Column: Condition monitoring

Column: Condition monitoring

Vol. 5 Issue 2

Future of substation monitoring: It is not just the software



The future of online monitoring of HV substation equipment is closely linked to Enterprise Asset Management systems provided that proper measures are implemented for the EAM system to deliver the expected results. Those measures include trained personnel, detailed knowledge of one’s assets, technically and economically feasible maintenance process, flow of information to personnel, and collaboration with a company that can provide the monitoring system as well as the expertise in its implementation. Monitoring and diagnostics is now part of the business process which contributes to reduction in forced outages, and a more secure and reliable system.

Keywords: substation monitoring, enterprise asset management

1. Introduction

I am an avid follower of various LinkedIn Groups and have recently read with interest items from two diverse and separate groups, which, on the surface, appeared to have no connection with each other. One was from The Transformer Condition Monitoring Group, asking the question “Is there a future for transformer monitoring and why/why not?”. I would refer the questioner to review my article published a year ago in Transformers Magazine [1] for some of the answers. Another item from the IAM Discussion Group highlighted the author’s EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) predictions for 2018 [2]. I did touch on this topic of asset management in my previous article, yet found that this item provided more focus on WHY many of the systems fail to deliver on what the asset owner thought they had signed up for. In my mind, these two are connected. The future of substation monitoring is closely linked to the latest in buzz words or phrases such as the IoT (Internet of Things) and EAM. Full disclosure: I work for a company that engineers, produces, and provides engineering services to those companies owning and operating HV assets on the power system. We also produce asset analytics for those very same assets monitored.

Terrence O’Hanlon [2], CEO at, has noted what his company sees daily, not necessarily with electrical energy companies, but their observations carry over:

  • a reminder that 80 % of the people who care about EAM and read this cannot access their work orders on a mobile device;
  • only 40 % of the organizations they studied have an actionable EAM based asset registry;
  • only 30 % of the organizations they studied have accurate and up to date asset criticality rankings.

Mr. O’Hanlon in his post predicts the following:

  1. Without an engaged and empowered workforce, EAM will still fail to create a positive return on investment.
  2. Without knowing what assets you have, EAM will still fail to create a positive return on investment.
  3. Without a technically and economically feasible maintenance process (such as CBM), EAM will still fail to create a positive return on investment – no matter how much IoT you implement.
  4. Without adequate and ongoing EAM training, EAM will still fail to create a positive return on investment.
  5. Without active executive sponsorship, EAM will still fail to create a positive return on investment.
To read the article, subscribe and choose the option which suits you best. We offer both free and paid options, and the registration takes only a minute.