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Wildfire Prevention for Electric Utilities through Asset Investment Planning

wildfire prevention

Integrated decision making for wildfire prevention


Electric utilities are on a journey with the evolving risk of wildfire. How do you tackle a challenge of that scale?

How do you comply with current or future regulations, while keeping safety, reliability, sustainability, and affordability top of mind? How do you get insights from your data to properly map risk and make the right investment decisions at the right time? Who needs to be involved in assessing risk to support more informed decision making?


wildfire prevention

Who needs to be involved in assessing risk to support more informed decision making?

While you want to avoid death by committee and remain nimble and effective, this is the precise moment to have all hands on deck from key business units across an organization, so there is alignment of strategic vision with operational and planning requirements, ensuring that the capital planning process in place is robust.

A business-wide approach


Wildfire, vegetation, and forestry teams need to create value from their Asset Performance Management (APM) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) data for optimized intervention planning and to ensure mitigations are getting completed to satisfy their bosses.

Risk, asset management, and engineering teams need data insights for strategic investment planning that proves to the C-Suite, regulators, and auditors that they are actively mitigating and preventing wildfires.

Executives need to understand wildfire risk as a component of their overall risk, to be able to understand their liabilities, financials, and protect their reputation over the long term.

Meaningful, data-driven integrated decision making is how you achieve all of this.


Understanding your data: The heart of the struggle


wildfire prevention

As the threat of wildfires looms large across the western United States yet again, electric utilities continue to look for proactive measures to mitigate their evolving risk and protect their infrastructure from the flames. This often means investing in technology like remote sensing systems, fault detectors, weather monitoring tools, or satellite imagery.

But with every new piece of technology comes hundreds, if not thousands, of data points. As all this data accumulates, how can you use it as part of your overall risk assessment and make data-driven decisions that align your short-term metrics with your long-term objectives?


Ultimately, how do you create value out of your data?

Asset Investment Planning (AIP) software ingests data from a range of different sources and uses predictive analytics to simulate and forecast problems that allow you to map outcomes, trade-offs and results. Giving you the insight to prepare your utility for the unknown.

One source of truth: The heart of the solution


Everyone is after a simple, singular source of truth, and utilities are no exception. This is a good thing, considering that for electric utilities, singularity is achievable, and it looks like data consolidation.

wildfire prevention

That’s right, the consolidation of all your data—climate, topographic, lidar, satellite, GIS, asset condition, and any other form of information that trickles continually down into your data pools.

Indeed, getting all your data together in one bucket—so to speak—in order to digest it wholly, internalize it, and harness its full potential will give you the insights you need to make critical decisions.

With one source of truth as the foundation for your capital planning process, teams across an organization can collaborate on projects together to create what-if scenarios based on many different variables, such as changing priorities and unplanned events, while having the insights to make decisions straight away.

Having a single, accurate source of information as the basis for capital planning can facilitate collaboration between different parts of an organization. Teams can work together to generate potential scenarios for different variables, like altered objectives and unexpected occurrences.

Engineers can input technical asset data, modelers can simulate different scenarios, finance teams can see the cost impacts, risk teams can add in different forms of risks based on different factors, and the resulting insights can be shared with an executive making the final decision.

Imagine wielding your data to maximize risk mitigation or being able to convert strategy to action by readily quantifying risk. Imagine gaining a stronger understanding of the mechanisms of cause and effect in your organization, so there is meaningful clarity around the actual impact of your decisions, as well as around any compromises you must make. Imagine knowing where and when to spend money—and what best to spend it on.

Asset investment planning (AIP) is the tool that can make this feasible.


Optimized asset investment planning satisfies diverse needs

AIP offers clarity on the numerous possible scenarios affecting any given asset’s life cycle.

By weighing the pros and cons of numerous possibilities and factoring in risk/cost/service as needed, decision makers get the information they need to make sound decisions which keep the company’s reputation intact—and justify the necessary capital investments. Asset managers get the data insights they need to create strategic plans that will effectively mitigate wildfire risks. And on-the-ground wildfire management officials get the assurances they need to mitigate a range of valid concerns.

Applying your organization’s unique logic and expertise like a lens through which all is seen, AIP works through all your data with its cutting-edge scenario testing capabilities. In doing so, it offers invaluable data-based insights geared at helping you better manage risk, remain compliant, and plan strategically for a long-term, big-picture future in which wildfire risks (hopefully) run a little cooler.


wildfire prevention

Sophie Furnival is the Senior Content & Marketing Communications Manager for DIREXYON Technologies.

Additional articles by Sophie Furnival:

Q&A with UAI: Digital Transformation, Data and Analytics in the Utility Space – Utility Analytics Institute

Building Resilience in Utilities: The Why, the What and the How – Utility Analytics Institute