Five ways in which AI can empower power utilities


The AI boom is well and truly underway and it could hold the key to unlocking a better future for several core industries. In a world that is getting more and more data-driven, artificial intelligence (AI) will be an important tool that will allow utility companies to make sense of the data flood. According to Seagate, worldwide data will grow 61% to 175 zettabytes by 2025. These are numbers that the human mind is not capable of processing at the same speed as AI.

Power utilities have long been dependent on archaic, traditional systems with minimal technological intervention. When it comes to asset operations and maintenance (O&M), the sheer numbers can be staggering. Utility companies usually have hundreds of geographically distributed assets spread across thousands of miles and the data required to keep these assets operational in humongous. Hence, the decision to utilize AI to empower the utility industry is a no-brainer!

Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which AI can change the landscape for the better:

1. Complete, real-time visibility of assets

The biggest challenge for core industries with distributed assets is being able to seamlessly track and manage operations and maintenance activities. While there’s always an impending risk of downtime and affecting system reliability, aging assets also need inspection and maintenance on a regular basis. It’s important to identify asset management challenges that keep vehicles and equipment out of service. Unscheduled downtime for repairs also needs to be addressed. 

As a matter of fact, there’s little visibility and a lack of organizational alignment in terms of the asset O&M approach. Technology can solve this problem. A deep neural network (DNN) system can bring all assets together in one place via a dashboard and a mobile application where the organization can get detailed real-time information of all its asset units. With this information, industries can develop, maintain, revise and optimize their plans and schedules, maintenance and operations easily. 

2. Early warning with predictive analytics

The superior computation power of AI will make sure that historic and current data is utilized to avoid mishaps caused by unpredicted weather changes and geographic activity. Crunching data manually to make predictions for bad weather is a time-consuming task that also lacks accuracy in many cases due to high chances for manual error. An AI system ensures near accurate predictive analytics. Any unforeseen geographic activity can be quickly picked up and notified to the respective teams for rapid action.

3. Smart recommendations

It’s not just the weather disasters that AI can help prepare you for. Since the system is continuously collecting and analyzing data, it also has the capability to provide smart suggestions. For example, a hazard tree that is close to a distribution line is not really a risk right now but has the potential to become a threat before the next trim cycle. AI can pinpoint this tree and suggest an ad-hoc trimming operation to ensure that the threat is avoided.

4. Automated task management

Task management usually takes up a lot of management’s time and effort. An AI system can significantly improve this process by automatically assigning tasks based on key parameters such as resource ranking, task urgency, distance, estimated time of completion, etc. This takes a major burden off the management and saves the company time and money. It also ensures that there is minimal delay in task deployment and no scope for manual error.

5. Reduced costs on manual labor

This is probably one of the biggest benefits that power utilities can gain from the switch to AI. Currently, vegetation management is one of the single largest line items in annual budgets for power utilities, often exceeding $100 million in larger utilities. A lot of this budget is invested in manual field teams who work in a less than optimized manner. AI ensures that all operations are optimized and made cost-effective, thus ensuring that the overall budget for manual labor for vegetation management is reduced significantly.

These are some of the major benefits that power utilities can expect once they make the move to an AI-powered system. In an age where businesses are striving to make the best use of cutting-edge technologies, AI represents one of the best moves towards modernity for core industries like power utilities.

AiDash is an AI-First vertical SaaS company enabling intelligent vegetation management for power utilities. Our DNN model, Intelligent Vegetation Management System (IVMS), uses high-resolution multispectral satellite images combined with on-ground reports to provide increased visibility on the overgrowth of vegetation around transmission and distribution grids.

Our web and mobile applications enable industries to plan and prioritize the completion and audit of O&M activities effectively. We are in the perfect position to be your trusted partner as you begin your journey towards AI transformation.