Mutual Energy achieve Global Standard for Asset Management through ISO 55001 certification

Mutual Energy has been recognised for effective asset management of critical infrastructure by achieving ISO 55001 certification.
A £3m purchase of a high-value spare was avoided following the presentation of a robust defence
Valuable cooperation is evident between commercial and electricity operation to maximize commercial benefit
All was achieved within realistic timescales; getting it right for the long term while demonstrating practical ‘quick wins’
Contract objectives

MUTUAL ENERGY (ME) owns and operates the Moyle Interconnector (electricity) and SNIP (gas), as well as Belfast Gas Transmission and Gas to the West. 100% of Northern Irelands’ natural gas supplied through Premier Transmissions assets (15.1TWH).

The Mutual Energy business model focuses on returning value to NI energy customers. The intention, purchase and operation of strategic, high-value assets are managed by a small core team, while supporting major industry partners (Siemens, Nexans & SGN).

ME has a small, growing workforce, with lots of ‘expert knowledge’; Gas business – distributed asset base with cohorts, Electricity business – one very complex asset, with a wide range of documentation, that needs to align with partners. They needed to grow in-house capability and deliver improvements. They employed the consultative services of The Woodhouse Partnership to assist with an improvement program and to provide support. ME recognized the ISO 55001 standard which would provide the level of assurance required, however, their strategy was not just about ‘getting the badge’ so used GFMAM landscape for wider AM maturity assessment.

There were three main objectives to the initial delivery;

  • A training program was developed for ME. For the executive team, the objective was to learn what an Asset Management solution looked like, why it was necessary for ME and the benefits. For the core team, a structure of more in-depth material on principles of Asset Management and practicalities of application, followed by general training for Asset Management awareness, understanding the relevance and importance in preparation for the review.
  • The team undertook a comprehensive Gap Analysis; this involved separate reviews for Gas and Electricity, comparison of maturity, identification of recommendations and an expectation of a combined solution going forward. In addition, Asset Management Landscape 39 clause gap analysis, looking for practical advice beyond ISO55001 management system requirements was carried out to attain more insight into opportunities aligned to specifics of maintenance, work delivery etc.
  • An Improvement Plan/Roadmap was created: a workshop and improvement plan, including the scope of work and indicative benefits, support for improvement programme, and calling off as required by ME for additional support for plan implementation including specific assistance were identified and agreed.
    The objectives were followed by proposals for the training of staff to be agreed including certification training and auditor training
Activity Description

We carried out a Gap Analysis of both the gas and electricity businesses, and set about providing additional support services including the development of an improvement programme and training.  ME has long term contracts in place with principal contractors, who provide maintenance services to the existing (Moyle) electricity interconnector and gas pipeline assets.  The two contractors (Siemens and SGN respectively) participated in the initiative alongside MEL staff.

In addition to the ISO55001 gap analysis, a gap analysis was undertaken against the relevant subjects of the GFMAM landscape (’39 subjects’) and the findings were used to develop an improvement plan that included both putting in place the missing management system elements of ISO 55001, and targeting opportunities identified from an ‘asset management excellence’ model based on the IAM’s maturity guidelines.

The recommended solution built on the existing strengths of the gas business (which had in place a thorough but conventional integrity focused management system) and the electricity business which had more advanced long-term strategic planning thinking in place, including a draft SAMP.

Opportunities were identified to improve efficiency, by putting in place better processes, and for improving asset knowledge capture. The proposals allowed for ME to move forward as a knowledgeable asset owner, and to take greater ownership of long-term strategy and risk management through a clear ‘line of sight’ planning approach.  Proposals were scoped (including costs and benefits) and presented as a paper which was approved by the organisation’s executive Risk Committee.

Ongoing support from Woodhouse has included providing training to ME staff and facilitation of targeted workshops to identify and manage significant risks.

The scope of services has been flexible to fit with the needs and priorities of the client on a call-off basis.  As additional services, we have so far facilitated an asset health review of the Moyle Interconnector, supporting the development of long-term strategies and plans, and improving risk management.

We have also facilitated a review of strategic spare transformer requirements using Woodhouse DST decision support tools and provided technical guidance and advice in the preparation of asset management core documentation, including the SAMP and management system.

The Woodhouse Academy provided scheduled training and education to enable some staff to qualify to IAM Certificate’ level, and to support internal auditing of asset management.

In addition, we supported;

  • Process and SAMP development – these are at the heart of the current initiative at MEL.  Woodhouse has significant experience in supporting clients in this area and we led the production of IAM guidance on these topics.
  • Organisational roles and responsibilities – this was an area covered in our initial gap analysis and needed to be reviewed taking into account particularly the expansion of the gas business and the need to develop the long term asset management strategy.
  • Communication and awareness improvement – the contract included training and communication for asset management.
  • AM Risk framework – the work has included the identification of asset related risk and building a systematic risk management approach.
  • Assurance – the contract included enabling the organisation to carry out internal auditing.  Woodhouse has provided training to many organisations for this purpose, including the BSI.
  • Asset information – this has not been a major part of the work to date, though it was reviewed and included in our initial gap analysis and used to define the requirements for the new Enterprise Asset Management System (EAMS).
  • AM Plan execution – this is delivered at ME via service agreements.  It is intended to review the process management in this area, in an effort to identify any potential process improvements.
Project Outcomes

Mutual Energy successfully implemented a Gap analysis and action plan which was developed for putting in place an asset management system across both electrical and gas assets. Improvement proposals identified in ‘value proposition’ paper were presented at an executive level and agreed upon, which culminated in a principal benefit of business alignment and efficiency to operate a significantly expanded business, with minimal increase to resources, based on an Asset Management system framework. The company intends to grow and retain capability to determine and control future asset management requirements – e.g. capital and maintenance plans.

A £3m purchase of a high-value spare was avoided following the presentation of a robust defence of high-value spares decisions using a combination of Decision Support Tools™ Inventory Optimizer and Project/Change evaluator. In addition, the Moyle asset health review identified specific improvement actions to be added to the risk register and provided input to the detailed development of the SAMP.

Gas and electric businesses’ interconnectors have been inherited as ‘going concerns’, both having robust contracts in place to maintain assets to a high standard and there is a good project management approach adopted for Gas to the West and can be scaled to cover projects of various sizes.

Valuable cooperation is evident between commercial and electricity operation to maximize commercial benefit and the management of competence for front-line staff alongside contractor management is well controlled and good working relationships are evident

Mutual Energy has taken the project to ISO 55001 Certification by implementing a Training Programme, Gap analysis, Improvement plan, submitting a Draft AM Policy for approval and their Draft SAMP for electricity, which is already proving to be a ‘live’ document.

Following the project their tangible wins include,

  • Electricity Asset Health Review delivered (Gas in 2020),
  • Transformer spares study delivered,
  • IAM Certificate training course (Jan 2020),
  • EAMS Proof of Concept
  • ISO 55001 Certification


Mutual Energy understands the importance of clarifying expectations and getting the scope right while getting the top team on board – winning hearts and minds and getting the visible endorsement. Improvements were evident in communication – sharing potential benefits, resources, and timescales – ‘what is it about!’, while building on existing good practice – not reinventing or duplicating. ME also undertook a comprehensive training and education program – building confidence and transferring skills.

All of this was achieved within realistic timescales – recognizing pressures and priorities- getting it right for the long term while demonstrating practical ‘quick wins’

Delighted to have played my part as Project Manager for our certification efforts. A big tick in the box, recognizing a lot of existing good practice, and giving us some useful pointers for the future. And thanks of course to our colleagues at The Woodhouse Partnership Ltd for supporting us on the journey!

Sam Gibson
Moyle Interconnector Operations Manager, Mutual Energy, Ireland

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