Ross and Heather continued discussing risks. They tackled the question below:
Aren’t most critical assets mentioned and managed in operation and maintenance manuals and the emergency response plan?
Both Heather and Ross replied in the affirmative.
Heather explains further:
It isn’t necessarily yes but you would certainly hope so. And there can be critical assets that are not part of the emergency response plan.
Everything hopefully is in your O & M plan, but it kind of depends on who did it, how they did it and why they did it.
If it’s not in there, one will hope you could update your O & M plan and include those critical assets and have that be part of the O & M plan.
In terms of the emergency response, depending on your emergency, there can be differences in the criticality.
So, if the emergency is a fire, flood, an earthquake, etc., different assets may be critical in various types of emergencies.
You wouldn’t necessarily have only one kind of criticality when it is related to an emergency plan.
So, you also have to think about that too of what asset is the most important in an emergency like, for example, if the power goes out, the most critical asset is your backup generator.
And I’m also seeing an example and it was in Auckland, in our largest city. Maybe a decade or so ago. And they had some quite big steel pipes going on the bridges, the flyover bridges of the interstate.
And they are getting quite old, and they hadn’t inspected them for a long time. So, we did this exercise, and we said well that’s pretty critical. They hadn’t thought about these pipes in those terms before.
So, we identified based on every single pipe that was strapped to a bridge across the interstate was a critical asset. And then we said, well what happens if these pipes let go? Oh, we’ll clog the interstate or that part of it. Oh, that’s not very good. We don’t want to do that.
So, in that case, having identified that they were critical, they then put a field intensive inspection program because that sort of asset you want to do a planned replacement, not an emergency replacement. Even when the pipe going across the interstate’s flyover bridge lets go, we know what we have to do.
That is just not where you want to be, and you want to go, hey, that’s an old pipe, that’s an old steel pipe. It leaks all the time. Maybe we’re going to get a rapture due to some relatively high pressure, and it is across the interstate.
Oh, okay, so let’s get a bit smarter about how we manage that risk and when we need to replace it before we close the interstate.
And I think, thinking about asset management as being one piece of a bigger picture is always a good idea too.
Like when we’re talking about asset management, we are not thinking of it as completely separate and apart from everything else the utility is doing.
As you are planning for an emergency, you are thinking about your asset management inventory, or you’re thinking about the plan, you are thinking about how you are managing those assets.
So, they don’t have to be separate things and the O & M plan can be part of it, your comprehensive plan.
There are all kinds of plans out there and they all work together and hopefully in a nice harmony that your asset management plan is not telling you something completely different than an emergency response plan.
If that’s the case, maybe you have some discussions about why the differences are there.
PHOTO CREDIT: West Iceland by Karl Hipolito