It is an age-old story playing out at utilities the world over: As asset populations grow and age, the resources required to tend to troubled assets have struggled to keep pace. A review of asset-age profiles by American Electric Power (AEP) revealed that 33% of its power transformers are at least 50 years old and approximately 18% are 60 years old or more.
Failure performance for transformers follows the typical bathtub curve. As this population marches onward toward the end of life and the (expected) steep rise in failure rate, an increasing share of these assets can be expected to either fail or demand great expense to extend their lives. This underscores the operational challenges presented by today's aging transmission infrastructure. In AEP's case, these challenges have catalyzed a new way of managing the health of vital assets across the utility's transmission business.
T&D World's February issue reports that AEP first outlined industry benefits of what it termed the “asset health center” concept in 2007. Fast-forward to 2013 and AEP is now implementing this asset health center solution — the first of its kind — across its entire transmission network.