Moving Towards Zero Downtime with Predictive Analytics

By Jow H. Ortiz, P.E., general manager of Ubicquia’s Utilities Business

As we continue to embrace a digital and connected world, the number of devices and assets being added to our electrical grid is growing exponentially. This has made it more complex to manage, operate and maintain the grid, and has led to a growing demand for more intelligent asset management strategies. In this article, we will explore the power of intelligent asset management and its role in creating a smarter grid.

The Need for a Smarter Grid

The traditional grid was built to operate as a one-way system that delivers electricity from a few large power plants to homes and businesses. However, with the rise of distributed renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, the grid is becoming more decentralized.  The advent of micro-grids, battery storage and even EV’s demonstrates the increasing need to operate a bidirectional grid with hundreds, possibly thousands of energy resources. This means that electricity can flow in both directions, from power plants to consumers and vice versa, creating a more complex and dynamic grid.

AI-based monitoring tools are how many companies are choosing to better manage this flow. Fleet managers can now monitor a smart grid 24/7 with the same ease as monitoring their heart rate with a watch. A distribution transformer monitor (DTM) can identify locations prone to overload and signs of degradation before outages occur. It can even provide insight into the underlying causes of the overload, such as environmental factors or harmonics coming from EVs, solar panels, or microgrid installations.

The increasing demand for energy and the need for more reliable and efficient distribution of electricity have put pressure on utilities to modernize the grid. This has resulted in the integration of new technologies, such as sensors, smart meters, and IoT devices, that generate vast amounts of data, which can be used to optimize grid operations and maintenance.

Intelligent Asset Management

An intelligent asset management strategy leverages data analytics and machine learning to optimize the performance of assets such as transformers, capacitor banks, voltage regulators and other grid infrastructure. With real-time visibility into the key performance metrics and status of their assets, utilities can make informed decisions on maintenance, repairs, and replacements.

Utilities can also avoid costly downtime and improve the reliability of the grid by predicting and preventing failures. Intelligent asset management systems analyze vast amounts of data from sources such as sensors, smart meters, and even weather data to identify these potential failures before they occur.

Insights from grid performance metrics along with the electrical and physical parameters of the key assets allow for better management and can also help utilities maximize the use of their assets by identifying underused assets and redeploying them to areas of higher demand. This can help utilities to reduce their capital expenditure and improve their return on investment.

Benefits of Intelligent Asset Management

Intelligent asset management benefits utilities and consumers alike. Key benefits of intelligent asset management include:

Improved reliability: Intelligent asset management can predict and prevent failures before they occur, improving the reliability of the grid and reducing downtime.
Increased efficiency: Intelligent asset management enables utilities to optimize the utilization of their assets, reducing waste and improving efficiency.
Lower costs: By predicting and preventing failures, intelligent asset management can reduce maintenance costs and avoid costly downtime.
Enhanced safety: Intelligent asset management can detect potential safety hazards, such as overheating or equipment failures, and take corrective actions to prevent outages.
Better customer service: Intelligent asset management enables utilities to respond quickly to outages and other issues, improving customer satisfaction.


The future of the grid is digitally connected, multi-source amalgamation of traditional and new technologies that will require intelligent asset management as a key strategy to help utilities integrate, manage, operate, and maintain the grid more efficiently and effectively. By leveraging the power of data analytics and machine learning, utilities can optimize the performance of their assets, reduce downtime, and improve the reliability and safety of the grid. As the grid continues to evolve, intelligent asset management will become even more important in creating a smarter grid that meets the needs of our digital and connected world.