10 May 2022

Utility case: halting deterioration by expertly directing renewal effort

Planning their CIP and renewal by optimizing street-size planning units, this Texas public utility is able to counter an average 3.6%/yr increase in breaks with a 15x investment efficiency, effectively halting deterioration - a crucial yardstick for measuring renewal effectiveness.

The utility sought our software for the purpose of proactively prioritizing the pipes most likely to fail, with benefits for both O&M and CIP planning.

The software unobstrusively connects to GIS and work orders and other failure records (see overleaf for DATA SYNCING and DATA USED). It then uses advanced predictive models to correlate failure data with GIS, environmental, hydraulic and other contextual factors, in order to predict pipe break behavior in the entire network.

The data available for the initial blind test were the pipe break records since 2005, from two separate maintenance record systems, and the GIS repository. These were connected to the software and fed to the failure prediction module, part of the suite of Baseform apps dedicated to reliability, risk and planning.

The results of the initial blind test were inequivocal: had the utility addressed the top x% of the pipes prioritized by the software, what % of the failures would have been avoided? 

  • The top 1% contained 24% of the breaks that actually would take place
  • The top 5% contained 53% of the breaks that actually would take place

After implementation, and with continuous improvement of its data and model knowledge, this utility benefits from permanently updated:

(i) Asset probability of failure (PoF), predicted break rates and number of breaks/year; by pipe, pipe cohort (material, year/batch, diameter), project, zone, etc;

(ii) Deterioration curves specific to each pipe cohort and the utility's own data (not theoretical);

(iii) Total Cost of Failure (including repair cost, direct and indirect costs, service & liability costs, other);

(iv) An unlimited range of user-defined Consequence  of Failure (CoF) dimensions, including the ability to calculate hydraulic criticality using the sofware’s built-in network model; and

(v) The resulting ability to assess Business Exposure Risk in a quantified, objective and defensible way.

 

As the behavior of different materials and pipe cohorts is increasingly understood through continuous model, and the quality of work order data improved, updated data is fed back to the GIS and the quality of predictions increases.

Among the outcomes derived from this capability:

• optimized renewal planning through the software’s dedicated module to generate renewal projects, using real-life project-size units;

• joint planning for water and sewer;

• the ability to compare set projects' performance on avoided breaks, avoided cost or avoided risk;

• increased O&M efficiency in active leakage detection, directing teams to the most likely pipes or service lines to fail.

 

UTILITY PROFILE

Population served: 1 908 000

# clients: 511 300

Total network length (water supply system): 6,980 mi

Total network length (sewer system): 5,966 mi

 

Available data systems

• GIS

• Maintenance/work order records (history available since 2004)

• Billing / AMI /AMR (history available since 2010)

 

Focus of Baseform implementation

• Network renewal planning (Water supply/Sewer)

For further details, we will be pleased to provide utility contact information.

 

DATA LEVERAGED IN THIS CASE

Baseform's software is designed to take full advantage of the data that already exists in the utility, depending on each application objective.

The software connects to the available data systems in an automated, non-intrusive and completely secure manner.

In the case of this specific utility and the application described here, data from the systems highlighted below were used.

 

DATA SYNCING AND RECONCILING

Baseform's proprietary data syncing technology automatically reconciles the data continuously received from the multiple IT systems, georeferencing all features and filling in data gaps such as install dates or pipe materials.

We make it our business to deal with your data so that you can concentrate on the outcomes.