Finnish utility trials asset investment planning software

Finnish multi-utility, Alva, is the first in Scandinavia to trial Ovarro's PIONEER asset investment planning (AIP) software. The six-month trial, which started in May, focuses on Alva's water distribution network, but will also assess the potential benefits of optimal investment planning right across its asset base. 

Alva serves the city of Jyväskylä in central Finland and its surrounding area and generates and distributes electricity and produces, sells and distributes heat and water in the networks they own. 

PIONEER is a web-based decision support platform that can optimise asset management planning and operational strategies. 

Kimmo Järvinen, head of Alva’s asset management programme, said: “As a frontrunner in utility asset management in Nordic countries, Alva is excited by this proof of concept. The aim of the trial is to assess our readiness in terms of data; we also have an important requirement for the tool to improve Alva’s long-term, risk-based investment planning.”

George Heywood, technical director, Ovarro, added: “We are very excited to be working with a visionary utility like Alva that can see the potential of our platform across water and non-water assets. PIONEER has the potential to help the company carry out renewals across the asset base, supporting the coordination of programmes of works in power and water together, to minimise the total number of excavations.

“Alva is also our first customer to benefit from the recently developed PIONEER Express interface, which makes it easier for non-specialists to use PIONEER’s powerful planning capability. We are currently rolling it out to our existing clients too.”

The simplified functionality of the Express interface was developed at Ovarro’s data analytics centre in Reigate, UK, over the last 12 months. It is designed to be used by operatives with varying levels of technical expertise, speeding up decision-making on investment plans.

Alva’s bespoke PIONEER software environment has been deployed via Microsoft’s Azure cloud service in a very short period of time, to meet the customer’s ambitious schedule and programme of works. It can be used for all utility network asset types including potable water and heat distribution mains, sewers and electrical cabling, as well as point assets such as pumping stations, treatment works and transformers.

Heywood said, “Given the timing, this project has not been without challenges. Our plans to travel to Finland were disrupted by Covid-19 and training had to be provided remotely via Teams. We will continue to provide close support throughout the trial.”

PIONEER has been in use in the UK for over 10 years,with six water companies making use of the platform, including United Utilities, Southern Water and Northern Ireland Water.