How Asset Management Programs Benefit Utilities

Utilities have recently experienced increased capital, operation, and maintenance costs. The cause in many cases can be attributed to aging infrastructure that was built in the last century. In addition, heightened regulatory requirements associated with the implementation of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act increased the cost of compliance while the upcoming Lead and Copper Rule Revisions will likely impact several facets of a utility’s bottom line.

Asset management allows a city or water or wastewater system to retain the benefits and service levels of existing infrastructure and equipment assets through repair, rehabilitation, or replacement on a preventive basis. “Asset management is the process of maintaining and updating infrastructure proactively as opposed to waiting to make investments until something fails,” says Trevor Datwyler, Utility Planning Practice Leader.

Smart asset management comes down to three things – operational efficiency, responsible spending, and sustainability. “Doing the right maintenance and making the right investments, at the right time, and for the right reasons can help significantly extend the life of infrastructure and utilities, as well as prevent maintenance emergencies,” explains Jacob Strombeck, AE2S Nexus Practice Leader. “Reducing utility operational expenditures and resource usage can help minimize the need for utility rate increases. Replacement projects can be more costly than rehabilitation projects, while reactive repairs are almost always significantly more expensive than preventative maintenance. Utilities should try to get the most use, for the longest time, out of existing infrastructure.”

In addition, standardization of a utility’s institutional knowledge and efficient transfer of operation data to the next generation will also help systems last longer. A proper asset management program considers three core areas of your organization: the staff, business processes, and the technology utilized.

“Having an effective asset management program in place is much like planning for retirement. Without it, the future can be daunting when considering the inevitable expenses of replacing aging infrastructure,” says Datwyler. “An effective asset management program gives utility managers peace of mind and protects the future for the communities we serve.”

For additional information about asset management, contact