Data integrity in the power and utilities industry
Why is data integrity an issue?
Many companies in the power and utilities industry are exposed the risk of poor data integrity in records related to high-pressure or high-voltage systems that were built several decades ago. If there is a lack of accurate historical records, companies will face larger penalties and legal exposure if an accident should occur.
Many companies in the power and utilities industry run the risk of poor data integrity in records related to high-pressure or high-voltage systems that were built several decades ago. This risk stems from various scenarios:
- The original asset was not documented properly.
Something as simple as adding or replacing a piece of pipe on an existing line can involve installing steel of varying qualities and thicknesses, which may change the maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) for that portion of the segment. If the weld is not documented, the gas company won’t know where the segment with the lower MAOP is located.
- A records management process must have the appropriate governance and control strategy in place.
Ongoing process issues, current and historical, may have introduced errors in the data that need to be addressed. Proper governance over controls is critical to effective records management.
- Historic maintenance and inspection records are incomplete.
A utility may have data management systems in place to ensure that its current information is up to date, but this does not address any inaccuracies or gaps that may exist in its historical information. In some cases, simply locating the records can be challenging. The quality and completeness of legacy data is a major risk.
If there is a lack of accurate historical records, companies will face larger penalties and legal exposure if an accident should occur.
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