Case Study

Risk Management

Our customer provides natural gas service to more than 2 million customers in Arizona, California and Nevada through 55,000 miles of distribution pipelines. The company’s damage prevention team has two primary objectives: perform damage investigations and build strategic partnerships with the excavator community. Its damage prevention program tracked specific facilities at the highest risk, locate areas that were more difficult to mark and excavators more likely to dig around their critical assets. These steps allowed them to focus their small damage prevention team’s efforts.

How a Natural Gas Utility Decreased Its Damage Ratio by 36% After Implementing Risk Management Solution

The natural gas utility incorporates SmartScore and analytics, best practices and innovation into their damage prevention program.

Problem

They looked for a better way to guide their damage prevention team to the highest-risk tickets to get more laser-focused on damage prevention. They knew that excavators and homeowners calling 811 was only the first step in preventing damages.


More proactive measures were needed since the software only captures excavators who submitted tickets to the One Call Center. While their existing damage prevention program was adequate, they knew it could be enhanced: It was time to assist the program’s shift from reactive to proactive and help tie the pieces of the process together.

Solution

The natural gas service provider wanted to be as proactive as possible with 
its damage prevention program. They understood it’s only when the utility community and excavators work together to keep everyone safe that it’s possible to reach the common goal of zero damages.

When the company introduced Irth Solutions’ SmartScore into their damage prevention processes, they could rank tickets that came in from the One Call Center. These insights assisted in prioritizing on-site consultations to higher-risk excavations. These on-site consultations help the provider build strategic partnerships with excavators and get in front of them even before putting equipment or shovels in the dirt. This combination of efforts has allowed the natural gas service provider to see a 36% decrease in the damage ratio from January 2019 to December 2021.

SmartScore assigns a low-, medium- or high-risk rank to dig tickets. This rank is also weighted based on specific excavator information. If an excavator is a repeat offender, the software uses historical information to assign a higher risk rank to a ticket submitted from that excavator. Higher risk might also be assigned based on the situation at the facility where the dig will occur. For example, facilities with PVC pipes or high-pressure areas have higher risk scores than others for this company.

The software is configurable so that the company can adjust the variables and data used to score risk as needed. For example, if PVC was no longer an issue, they could take that out of the overall score. Additionally, they can score by division or area so that the data used to inform the score is specific to the variables of where the dig will occur.

SmartScore helped our customer refine its process and tie together all the pieces of their excavator consultation initiative.

  • This software is now a key part of our foundation and brings together many of our efforts that we’re doing for damage prevention into a single place.

    Administrator/Damage Prevention

    Natural Gas Service Provider

    Results

    Damage prevention is all about relationship building. Since SmartScore can be refined and configured to rank risk more effectively over time based on analytics and data, this natural gas service provider became more efficient. When the company’s damage prevention team had the opportunity to get in front of excavators sooner, they could influence decisions and build partnerships.

    Benefits of the Software

    Gained visibility.

    SmartScore increases visibility of excavators that were not initially recognized as high risk and allows the company to make informed decisions by building strategic partnerships sooner.

    Increased efficiency and productivity.

    SmartScore doesn’t need to be monitored or updated daily, which means less time in front of a computer and more time in the field connecting with customers.

    Centralized information.

    The company’s data, analytics and tickets can be viewed on a single platform.

    Improved safety.

    As a primary goal, excavators and contractors are now more likely to complete digs safely and efficiently.

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    Irth Solutions' market-leading SaaS platform improves resilience and reduces risk in the sustainable delivery of essential services that millions of people and businesses rely on every day. Energy, utility and telecom companies across the U.S. and Canada trust Irth Solutions for damage prevention, asset protection and risk management solutions, making Irth the top provider for 811 (one call) ticket management since 1995. Powered by business intelligence, analytics and geospatial data, our platform helps deliver the 360-degree situational awareness needed to proactively mitigate and manage risk of critical network infrastructure in a changing environment.

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