Outage Planners: Improving Reliability

Posted by Bob Furry

Versify_Logo.pngOutage planners understand that periodic outages and derates are a necessary part of bulk power system operations. Outages are required when completing new infrastructure, upgrading existing capabilities, testing plant performance and conducting required maintenance.

However, unnecessary or extended outages impact reliability metrics increase compliance risk with NERC and regional regulatory Reliability Standards. Outages can also be costly to your bottom line if not planned and coordinated efficiently. Reliability and financial performance are closely related; the more reliable a plant is, the less time it spends in outages and the more revenue the plant earns in the market.

Effective outage planning can minimize downtime and costs by leveraging institutional knowledge, operating data and a solid understanding of reliability requirements and their impact on the business.

Utilities and IPPs need well defined, repeatable processes for requesting, approving, scheduling and executing outages and derates.

  • How does the distinction between planned, maintenance and forced outages impact reliability metrics?
  • What are the timelines established by the regulators for planned, maintenance and forced outages?
  • Do my processes support minimizing outages in general and forced outage specifically?
  • Do I consider delaying and combining outages where possible to minimize the number and duration of outages?
  • How do I manage required tests to minimize downtime and lost revenues?
  • Am I confident when scheduling an outage that the necessary parts and labor are available to complete the outage in the time allotted?

Data capture and storage of all relevant information that applies to the outage is paramount for refining processes and continual improvement.

  • How many companies conduct “lessons learned” from past outages?
  • What does my performance for starting and completing outages on time look like?
  • Do certain plants/manufactures/crews within my portfolio perform better than others?
  • Do my reliability statistics differ by region?
  • Do my reliability statistics impact my revenue in one region more than another?

Transparency among all stakeholders for the status of outages is important to minimizing the impact of outages.

  • Are there outages waiting for my approval?
  • Do we approved outages that have not been communicated to the ISO and/or Reliability coordinator?
  • Are the commercial team and the operations and maintenance in agreement on the timing and duration of outages?
  • Are the proper labor and parts available to complete the outage?
  • Would it better to postpone the outage if possible?
  • Can I combine outages to reduce the amount of downtime?

Automation to reduce the time spent managing outages allows power producers to make the best use of outage planner’s time. Double entry of data, multiple phone calls and unanswered e-mails all consume valuable time that is better spent planning and optimize the portfolio. A lack of integration among systems (Work Management, GMS, bidding, ISO and Reliability Coordinators) wastes time and introduces errors and rework into the process.

With tight margins in power generation and an increased contribution from others sources such as the capacity markets, reliability is more important than ever to power producers’ bottom line. Increased monitoring and scrutiny (including clawbacks and fines) make effective outage planning and execution more important than ever.

Versify helps power producers optimize key functions and processes for asset performance, event logging, outage management, trading, and compliance to improve the operational and financial performance of generation assets.

Our software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions help power providers integrate large-scale, disparate data sources across business functions and physical locations to show the real-time status and capabilities of any generation asset.

Contact us today to speak to one of our experts and see how we can help.
 
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This post was published on August 31, 2017 and updated on September 12, 2017.

Topics: Outage Management System

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