Effective asset management at Severn Power Station

The danger with a long-term operation and maintenance contract is that you rest on your laurels says the Siemens station manager at Severn Power, Sean Grundy. “You need to run the asset like you’re one family but always remember that they’re the client. The challenge is not to get too comfortable.”

Taking the long view

Soon after joining the Siemens team at Severn Power, station manager Sean Grundy asked plant owner Calon Energy a simple question: what do you want to get from your asset?

Siemens built and handed over Severn Power to Dong Energy in 2010, at the same time signing a 16-year service agreement to operate and maintain the combined cycle station. Three years later the station was acquired by Calon Energy and since then the O&M contract has been renegotiated.

 

“It was a testing time for us and there was a lot of reflection,” admits Sean. “With long-term contracts the challenge is not to get too comfortable. You’ve got to continue showing the customer they’re getting value for money, because they always have other options.”

A big focus for Sean’s team over the last year has been asset management. “We have to think long term. The station is ageing and failure rates will increase. We have to be ready for that.” Ian King, asset manager at Calon Energy, is in full agreement. “We cannot focus solely on keeping the units running day-to-day. We need to extend our horizon.”

A greater emphasis on what might happen 10 or 20 years hence has meant a closer scrutiny of risk. The joint asset management team sits down every month to discuss the highest risks at Severn and agree mitigating actions.

Ian says it’s helping Calon to better plan and budget. “We don’t get hit with expensive surprises. Rather than focus on individual pockets of work dotted around site, we look at the interconnectedness of it all. The work we discuss is part of a bigger picture. We understand the risks and the options we have.”

He explains that Siemens has always been good at putting forward improvement proposals, but often independently and without a risk perspective. “It’s a joint discussion now between Calon and Siemens. We look together at an engineering improvement project – whether the focus is health and safety, the environment, availability or flexibility – and decide if there’s mileage in taking it forward.

“Siemens has a much better understanding of what matters to me and is much more customer focused. Our first priority is what’s good for the station,” says Ian. “Now, collectively, we’re Severn Power. It’s a much more collaborative way of working which is very welcome.”