Salt River Project increases efficiency and stability with Cascade
Arizona’s Salt River Project (SRP) electric and water utility company uses Cascade utility asset management software and its tools to build the resource plan, enabling the company to improve critical strategy decisions.
In the approximately 15 years since SRP started using Cascade, the benefits have been clear – in both efficiency and workforce stability.
Before the implementation of Cascade, SRP had some key challenges. “We had to get better at our resource planning efforts,” says Kelly Miller, former Supervisor of Substation Support Services at SRP. “We had to start building budgets from the bottom up. Prior to Cascade we used to count the number of people that we had, we would take that, times an hourly rate, and make sure we had enough money to pay them for the year. Now we can use the standard hours in Cascade’s Forecasting tool. We can forecast the amount of work for the next six to ten years. Then we can build our budgets based on that,” she says.
More efficient with Cascade
With Cascade, they can do things that weren’t previously possible. “We’ve become more efficient and we’ve never had layoffs. We’ve been able to keep our workforce stable. It’s been great,” says Miller.
She calls herself “a total proponent” of the Forecasting tool of Cascade. SRP builds the resource plan with the Forecasting tool. “We use it to show upper management the amount of work that we have in the upcoming years,” she says, noting that the workforce in the company is in transition between sites – several coal plants with 300 employees in total are being shut down by the end of 2020. “We can take these employees that are displaced and bring them down to the valley and give them jobs,” says Miller.
Scope of use
SRP uses Cascade for maintenance, work orders and asset tracking of substations and is also starting to integrate the data with operations data. The IT department recently started integrating Cascade, combining the data with other information sources, such as SAP and human resources data.
Cascade supports substation design, and the construction and maintenance functions of the company. The company uses Cascade to track assets and equipment maintenance history, as well as the maintenance history of substations and relaying control. SRP uses Cascade to record all corrective maintenance that is done in the field.
The most significant change after starting to use Cascade is the ability to perform data analysis and trending – supporting upper management in key strategies.
Cascade enables discovery of vacuum breaker problem
One example of Cascade giving the business insights that drive efficiencies, involves faulty vacuum breakers. “We were able to discover a problem with some of our 12 KV vacuum breakers because of the way that you can do the failure and cause codes in Cascade in the corrective analysis,” says Miller. This allowed SRP to discover and pinpoint exactly what type of vacuum breakers were having the specific problems with sticking mechanisms.
“As a result,” she says, “we targeted a certain manufacture and model of a breaker. We went and replaced these mechanisms.” The analysis also showed that a particular lubricant needed to be replaced, which was done. “We wouldn’t have been able to do that before, with our paper filing system,” says Miller. “Cascade has helped us with that.”
“For sure, Cascade has helped us save costs and be more efficient,” she says. Just in this one specific example the company saves approximately ten work orders in a month. Previously, they would send a first responder out to lubricate it and operate the sticky mechanisms. “The efficiency savings is right there,” she says.
Field personnel appreciates ease of use
Miller describes the implementation process of Cascade. Field personnel would record data on paper and then scan the reports into the system. “We showed them how easy Cascade was, and how it was making their job more efficient. Instead of capturing the results and putting them in the paper, and going to the office and scanning them in, it was just all completed in one swoop shot with the Field application of Cascade,” she says.
Miller praises the level of support received from the Cascade team at DNV. “They’re one phone call away,” she says. “Every time we call them, they answer, they have a great response. They listen. They know our data and our business process. They have the knowledge and the ability to make recommendations to us. They can put us in touch with other utilities that might be facing something similar or might have experienced challenges. They’ve been all around great,” she says.
“They’re willing to come onsite. They’re willing to do webinars. They’re willing to help in any way that they can,” she says. “Cascade is what it is because of the people.”
SALT RIVER PROJECT IN BRIEF:
Salt River Project (SRP), one of Arizona’s largest utilities, has helped shape the West since its founding in 1903, with a history of service to the residents of Arizona. SRP is one of the primary public utility companies in Arizona. SRP is comprised of two separate entities: the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, an Arizona state agency that serves as an electrical utility for the Phoenix metropolitan area, and the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association, a utility cooperative that serves as the primary water provider for much of central Arizona. SRP has provided reliable and affordable water and power to central Arizona for more than a century, helping the Phoenix metropolitan area to develop and thrive. SRP applies a forward-thinking approach and new technology to address water and energy supply challenges.
- Customer name: Salt River Project
- Website: www.srpnet.com
- Market: Water and pover utility
- Product: Cascade
Why we chose DNV - Digital Solutions:
- Cascade team at DNV knows our data and our business
- Cascade is a leading solution
This is what we gained:
- More efficient and better resource planning
- Tracking of assets and maintenance history
- Ability to get crucial aspects like naming and hierarchy in system correct from beginning
- Support is prompt and support team has in-depth knowledge