Risk management & Improvement suggestion for UK DNOs
Improvement suggestions to UK DNOs:
Rather than focusing on the financial measures only, balanced score card approach should be adopted by UKPN’s management (Slack, 2014, P.434). Operational measures should include focus areas such as customer satisfaction, internal processes improvement, innovation and other improvement activities. Such measures should become key drivers for UKPN’s future financial successes. An improvement is divided into three stages; short, medium and long term.
As a short term measure to mitigating risk, SPN’s operation team should open additional communication channels e.g. social media networks, to increase consumer participation during power failure events. “Risk communication is the third (after risk assessment and mitigation) but key element in the traditional understanding of risk governance. Its task was initially defined as bridging the tension between expert judgment and the public perceptions of risks, which often vary to a large extent” (Aven, 2012). It is an imperative for SPN to communicate efficiently with its customers to reduce fault detection time and to arrange additional support to elderly and venerable customers. SPN should map its most vulnerable consumers and work with local authorities to ensure extra support is provided, when and where most needed, resulting in more positive media attention (Slack, 2012). In this way, the Tier ‘1’ risk of fatalities amongst the most vulnerable of SPN’s customers could be avoided. Under the NEWSAC agreement, UKPN should reach out to other DNOs to explore all available opportunities to mobilize/share resources during severe weather forecast. The ownership of the risk of major power cut event should be allocated to the senior management of UKPN.
In the medium term, focus should be directed on the maintenance and repair of major power lines and assets prior to winter months. Such activity could include tree cutting in the proximity of power lines and cleaning of overhead power lines and apparatus. These measures could be further enhanced by introducing ‘Condition-Based Risk Maintenance’ (CBRM); for major, critical power assets, CBRM is highly recommended for minimum interruption (Butler, 2014, P.6). Using sensor based remote monitoring technology; it is possible to detect likely zones of failure. DNOs are already using such technology; however it is not yet spread to all power asset types. Additionally, Operational staff in all three power distribution areas (SPN, LPN and EPN) should be trained to operate, maintain and restore critical asset types; as versatile manpower can be easily mobilized to meet most challenges during major events of power failure (Slack, 2012).
Finally in a long term, UKPN should nurture a ‘total productive maintenance’ (TPM) culture throughout their operation teams (Slack, 2012, P.482). The productive maintenance should be carried out by field crews and maintenance staff. This is defined as “TPM adopts team-working and empowerment principles, as well as a continuous improvement approach to “failure prevention” (Slack, 2013. P.482). During off-peak times of the year, operation teams should be trained to carry out maintenance activities in groups, not only skill based but also geographical location based teams should be formed, to improve productivity during planned TPM. ‘Asset Health Indices’ (AHI) of SPN should be measured for ageing power assets in order to identify criticality of failure. Based on such data, preventive maintenance activities should be prioritized. When replacing existing assets with new assets to power network, option to replace overhead power lines with underground cables (much less likely to be affected by severe weather conditions), should be considered. An increased use of underground power distribution network in recent years is due to various benefits such as; protection from elements of nature (Garcez and de Almeida, 2014, pp.624-32).