Indianapolis Power & Light Network Reliability Background

 

In 2011, after a series of underground network events, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (Commission) questioned Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) about its network reliability and maintenance practices. The Commission's questioning resulted in an independent assessment of the utility by a third-party consultant, O'Neill Management Consulting. In July of 2011, the Commission held a public hearing regarding these issues. As a result of this assessment and the Commission's involvement, IPL committed to submitting annual network assessment reports regarding its progress in following the action plan and the directives made by the Commission. IPL submitted the reports on Jan. 25, 2013, for the year ended 2012, on Jan. 31, 2014, for the year ended 2013, and a final report on Jan. 30, 2015, for the year ended 2014.  

In March and August 2014, IPL experienced two additional underground network events. After the Aug. 13, 2014 event, IPL provided its root cause analysis report to the Commission, and the Commission tasked O'Neill Management Consulting with completing an independent review of the utility's root cause analysis.

In November 2014, the Commission held a public meeting with IPL and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) regarding the August 2014 event. In the meeting, the Commission and the OUCC asked a series of questions regarding IPL’s report, O’Neill Management Consulting’s review, and IPL’s proposed action plan. The questions focused on public safety, network reliability, emergency protocols, documentation, and succession planning. At the conclusion of the meeting, IPL agreed to develop a more comprehensive action plan with definitive deadlines and metrics.

In the meeting, the Commission identified key areas IPL needed to address

* Replacement of all 480-volt network protectors

* Developing and implementing a written emergency response plan

* Development of a mitigation strategy that would limit the severity and consequences of the failure of a network transformer or protector

* Addressing the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) telemetry errors that impeded emergency response

* Enhancing the network protector inspection process

* Improving and implementing succession planning for key staff

* Implementing a continuous improvement process within the Asset Management System to provide complete and accurate records of inspections

The Commission then instructed IPL to submit its updated action plan within two weeks of the meeting. IPL submitted its cover letter and action plan to the Commission in December 2014 and a status report in January 2015.

On March 16, 2015, IPL experienced an underground network event on Massachusetts Ave. in downtown Indianapolis. Three days later, on March 19, IPL experienced a series of underground network events that presented a public safety concern due to dislodged manhole covers and widespread power outages. 

In light of IPL's repeated issues with its network and more recent and frequent events, the Commission held an emergency conference on Friday, March 20, 2015 and issued an order opening a formal investigation into IPL's investment in, operation and maintenance of, its network facilities. The Commission subsequently combined the investigation, Cause no. 44576, with IPL's pending rate case, Cause no. 44602.

The Commission retained expert consultants from O'Neill Management Consulting, LLC, who issued its report on June 22, 2015. After an evidentiary hearing, the Commission issued its Final Order concerning its investigation and IPL's rate case on March 16, 2016. The Final Order required IPL to coordinate and participate in a collaborative process to develop holistic performance metrics for IPL and to review its asset management programs.

IPL filed its Annual Report of the collaborative process on March 31, 2017, including its asset management assessment and the performance metrics developed through the process. O'Neill Management Consulting, LLC issued its Final Report to the Commission on the collaborative process on July 26, 2017.

 

Date of Event

Location

Date of Document

Source

Description

 Various, 2005-2011

Various Manholes 

June 30, 2011 

IPL

IPL response to IURC questions for the July 7, 2011 public meeting 

Various, 2005-2011

Various Manholes 

 Dec. 13, 2011

O'Neill 

O'Neill report 

Various, 2005-2011

Various Manholes 

Jan. 19, 2012 

IPL

IPL response to O'Neill report 

Various, 2005-2011

Various Manholes 

Jan. 25, 2013 

 IPL

First annual update report 

Various, 2005-2011

Various Manholes 

Jan. 31, 2014 

IPL

Second annual update report 

Various, 2005-2011

Various Manholes 

Jan. 30, 2015 

IPL 

Third (final) annual update report 

 Jan. 16, 2012

Center substation 

March 22, 2012 

IPL

Root cause analysis 

 Jan. 16, 2012

Center substation 

 April 4, 2012

 IURC

Questions for IPL regarding the root cause analysis (questions are shown in IPL's response)

 Jan. 16, 2012

Center substation 

 May 4, 2012

IPL

Responses to questions from the IURC (IURC questions are listed in the response)

 March 14, 2014

 150 E. Market St.

 July 3, 2014

IPL

Root cause analysis

 Aug. 13, 2014

 26 S. Meridian St.

 Oct. 3, 2014

IPL

Root cause analysis

 Aug. 13, 2014

 26 S. Meridian St.

 Oct. 8, 2014

O'Neill

Independent review

 Aug. 13, 2014

 26 S. Meridian St.

 Oct. 16, 2014

IPL

Questions for IPL regarding the root cause analysis (questions are shown in the IPL response)

Aug. 13, 2014 

 26 S. Meridian St.

 Oct. 29, 2014

IPL

Responses to questions from the IURC (IURC questions are listed in the response)

Aug. 13, 2014 

 26 S. Meridian St.

 Nov. 11, 2014

IPL

Root cause analysis- presentation for public meeting

Aug. 13, 2014 

 26 S. Meridian St.

 Dec. 5, 2014

IPL

Action plan in response to the root cause analysis report recommendations

Aug. 13, 2014 

 26 S. Meridian St.

 Jan. 30, 2015

IPL

First annual status report for the action plan

Nov. 24, 2014 

327 E. New York St .

 Jan. 9, 2015

IPL

Root cause analysis

March 16, 2015 428 Mass Ave. May 6, 2015 IPL Root cause analysis 
March 19, 2015 210 W. North Street June 1, 2015 IPL Root cause analysis