Webinar: The Power of Data Analytics in Electric Utilities

An Industry Perspective with a Focus on Asset Management, by Dr. Siri Varadan

Organised by the IEEE PES SBC at The University of Manchester

IEEE PES Distinguished Lecture Program (DLP) titled “The Power of Data Analytics in Electric Utilities: An Industry Perspective with a Focus on Asset Management” was delivered by Dr. Siri Varadan on Thursday 19th May 2022 online (Zoom). The University of Manchester IEEE PES SBC effectively organised and hosted this event. A total of 92 people subscribed to the event and over 35 attendees participated in the talk.

Figure 1. Event Flyer

Dr. Siri Varadan is the global director of Product Management for a portfolio of software products related to asset management at Hitachi ABB Power Grids (HAPG). Some of these products include APM (Asset Performance Management), Asset Investment Planning (AIP) and Data Analytics Solutions for outage management and work management. Based on this, the talk brought his extensive practical experience in asset management projects to the students and early career researchers.

Figure 2. Dr. Siri Varadan opening the talk

Dr. Siri Varadan started his talk by raising the phenomenon that one of the hottest jobs today is data analytics. Hence, understanding data is highly required in today’s industry, and data visualisation enables clearer information transfer and more effective management. He emphasised that data will make sense when it is reorganised into text in visual ways such as colors, bubbles, different font sizes, etc. 

Figure 3. Dr. Siri Varadan illustrating the power of data visulisation

Then, from an electric utility perspective, Dr. Siri Varadan explained how to use data in asset management, which is the holistic practice of optimising investments in alignment with the principle called line of sight. When it comes to asset management for utilities, the primary goal is to ensure that customers are provided with uninterrupted power at the lowest possible cost. Moreover, questions such as “What is the definition of health for that particular asset?” and  “How important is that particular asset?” are important, which can help asset managers to make discretionary actions. Dr. Siri Varadan highlighted again that all of these questions are supported by data, and asset managers should be aware of what what data should be obtained. Then, he gave an example on transformers to describ relevant data on management, as shown in Figure 5. More case studies can be found in the full recording posted on our Youtube channel.

Figure 4. Dr. Siri Varadan explaining data used in asset management
Figure 5. Dr. Siri Varadan giving transformer as an example for data analytics

In summary, Dr. Siri Varadan provided a high-level understanding of the role of data in an electric utility, and demonstrated several real-life cases. Following the presentation, Dr. Siri Varadan answered questions touching on asset management, reliability metrics, etc.

Figure 4. Dr. Siri Varadan summarising his presentation

The University of Manchester IEEE PES SBC organising committee would like to express sincere gratitude to Dr. Siri Varadan for this extraordinary talk. For more information, including the biography of Dr. Siri Varadan and the abstract of this talk, please visit the Manchester PES SBC website (http://www.ieee-manchester.org.uk/)

Please visit the Manchester PES SBC YouTube Channel for the full recording.

Wenzhu Li
Vice-Chair, IEEE PES SBC at The University of Manchester

Shuai Wang
Website coordinator, IEEE PES SBC at The University of Manchester

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our chair:

Chair: Omoniyi Akinpelumi
Email: omoniyi.akinpelumi@manchester.ac.uk