Embrace Digital Prospects
Kevin C. Fitzgerald is Chief Utility Officer of Energy Impact Partners, or EIP.
Since the early 1900s, the gas industry has prudently maintained the safety and resilience of the pipelines that serve our communities. Though safety remains a top priority for the industry, a confluence of unprecedented challenges has recently emerged.
New patterns of extreme weather and rapid urbanization combined with aging infrastructure and an aging workforce have created operating challenges unlike any other faced by the industry — and we're seeing those challenges manifest in more incidents that impact the safety and health of our communities.
Despite these challenges, new digital technologies are emerging that can make our infrastructure safer and more resilient. Deploying these technologies will require close collaboration between utility operations leaders, regulators, and entrepreneurs.
Incidents on the Rise
To see the physical and financial impact of aging infrastructure and an increasingly complex operating environment, one need only look to the news. Data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration shows that seven hundred gas distribution-related incidents have killed over two hundred and fifty people in the past twenty years.