Dealing With Aging of Facilities

Power Distribution Facilities Owned by Kansai Transmission and Distribution

We own and maintain a huge number of power distribution facilities installed throughout the Kansai area, supporting the safe and stable supply of electricity every day.

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Main power system of Kansai Transmission and Distribution
Photo: Steel tower

Number of steel towers
31,489

Photo: Transformers

Number of transformers
2,949

Photo: Electric pole

Number of concrete poles
2,690,000

  • * As of end of March 2019

Relationship Between Power Demand and Power Distribution Facilities in the Kansai Area

Until now, we have built a large number of power distribution facilities in line with the strong growth in electricity demand during the period of high economic growth.
On the other hand, power demand has been leveling off and declining in recent years, due to the spread of power-saving equipment and devices. Construction opportunities for power distribution facilities therefore have decreased, shifting the focus to the maintenance of existing facilities.

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Illustration: Relationship between power demand and power distribution facilities in the Kansai area

Impact of Aging Power Distribution Facilities

As power distribution facilities are subject to the effects of aging, the number of facilities that have deteriorated will increase, and the volume of materials required for maintenance will expand significantly. Amid such concerns, we are carrying out appropriate maintenance and are implementing suitable measures against the effects of aging, in order to continue to deliver safe, stable, and low-cost electricity to all our customers.

Examples of aging

Problems such as shown below are expected to increase in future.

Aging of steel tower
(Rusting of steel tower members)

Photo: Aging of steel tower
Photo: Aging of steel tower

Aging of transformer
(Oil leakage from transformer)

Photo: Oil leakage from transformer

Aging of electric pole
(Concrete peeling)
(Rust on internal rebar)

Photo: Aging of electric pole

Initiatives to Deal With Aging

To counter the effects of aging, we are implementing measures designed to minimize the increase in maintenance costs while maintaining a stable and safe supply.

Utilization of new technology and innovation, and increasing construction capabilities

Distribution of Power Distribution Facilities Aging

In many power distribution facilities, equipment replacement costs are showing an upward trend, due to an increase in the replacement volume of facilities installed during periods of high economic growth, as seen from the viewpoint of aging distribution. In order to maintain the level of service that our customers have a right to expect, and to minimize future outsourcing costs, we will formulate a capital investment plan that covers various aging related measures and ensures the proper timing of renewed construction work.

Steel towers

Photo: Steel tower

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Graph: Number of facilities by year (Steel towers)

Overhead wires

Photo: Overhead wires

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Graph: Number of facilities by year (Overhead wires)

Underground cables

Photo: Underground cables

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Graph: Number of facilities by year (Underground cables)

Transformers

Photo: Transformers

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Graph: Number of facilities by year (Transformers)

Concrete poles

Photo: Concrete pole

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Graph: Number of facilities by year (Concrete poles)

Renovation Plan to Counter Aging

Regarding measures against aging, each year a renovation scheme will be put into practice, consisting of the following action sequence: “P: Establish a plan reflecting current needs and the state of deterioration of equipment,” “D: Verify the deterioration state and execute the actions of the plan,” “C: Perform deterioration analysis to evaluate the appropriateness of the plan,” “A: Update and amend the plan as needed.”

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Illustration: PDCA

Future Policy With Regard to Measures Against Aging (Introduction of Asset Management)

In the context of countermeasures against aging, we will utilize a wide variety of data about facilities, based on sophisticated asset management using IoT, AI, etc. to understand the possibility of equipment failure. In addition, we will evaluate the impact level, quantitatively evaluate equipment risks, and aim to optimize the renewal timing.
Looking towards the future, we will make comprehensive capital investment decisions to maximize the investment effect.

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Illustration: Asset management

Actual Work Volume and Future Outlook for Each Facility Category

Steel towers

Construction of about 170 steel towers is needed every year.
However, taking into account recent results, it is necessary to increase both our construction capabilities and the efficiency of construction in order to respond to the increase in the volume of rebuilds.

Graph: Recent results of aging countermeasures and future outlook (Steel towers)

* Actual work volume results and future outlooks include new construction work.

Overhead wires

Construction of about 160 km of overhead wire is needed every year.
Taking into account recent results, this amount is sufficient to maintain the current level and enable facility renewal to ensure long-term reliability.

Graph: Recent results of aging countermeasures and future outlook (Overhead wires)

* Actual work volume results and future outlooks include new construction work.

Underground cables

Construction of about 110 km of underground cable is needed every year.
Taking into account recent results, this amount is sufficient to maintain the current level and enable facility renewal to ensure long-term reliability.

Graph: Recent results of aging countermeasures and future outlook (Underground cables)

* Actual work volume results and future outlooks include new construction work.

Transformers

Construction of about 75 transformers is needed every year.
Taking into account recent results, this amount is sufficient to maintain the current level and enable facility renewal to ensure long-term reliability.

Graph: Recent results of aging countermeasures and future outlook (Transformers)

* Actual work volume results and future outlooks include new construction work.

Concrete poles

Construction of about 46,000 concrete electric poles is needed every year.
However, taking into account recent results, it is necessary to increase both our construction capabilities and the efficiency of construction in order to respond to the increase in the volume of rebuilds.

Graph: Recent results of aging countermeasures and future outlook (Concrete poles)

* Actual work volume results and future outlooks include new construction work.

Securing Human Resources to Bolster Construction Capabilities

In dealing with the expanding maintenance and renewal requirements of aging facilities, securing sustainable construction capabilities in the future is necessary. As a general power transmission and distribution company, we endeavor to gradually expand our scope for facility renewal as described above while striving to expand our construction capabilities.
To secure sufficient construction capabilities, we are looking at various ways to attract new employees, including by reducing the load on workers through mechanization, by improving the working environment through the adoption of construction plans that take into account holidays and two days off every week, and by using recruitment pamphlets in cooperation with the Kansai Branch of the Transmission Line Construction Engineering Society of Japan.
In our effort to prepare for the continued aging of distribution facilities constructed during the period of high economic growth, we will continue to implement measures such as improving the working environment to facilitate labor and increasing occupational awareness.

Conclusion

There is a concern that aging of a large number of facilities in the future will lead to increased maintenance and repair costs, but we are working on measures to deal with this problem in a systematic and efficient manner while minimizing the increase in costs.