More than 40 senior executives and experts from 14 different countries gathered in May 2012 in Rome, Italy for PwC’s roundtable on the enterprise asset management (EAM) challenges facing power and utilities companies. Participants were drawn from different parts of the gas and electricity industry as well as from PwC. Our report summarises the discussions during the event.
Power stations, gas pipelines, electricity cables, substations, the list goes on. Assets are the lifeblood of the power utilities industry. And that is before counting all the data assets, buildings, people and other assets that are part of running a modern business. As David Etheridge, PwC’s US power & utilities leader, observed at the beginning of the Rome roundtable: “What makes an operator in this industry? It’s all about managing assets. It’s the soul of the business.”
Topics covered in the discussion paper:
Anyone falling into the trap of thinking of asset management and PAS55 as just tick-box exercises would have been pulled up sharp by the roundtable discussion. Not only did participants look at the impact of catastrophic asset events on companies, such as the San Bruno explosion in California, but they also looked at how improved asset management can boost financing by helping companies provide evidence to support tariff and investment cases.
Many power and utility companies have grown rapidly in recent years, acquiring different assets, in different countries, with different histories, technologies, processes and management approaches. This landscape presents a major challenge for asset management optimisation.
Managing ageing assets whose ownership may have changed hands many times, often with incomplete records, is a challenge faced by most power and utility companies. Companies need to judge investment needs and make the case to their regulators for how much investment in renewal and replacement infrastructure is needed. Good asset management practices are essential in supporting operations and in making the investment case.