Probe into US 2003 Power Outage Finds Equipment Issues at Fault
Australia - 14 April 2004: Organisations are running serious reliability and safety risks to their, and other, operations and people by not investing adequately enough in preventative maintenance measures, says global enterprise software company, Intentia.
“At the extreme end of the scale, the 2003 US power outage incident is an interesting case in point,” said Brian Dunks, Director EAM Solutions, Intentia. “A US Task Force investigation into the incident has reportedly found that the electrical failures which caused the multi state-wide blackout were largely due to the Ohio state supplier’s lack of communication, faulty equipment and inadequate training,” he continued.
“We’ve been talking for some time now about the risks many companies run by taking a ‘head in the sand’ approach to preventative maintenance - a view that was borne out by the findings that emerged from a global Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Survey we conducted in 2003,” said Dunks.
“The Survey, which focused on plant, equipment and other asset-intensive organisations in Australasia and Europe, covering various industries, illustrated a number of crucial findings - the most glaring being the fact that a ‘fix it when broken’ attitude is clearly prevalent in many cases. And that less than half of those surveyed viewed preventative maintenance as an investment, rather than a cost”, he said.
In the case of the US power outage, a US Task Force was appointed to investigate the cause. The findings illustrated that three power line failures in Ohio should have been contained by the energy company’s operators. Failure to do so resulted in an outage cascade which eventually cut off electricity to 50 million people, taking only seven minutes to plunge parts of eight states and a Canadian province into darkness. The report made clear that this incident, the largest ever blackout to hit the US, could have been prevented - caused by 'deficiencies in specific practices, equipment and human decisions', and that action should be taken to make electrical systems more reliable.
“It’s possible that poor preventative maintenance strategies could have contributed to the problem”, continued Dunks.
Intentia stresses that the down time and delay for companies getting back on line, and the right processes back in place in such situations, can cause huge losses, continuity and service issues – as well as knock on effects to other people and businesses. One in eight respondents in the Intentia 2003 EAM Survey indicated that their annual loss of production, due to plant equipment failure, exceeds USD$500,000.
Maintenance management solutions are becoming critical tools in contemporary production and operations environments. EAM systems can assist with the proper definition of preventative maintenance strategies by using tools such as Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM). Integration of systems, practices and people to manage organisations effectively have revolutionised maintenance.
Intentia believes that generally, maintenance professionals need to work more closely with management to establish the investment case for maintenance system improvements. Further they need to communicate the benefits that an efficient and effective maintenance solution can provide their organization, including the savings that a preventative strategy can provide.
For more information about the Intentia 2003 EAM Survey, please contact us on +61 2 8437 5803.
Further Notes: · The Intentia 2003 EAM Survey targeted over 470 manufacturing, equipment and plant type organisations in Australasia and Europe.
· The US blackout started on August 14 2003 – and was the largest to ever hit the US – affecting most of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Ontario province.
· The investigating Task Force focused on the need for mandatory reliability regulations in the US and Canada. The power industry has voluntary requirements aimed at preventing blackouts, administered by the North American Electric Reliability Council. · The Chairman of the Task Force made clear that the blackout could have been prevented. · The blackout was caused by ‘deficiencies in specific practices, equipment and human decisions’. (according to the official April 2004 report).
Notes Source: CNN news report (Mon 5 April) and US-Canada Power Outage Task Force Report -https://reports.energy.gov/B-F-Web-Part1.pdf
About Intentia Intentia is a global technology leader, providing e-collaboration solutions within the enterprise application space. Intentia’s flagship solution is called Movex -- a complete, integrated enterprise management system, offering Intentia's customers the key to success across customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain planning & execution (SCPE), partner relationship management (PRM), business performance management (BPM) and e-business solutions. Intentia has offices in New Zealand, Australia, Asia, Americas and Europe.
Intentia has more than 3,200 professionals serving in excess of 3,400 customers. Intentia is a public company traded on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. The company is one of the five largest ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) companies in the world and has a turnover of more than SEK 3 bn (euro 350 m).
For further information, please visit our web site www.intentia.com
Media Contact: Lannette Cox PR Manager Intentia ANZ