Ralph Rio, ARC Advisory Group
Alliander provides energy transport and distribution for electricity, gas, and heat to a large part of the Netherlands. ARC had the opportunity to interview Walther Rasche, IT Manager, Operations and Jaak Rosendaal, SAP Solution Architect. Both are involved in applying the SAP Master Data Governance EAM extension by Utopia at Alliander N.V. Regulatory and competitive pressures led Alliander to start a condition-based maintenance program to improve asset reliability and the sustainability of the company.
Most of the electric power Alliander distributes is still produced by power stations, but this is changing. Grid complexity has been increasing due to:
Consumers and businesses generating energy via solar or wind and feeding the power back into Alliander’s grid. In 2018, the installed solar capacity in Alliander's service areas expanded by 76 percent. Of the three million customers, over 107,000 (3.6 percent) feed power back into the grid.
With more electric vehicles, the number of charging stations rose from 3,570 to 4,350 (up 20 percent) in 2018.
New data centers consume huge amounts of power.
These changes significantly increase grid complexity and sources of failure. In the Netherlands, customers - both consumers and companies - obtain compensation when downtime exceeds four hours. Several years ago, Alliander had an incident with its gas distribution system that affected 1,300 consumers. The payments averaged 750 euros each for a total of about a million euros – which is high enough to get everyone’s attention.
Alliander has deployed the SAP Master Data Governance, enterprise asset management extension by Utopia software. This provided a solid foundation of asset information for a broad condition-based maintenance (CBM) program. Alliander is now on a path to reduce unplanned downtime and improve uptime with lower maintenance costs.
To serve as an effective planning and management tool for high uptime and safety, information in an EAM (enterprise asset management) system requires high data integrity. Key benefits of asset life-cycle information management (ALIM) include:
Reduced unplanned downtime with accurate data for maintenance scheduling and execution, including predictive maintenance (PdM).
Improved efficiency with a standard data model across asset management, i.e., maintenance, reliability, and asset integrity inspections.
Reduced costs through efficient labor and parts management.
Alliander’s CBM program recently finished its pilot acceptance of the Extension and achieved one of its primary goals for high quality data. The asset management system updates occur automatically using templates. This automated business process replaced manual data entry with its inherently unacceptably high error rate.
Data integrity is critical for a successful CBM program – particularly one with dynamic data models. Utilization of the Extension provided the needed governance, including traceability of changes to the data by who and when. This includes unstructured data like a comment about a tree being near a line and the location. The Extension reduced the time needed to register an asset in the SAP system from hours to a few minutes. It also enabled integration of the SAP EAM asset management system with NRG for critical GIS asset location data. According to Alliander, the Extension can deliver the software foundation needed to implement business processes that solve the company’s asset data quality and inconsistency issues.