Incident Management Software Drive Cost Reductions at Utilities

By Alex MacLachlan June 8, 2015 compliance, incident-response, industry-specialization

With the unique ability to categorize different energy diversion types and perform theft analytics, D3 Security’s Incident Reporting and Case Management products give utilities and their security teams an incisive view at the root cause of energy diversion losses.

Theft Analytics Drive Energy Diversion Reduction for Utilities

Reducing the impact of energy diversion is a major challenge to all utilities. That’s because relying on inefficient processes to track the industry’s $6 billion in annual energy theft losses is inherently difficult. But as a trusted provider to the utilities industry. D3 Security has helped North America’s largest and most complex energy companies to establish reliable and incisive metrics that reveal root causes and trends that ultimately drive energy theft. In this blog post, learn why D3’s Incident Reporting and Investigation/Case Management solutions track different theft incidents and perform advanced theft analytics—and how leading utilities have used them to reduce the financial and safety impacts of energy diversion.

The costs to utilities of energy diversion are widespread and pervasive: security systems costs rise; safety hazards threaten employees and citizens alike, and infrastructure must be protected, often around-the-clock. Plus, with some types of energy diversion, particularly marijuana growing operations, the health, safety and legal costs compound the existing financial misery. In some regions, these marijuana “grow ops” account for up to 90% of all energy diversion; industrial theft and residential meter tampering round out the mix. With all types combined, energy becomes the third most stolen commodity in America, behind only traditional front-runners vehicles and credit cards. Clearly, in order to create informed policy and effective countermeasures, utilities’ security teams must figure out which types of energy theft affect their operations most, and where these thefts are occurring.

And that’s exactly what successful security teams at leading utilities are doing. Used in conjunction with the smart grid and public awareness campaigns, utilities’ security management best practices routinely include D3’s Incident Response and Investigation/Case Management solutions. With unlimited configurable fields, powerful scaling and incident trending, D3’s security management product suite gives utilities the reporting and workflow flexibility they need to create detailed reports and perform root cause analyses, while also automatically filling OSHA and NERC forms, when required.

Below, we review how D3’s Incident Reporting and Investigation/Case Management modules categorize different types of theft, and track energy theft by region. By understanding how different types of theft impact them—and where they occur—utilities are in a far stronger position when it comes to defining integrated countermeasures and creating informed policy.

Incident Management for Utilities: Determining Theft by Region

In an industry as regulated, competitive and environmentally complex as energy production, the expectation is no longer to simply measure and track preventable or serious incidents. It’s about identifying real problems and determining how to mitigate them. Naturally, part of this evolution includes recognizing that some problems, such as energy theft in its many forms, do not entail the same methods, sophistication, frequency and losses in one region when compared to the next.

To this effect, D3’s Incident Management for utilities comprises many customized fields and subcategories. Included in these subcategories is the capability for a longitude-latitude field, which can be populated using pre-defined geographic rules or simply adding an address. Using this data, utilities can then create real-time incident maps and discern trends and patterns that reveal where certain categories of energy theft—such as diversion to marijuana grow ops—are most prevalent. Security teams can then deploy investigators and other dedicated resources. The same could be said in reverse; if an area does not suffer unduly from the scourge of marijuana cultivation, resources can be shifted to an area that would benefit more from their presence.

The successful initiatives of many clients have shown that ‘regionalizing’ power theft data supports improved personnel management, strategic communications and stronger integrated partnerships, such as working with law enforcement or across multiple departments. D3’s Incident Response and Case Management for utilities are unique in offering this functionality. Accordingly, utilities are rapidly incorporating the system as a core piece of their security operations.

Case Management for Utilities: Categorizing Theft Types

Giving employees and investigators the ability to make and add to reports with the greatest detail possible will always lead to more actionable and statistically valuable data creation. This is particularly true when considering different theft types, as the sheer size and scope of a utility will bring it in contact with numerous categories of theft, each with different impacts and possible countermeasures. That’s exactly why utilities have been using D3’s configurable Incident Response and Investigation/Case Management system for the better part of a decade. Championed by the industry for its limitless customization; utilities can create reporting forms with an unlimited number of theft incidents, allowing utilities to drill down on exactly what types of theft are occurring.

Better resource allocation is the central benefit of determining theft by region. But a major—and often overlooked—aspect is the ability to tailor communications campaigns more effectively. A client may discover that one region suffers from copper theft, more so than from marijuana-related losses. Accordingly, communications and public awareness campaigns can be created for regions where they have the most impact, saving communications budget, while extracting value from these efforts where they are needed most.

What’s the Outlook?

D3’s Incident Reporting and Investigation/Case Management software have allowed utilities to assess power theft by region. By using configurable fields to describe an incident, and record its geographic location, utility investigators and policy makers are better equipped to understand the issues affecting their utility. Similarly, having the ability to discern diversion to marijuana grow ops from other types of power theft—and vice-versa—creates a set of raw data that can be explored to produce insightful trending and incisive root cause analysis. But the fact remains that leading utilities are just that: leading. That is, nobody is an outright winner. There is room for improvement at nearly all utilities across North America, because D3’s systems can improve the existing inefficient processes and imperfect systems that continue to threaten citizen safety, consumer confidence and the integrity of the grid.

To see D3’s Incident Management Software in action, click on the button below to schedule your one-on-one demo.

Alex MacLachlan

Alex MacLachlan

Alex is the Director of Marketing at D3. He oversees D3's marketing, communications, and digital programs. He enjoys fishing, "checking the analytics", playing golf and watching hockey - in that order.


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