Western Power is responsible for building, maintaining and operating the electricity network comprising the South West Interconnected System in Western Australia, covering an area of 261,000 square kilometres. The organisation manages a critical part of the Western Australian state infrastructure.
There are approximately 68,190 kilometres of distribution overhead conductor within the Western Power Network. To adequately manage these conductors, Western Power requires accurate and up to date knowledge of conductor condition, as this enables prudent and efficient asset management decisions. In the absence of adequate conductor condition information, asset management decisions are based on the conductor’s age, make or type attributes.
This has the potential to result in less efficient investment. To enhance their understanding of both the condition of the conductors and the factors influencing the condition of the conductors, Western Power initiated a risk based ‘Conductor Strategy Review’. This included a conductor sampling program, historical data analysis and a ‘Grass Roots’ facilitation of field personnel observations.
We assisted in the development and facilitation of the ‘Grass Roots’ program with the aim of providing failure mode information that would assist in improving Western Power’s understanding of the condition of its conductors and the factors influencing the condition of the conductors.
Western Power engaged us to provide expertise in facilitating cross functional workshops and to draw out expert knowledge from operational personnel of the organisation. Our role included:
- Developing a process to facilitate discussions with field personnel on conductor condition and observed failure modes.
- Developing databases to record and report findings, including:
- Comparing field personnel observations of conductor condition with samples taken from the Conductor Sampling Program;
- Capturing various factors (including conductor type, material, age and local environmental conditions) and associated conductor condition for specific sections of conductor; and
- Mapping results for those specific sections of conductor using detailed network maps.
- Facilitating workshops at 22 of Western Power’s field depots.
- Developing a report detailing findings and recommendations.
- Coaching Western Power personnel on the techniques used.
Our approach was to embed one of our senior consultants in the Western Power team full time for the duration of the activity.
This consultant provided the knowledge and skill required to complete preparations for the depot visits, refine the visit process on an on-going basis, accurately record the results and complete a high quality report. In doing so, he was assisted by other subject matter experts from our Perth office as required.
Benefits and outcomes
The project team:
- Produced a report highlighting insights into conductor failure modes informing a number of refinements to the current conductor management strategy.
- Provided a database comparing observed conductor condition with samples taken from the Conductor Sampling Program.
- Provided data cleansing and analysis across the total conductor population database.
- Produced a database of field personnel feedback categorised by conductor type.
As a result, Western Power gained:
- Improved understanding of conductor failure modes across the network. This has allowed Western Power to refine asset management decisions on managing distribution overhead conductors, optimising ongoing asset management costs.
- Improved awareness of regional and type specific conductor failure modes and conditions.
- Improved understanding of how well the current Conductor Sampling Program represents the general conductor condition in the field.
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