Chapter 5

Critical Assets

5.1 Introduction

Not all assets are equally important to the utility's operation. Some assets are highly critical to operations and others are not critical. Furthermore, the criticality of assets is completely utility specific. Certain assets or types of assets may be critical in one location but not critical in another. For example, a utility may have only one well that serves the entire community so that well may be a critical asset. Another utility's well may not be a critical asset because it has multiple wells and a large storage tank with capacity to store enough water for several days. A utility must examine its own assets very carefully to determine which assets are critical and why.

Does it feed a critical customer?
--Jim Smith, Louisville, KY


In determining criticality, two questions are important:
  1. How likely is the asset to fail?
  2. What is the consequence if it does?
Criticality has several important functions, such as allowing a utility to manage its risk and aiding in determining the balance between expenditures for operations and maintenance, and capital projects.