Planning Through the Pandemic…While Still Delivering Essential Services!

August 4, 2020 Nica Lourens

Amidst the global pandemic, utilities continue to focus on providing safe and reliable services to customers while trying to navigate their way through uncertainty in a rapidly changing environment.

In a recent webinar, James Burberry, Copperleaf Director of Customer Experience for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), was joined by Jan Patrick Linossier, Head of Strategy at Rheinische NETZGesellschaft (RNG), a major power and gas utility in Germany, to discuss how utilities are adapting to the crisis and planning for a post-pandemic world.

Jan explained how communication between RNG and its 13 asset owners and 25 networks has changed dramatically from regular in-person meetings to virtual platforms, which has been challenging. As utilities adapt to the ‘new normal’ of everyday business, they are also attempting to understand the impacts on their operations and planned projects. System impacts include changes to load—for example, industrial areas may be experiencing a lower demand while households are experiencing an increase. Similarly, financial impacts, such as end-user cash flows, must also be considered. These uncertainties exacerbate the challenges utilities face and underline the need to adapt, refresh their models and assumptions, and replan on the fly. 

A fast-changing world won’t wait for you to make decisions, so you have no choice but to make them using the data that’s available.

JAMES BURBERRY

Director of Customer Experience, EMEA, Copperleaf

Referring to RNG’s asset management plans for the current year, Jan explained that one third of projects are either on hold or delayed, and constant replanning is a challenge. “As a strategic asset manager, I need to be able to replan frequently in a proactive way. This requires flexibility and the ability to explore different asset investment strategies quickly so that we have a variety of alternatives ready for execution,” said Jan. “Our asset services also need to adapt to constant replanning of capacity, to correspond with the aims and objectives of ISO 55000 asset management practices in an open and transparent way.”

Identifying Opportunity During Crisis

From a leadership perspective, utilities need to move beyond the initial reaction and stabilization phase to identify opportunities for improvement. James explained that the current climate could be the ideal time to embrace change and establish new ways of working. Leaders can rise to this challenge by creating visibility, agility, and transparency in their organizations, and embed data-driven decision-making to adapt and plan for recovery.

“One of the things I often hear during conversations with prospective clients of Copperleaf is a concern that their data is not ready for a powerful system like C55, and I always advise them to get started with the data they have,” explained James. “I think this is truer now than it has ever been. A fast-changing world won’t wait for you to make decisions, so you have no choice but to make them using the data that’s available. Being able to do this transparently, in a way that shines a light on the higher- and lower-quality segments of your data, can help organizations understand what information is most important to address to drive high-quality decisions.”

Rapid Scenario Planning

Rapid Scenario Planning is Copperleaf’s solution to help organizations improve planning agility during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. It enables utilities to model the impact of varying business constraints and rapidly create what-if scenarios to evaluate different strategies, understand their risk exposure, and build realistic and actionable plans in the face of shifting financial and resource constraints.

If you would like to learn more about the Rapid Scenario Planning solution, watch the full webinar below or download our brochure to learn more.

About the Author

Nica Lourens

Nica is the Marketing Manager, EMEA for Copperleaf. With over 8 years of marketing experience in the advanced automation software industry, she is highly skilled in creating synergies between Sales and Marketing to leverage brand awareness and grow the sales pipeline. Nica holds a bachelor's degree in Chartered Marketing Management from North-West University and an Honours Degree in Business Management from the Univeristy of South Africa.

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