The Digitized Gas Riser Inspection –

Customer

It is a leading public utility company providing gas and electricity for 24.2 million customers in Southern California. It is the largest utility Company in the United States, serving more than 6 million customers within 20 miles of the coastline.

Problems to be Solved

In 2014, Company sought to prevent a repeat of the San Bruno accident near SFO. Multiple homes caught fire due to a gas leak, eight people died, the properties got destroyed, and 499 victims received $565 million as part of a financial settlement. The state, federal, and California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) also imposed a fine of more than $4 billion on those responsible. The CPUC’s post-incident report determined that the incident’s root cause was higher salt and moisture content in the air, which accelerated the corrosion and rusting of riser gas pipes. Risers connect the main gas service point from the street to the home street, and they have a 10% higher chance of failing when they are near the coast, resulting in gas leaks and fire. The CPUC has mandated that 6 million homes within 20 miles of the coast be inspected for gas leaks and potential fire hazards, allocating millions to cover the inspection/repair expenses over ten years. Regulatory compliance needs the deployment of contracting company staff with limited skills in the area of riser inspection. The higher attrition rate of contractors significantly reduces the quality of inspections and remediation. The limited funds and compressed timeline to complete the checks require planning/scheduling tools. Additionally, a highly user-friendly and workflow-driven mobile app to improve data capture quality and minimize follow-up action needs to minimize non-compliance audits. The CPUC in their post-incident report determined the root cause to be higher salt & moisture content in the air which was accelerating the corrosion and rusting of Riser gas pipes. A riser connects the main gas service point from the street to the home street and has a 10% higher chance of failing when near the coast, resulting in gas leaks and fire. The CPUC has issued a mandate that 6 million homes located within 20 miles of the coast must be inspected for gas leaks and potential fire hazards, and allocating $300 million to cover the expenses over a span of 10 years.
The regulatory compliance needs deployment of contracting company staff with a limited skills in the area riser inspection and also higher attrition rate of contracting staff significantly reduces quality of inspections and remediation, the contracting staff on-boarding is also one of the key challenges without impacting corporate computer network security guidelines. The funds and timeline to complete inspections requires planning, scheduling, need to be well orchestrated, and data capture quality and follow up action need to be workflow driven to minimize non compliance audit.

Solution

Business Outcomes

Within 12 months, Ariya successfully deployed the application; this reduced contractor onboarding training time from 2 Weeks to 4 Hours. Phase two saw positive end-user feedback and application stability, which obtained the necessary approval from the cyber security team for cloud-based data exchange between backend ERP and tablets. The data capture and repairs met regulatory requirements.
The customer and end-user were happy with the simplicity, stability, ease of use, and low cost (1 million, 1/10th the cost of similar complexity solutions implemented at a public utility company). The near real-time work order status improved management decision-making from 1 week to the same day. Without the need to shuffle paperwork, and constant talk with dispatchers through automated workflow, context-rich visualization resulted in doubling the productivity of field crew and inspectors and eliminating administrative staff to process paper-based data.
Till today the crew has completed an inspection of about 3 million homes and 100K repairs to prevent gas leaks. The success of the Riser inspection solution resulted in leading the implementation of the inspection of high-pressure gas meter sets spanning around 24K square miles in 2016. Eight more cloud-based mobile solutions cost $4.2 million to support the service request of 2.4 million electric customers and the inspection of gas storage locations distributing gas to around 21.8 million customers.

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