Built on the heels of pipeline safety regulations and requirement, some gas utilities initially thought of integrity management as a function of compliance. But these programs continued to evolve over time, as have the regulations that establish requirements for identifying potential pipeline safety threats, evaluating risks, and taking other proactive measures.
Today, leading utilities are taking the focus of Transmission Integrity Management Programs (TIMP) and Distribution Integrity Management Programs (DIMP) even further—extending integrity management beyond just integrity management.
We’re seeing states like California, New York, and Massachusetts begin to require utilities to consider more than pipeline safety when justifying spending decisions. Regulators are looking at reliability and a utility’s ability to quantify strategic and financial objectives.
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Such quantifiable objectives could include emissions reduction, reducing Operations and Maintenance (O&M) spend and Environmental and Social Justice (ESJ). “Because we expect this trend to continue, utilities should look beyond pipeline safety to meet these growing expectations. This includes improving the value of investments across all programs to drive safety improvement, along with environmental and other objectives,” said Menzie.
Evolving the Conversation About Integrity Management
Utilities have spent years refining how they model pipeline safety risk within their integrity management programs. Now the question has evolved to, “How can we take our hard work and apply that same data, infrastructure, and rigor to other parts of the organization?”
Operations teams need to reimagine their role and find ways to leverage integrity management programs to better understand asset health, build more reliable and resilient networks, diminish environmental impact, and create more equitable investment plans. Rather than having a siloed sustainability program, reliability program, and emissions reduction plan, leading utilities are integrating these and other initiatives together to develop more holistic and impactful integrity management programs.
This integration doesn’t require more people or data than what’s already available . By using off-the-shelf asset risk and investment planning solutions—and improving integration between these systems—utilities can perform advanced analytics with existing data and models.
Building the Framework for Integrity Management of the Future
Working together, Copperleaf® and PwC have helped utilities leverage risk models and an enterprise-wide Value Framework to develop investment plans that meet regulatory requirements, while enabling achievement of enterprise objectives beyond compliance and safety. With a value framework, organizations can:
- Understand how safety risk, reliability risk, and fugitive emissions impact underserved communities
- Align investments with sustainability and net-zero commitments
- Justify replacement programs with a bottom-up approach
By building from existing integrity management programs and looking at these emerging focus areas through a new lens, utilities can create integrity management programs that meet today’s needs while preparing for tomorrow.
Reach out to learn more about how Copperleaf and PwC can help your organization expand your integrity management program beyond pipeline safety.