and maintain Jemena’s electricity assets in Victoria. The JESA contract includes a comprehensive Performance Framework, with both Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Performance Health Indicators (PHIs) monitored monthly.

To date, Zinfra Power Services has consistently achieved 95 per cent of the KPIs outlined under the JESA –  a testament to its energy industry expertise and capabilities, as well as its continued identification of opportunities to improve and deliver the JESA program of works prudently, efficiently and safely.

Collaboration and communication key to overcoming challenges

Zinfra delivers a comprehensive range of engineering, project management, construction, operations and maintenance services, and its partnership with Jemena highlights how it is using its industry expertise and technical capabilities to make a positive contribution to Australia’s energy infrastructure.

The scope of work for the JESA contract consists of preventative maintenance – including changing cross arms and replacing poles – operational fault response, customer-initiated network augmentation such as new connections and supply upgrades, and the delivery of capital projects initiated by Jemena.

According to the JESA Operations Manager, Vincent Marziale, one of the initial challenges was transitioning over 250 employees from the Jemena network field services team to Zinfra. Given Zinfra’s market position as a leading service delivery partner for the utility industry, the organisation is experienced at this type of workforce transition, and worked closely with HR specialists and the Jemena senior management to ensure effective employee engagement throughout the transition.

Managing costs is essential on any project, and Zinfra implemented a number of measures to achieve cost savings for Jemena in the first year of the JESA contract. 

Some of these cost savings were achieved through a review of the JESA structure, which was completed in June 2019 and resulted in a workforce reduction. 

Zinfra embraces continuous improvement and is always looking to understand, improve and innovate in the areas where it can add most value.

As part of its flexible approach to streamlining contract costs, Zinfra explored different ways to refine its delivery processes, which included the rollout of new technologies such as Multi Resource Scheduling (MRS), Digital Work Order Management (DWOM) and Digital Round Trip (DRT).

In addition to the efficiencies provided by these platforms, there has also been increased uptake of automated, system-based reporting.

Zinfra also partnered with Jemena to implement its new outage planning system, working closely with Jemena’s control room to ensure the least amount of customers possible would be impacted by outages into the future.

A proven track record in safety and quality 

Zinfra sets itself up for success by making sure it has the processes and reporting in place to continually monitor how it’s tracking against its targets and can make adjustments as required. 

Effective communication is also key, in terms of ensuring everyone in the project team understands the client’s expectations, their role and what they’re accountable for.

“I think the first-year results of the JESA contract speak volumes to Zinfra’s ability to meet its client’s needs and quickly adapt to a changing environment,” Mr Marziale said.

Safety is Zinfra’s number one priority, and moving into the second year of the JESA contract, the Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) remains at zero. 

This outstanding safety performance is the result of a safety-first culture that has been nurtured over many years, along with a dedicated subcontractor management team that oversees compliance for both the internal and external workforce.

Zinfra is committed to building genuine relationships with its clients and communities, and is also the lead contractor for the electricity network upgrades required for two other major Victorian infrastructure projects: West Gate Tunnel and North East Link.

Delivering results through effective partnerships

Zinfra is passionate about delivering real value to each project’s end user, and Mr Marziale explained that Zinfra treats Jemena’s customers as its own.

“Asset owners such as Jemena are not only held accountable by the various regulators, but also by how satisfied their customers are,” Mr Marziale said.

“We have a very customer-focused approach. We partner with our clients to invest in technology to ensure we get the best outcomes for customers – the first year of the JESA contract included implementation of a customer portal for Jemena customers to submit applications for new electricity connections, improving the customer experience and interface into the business.”

Zinfra also demonstrates a strong focus on achieving the right outcomes for its clients, working heavily with Jemena to develop its capital operating works plan, which outlines and supports Jemena’s investments.

“Zinfra and Jemena partner throughout the year to develop, maintain and implement the most prudent, efficient and innovative work programs,” Mr Marziale said.

“It’s about working together to ensure that Jemena’s entire program is delivered successfully with the optimum amount of resources and a constant focus on the customer’s experience.”

This partner content is brought to you by Zinfra – your trusted partner in energy. For more information on Zinfra’s engineering, construction and maintenance services, visit www.zinfra.com.au.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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