It has never been more important for DNOs to know the location of their equipment, ensure that usage policies are being followed effectively, and that investments in network equipment are generating the best returns.

By Samir Alilat, Head of Innovation & Business Development, Kelvatek

The scale and complexity of today’s field operations mean that depot managers have an awful lot to think about. A DNO’s Low Voltage (LV) equipment inventory typically runs into thousands, with auto-reclosers, current & voltage monitors, sniffers, and switches. This represents a significant capital investment to keep track of. But despite robust policies, processes and asset management systems being in place, it’s a fact of life that equipment does periodically get misplaced or lost while staff follow busy work schedules.

An accurate picture of your LV inventory’s whereabouts is critical to ensuring you’re earning the best possible returns on that investment. And it’s equally important to ensure that each piece of equipment is being deployed effectively in the field, supporting effective fault management strategies and keeping consumers on-supply.

A ‘forgotten’ piece of equipment that is sitting in a cupboard or the back of a van isn’t delivering value. Nor is a recloser that’s still on a circuit where there haven’t been any issues reported for weeks or months. This is where every DNO’s equipment usage policies need to be aligned effectively with the right tools and processes to ensure that equipment is accounted for and delivering maximum value.

There is plenty that operation teams can do to address these challenges. The most effective starting point is careful coordination between managers, engineers and back-office staff to ensure that all stakeholders have access to the right level of information about equipment location, availability and utilisation. Another vital part of the puzzle is ensuring your field teams have a simple, easy, and effective way of updating asset location information and ownership in the field.  Combining these elements will give you a more granular view of how your equipment is being utilised.

At Kelvatek we understand the importance of following equipment usage policies – and the extra strain that under-utilised equipment puts on executing those plans. Events of the last few months have put pressure on operators to ensure that LV faults are pinpointed and fixed quickly while respecting adjusted working practices. Usage information collected by connected devices can give operation managers a clear picture of what equipment is available, including any dormant equipment sitting unused on quiet circuits that could be usefully deployed elsewhere. This can potentially save time for a busy engineer, allowing them to collect a recloser from a nearby location rather than making another trip back to the depot.

We have plenty of practical advice to help implement effective equipment management policies, maximise the value of their LV fault monitoring assets and minimise customer outages. Get in touch and find out how we can help.