Big storms happen. Life is unpredictable that way. But in many cases, extreme weather can be a bit more predictable. For instance, If you operate in Florida, you can expect hurricanes. If you operate in California, you can expect wildfires. If you operate in New York, you can expect ice storms.
Unfortunately, climate experts are saying that’s not all you can expect. Regardless of where you operate, more extreme weather is predicted to come your way. This rise of extreme weather has made one thing clear for energy executives: If dealing with mother nature isn’t top of mind, it should be.
Why should you be concerned? Extreme weather is a common cause of outages—and outages cost money. The longer the grid is down, the higher your rates will have to be. Most execs strive to drive rates down. Furthermore, unplanned outages leave families in the dark, cut off from communication. As food and medicine spoil in the unpowered refrigerator, uncertainty swells, and public outrage builds.
Fortunately, utilities have options when it comes to storm preparedness. Thanks to technology like drones, analytics, and artificial intelligence, energy companies can choose to harden their networks in an efficient, systematic, and data-driven manner. This way, when the storm hits, they can minimize damage and downtime.
The reality, however, is that too many utilities still rely on a reactive approach to storms. Once the hurricane blows through, then comes a comprehensive inventory analysis to evaluate the damage. The obvious problem here is that more often than not, companies don’t fully understand what equipment they have in the field—adding time, money, and complexity to recovery efforts.
Yet, the reactive approach is understandable, to a certain degree. For many utilities, the catastrophic storm hasn’t hit yet, and the traditional method of manually inspecting your physical infrastructure every 10 years or so has worked in the past—so why change now? Especially when your job and reputation are on the line if things go south.
Storm preparedness is only one reason to digitize your asset management program. Other benefits include improved safety, reliability, and SAIDI scores. But storm prep is a big one. As Texas showed us this year, extreme weather can hit when you least expect it. So you’ll want to be ready when it does.
Download the Preparing for Mother Nature ebook, to examine the three common extreme weather events and how better aerial intelligence can help you reduce damage and restore power quickly when disaster inevitably strikes.