All power transmission companies seek to provide high quality electricity to their customers at the lowest possible price. In order to be able to support this service, a well-maintained, efficiently operated and reliable network is essential. This is achieved through asset management, as, at its core, when aligned with the nature and value of an organisation, stakeholder engagement, and business objectives, asset management links operability with revenue.
In power transmission and distribution networks, traditional overhead power lines are often at risk, due to exposure. Spot fires may start at any time as a result of asset failure, and aerial and climbing inspections are the most common method to determine the health of the asset. When the nation experiences bushfires, such as the 2019/2020 disaster, power transmission lines are at even greater risk, and taking lines out of service is a common element to mitigating risk in extreme weather conditions.
Powercor recently announced a $3.6 million project to move 15 kilometres of power lines underground in the area west of Geelong, as part of a risk mitigation initiative to keep power assets safe and reliable. Work is already underway to move these key assets underground, and is expected to continue until October1.
Once underground, maintenance of such assets moves from an aerial viewpoint to the use of sensors, including fault circuit indicators. Smart sensors can significantly improve asset management and maintenance practices by sending real-time data to the business, resulting in a higher level of monitoring, predicting failures, outages, and forecasting the need for replacement components2. Ultimately, smart sensors are able to lower costs while also improving the reliability of power, both of which are positive outcomes for the business and their customers.
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1 Info in this paragraph sourced: https://www.powercor.com.au/news/powerlines-placed-underground-in-geelong-bushfire-safety-works/