AI is Transforming How UtilitiesPlan for Adverse Weather Events
The data and artificial intelligence (AI) revolution have transformed everything from how we shop to how we order food and transportation, and the power and utility industry is no exception. As new energy and data sources continue to grow, utilities are trying to take a more holistic approach to better understand and manage resources – whether they be physical assets or people.
With AI-powered solutions, utility operators can leverage comprehensive, real-time models to ensure a more resilient and efficient grid, with machine learning (ML) working behind the scenes to analyze disparate data sources and provide actionable insights back to the business and customers.This is especially true in how utilities can manage through an increase in catastrophic weather events, to ensure that field crews are at the ready and can re-establish power to customers as quickly as possible. AI is transforming this process by helping utilities.
Predict Major Weather Events
Having an outage management plan is critical for utilities, as waiting to simply react to a storm event is often costly and ineffective. A proven outage management system, with built-in AI, can minimize the impact of natural disasters via an improved understanding of event scenarios, real-time grid monitoring and more effective use of people resources. With the ability to ingest, normalize and transform massive data from a variety of sources into accurate and actionable insights, AI-enhanced network management systems can understand past weather patterns and predict future outages. A recent article in GC Capital Ideas noted that “The Asia Pacific may be the most adversely impacted region by the pronounced increase in the frequency of extreme weather events around the world.” Utilities increasingly need to rethink how they use data and intelligence to better prepare and create a battle-proof system to ensure services can be restored to customers as quickly as possible.
Listen to Assets
The proliferation of smart sensors and devices is changing this paradigm by enabling assets to essentially “talk” about their health. But with this flood of new data, utilities often struggle to hear and understand them. Using AI and data visualization capabilities, utilities can quickly reveal the story their assets are telling to drive faster, more accurate decision-making across the business.
As such,utilities can identify and easily visualize asset and infrastructure weaknesses across every stage of an asset’s life. This includes acquisition, set-up, and performance—including predictive maintenance, repair, and inspection activities—through to the purchasing and inventory of needed parts. As such, operations can gain a real-time view on the health of their assets so they can prevent failures, take faster action when needed and optimize the performance of their assets, regardless of what Mother Nature throws their way.
Mobilize Field Crews
Once an adverse weather event occurs, it is often hard to mobilize crews for restoration. For starters – crews are often geographically dispersed or require additional contractor help to ensure the right people are “on-call” at the time and place of need. With the intelligence from AI-enabled field service systems, utilities will be in a better position to not only carry out proactive maintenance measures to help mitigate the impact of potential storm damage but also have the right crews in place when issues do occur. For example, through advanced visualization, utilities can see exactly where crews are and the highest priority areas in need of attention,so they can deploy crews accordingly. As such, they can minimize time wasted in travel – saving time, money and mitigating outages for customers.
There is no question that the weather only continues to grow more extreme. For utilities, managing the barrage of everything from typhoons to extreme wind requires a new strategy. By applying a new level of sophisticated planning and predictive maintenance, AI is already helping many utilities provide higher quality service with fewer interruptions.