Protection Zone Management

Crush your inspection process. Identify high-ranking risks. Repair equipment that directly improves your utility's reliability.


Identify Risk Accurately

PZM identifies risk by combining the probability of a negative event occurring with the consequence of the negative event.


Confidently Deploy Capital

Put your capital expenditure dollars to work in the highest risk areas by utilizing PZM's Risk Matrix algorithm.


Actionable Analytics

PZM's electrical utilty software generates reports and analytical data you can act on to save money, time and resources.


Take Control of Your System

From management, to inspector, to field technician—PZM helps electrical utilities optimize their inspection and maintenance operations.


Automated Email Reporting

Keep your Board and colleagues up-to-date and in the loop with PZM's automated email reports.


Simplify Your Operations

Get rid of the clipboard & paperwork. PZM keeps teams on-track by identifying critical deficiencies, inspection schedules and risk variables. All in the cloud.

Defining Risk

Risk is the potential harm that may arise from some present process or from some future event.

In everyday usage, risk is often used synonymously with probability; but, in professional risk assessments, risk combines the probability of a negative event occurring with how harmful that event would be or the consequence of the negative event.

Risk has two components:

  • Probability of a Negative Event
  • Consequence of a Negative Event

As an example, if I asked you to flip a coin for a hundred bucks—heads I win, tails you win. You might take that bet and consider your chances at 50/50.

But if I made that same bet for $1,500 dollars, you would probably not take the bet. Even though your probability stayed the same, your Risk went up because the consequence of the negative event went up!

PZM Risk Matrix — Defining Risk

In the utility world the level of risk can be explained by using two trees growing into a powerline.

Each tree has the same probability of causing an outage. But, one tree may only cause a minor outage of two city blocks or houses, while the other tree would cause a major feeder outage that takes out 12 businesses and a neighborhood of 250 homes!

The probability of each tree causing an outage is the same, but the consequence varies greatly.

Assessing Risk

Risk assessment is measuring the two quantities of risk, the consequence of the potential loss, and the probability that the loss will occur.

PZM employs a Risk Matrix as a structured way to assess risk by using the following steps:

  • Identify deficiencies using equipment-specific inspections.
  • Measure the consequence of each deficiency if a failure were to occur.
  • Measure the deficiencies probability or chance of failure.
  • Score the risk of the deficiency based on both the consequence and probability of failure.
  • List the deficiencies from the highest risk to the lowest.

Risk assessment may be the most important step in the risk management process.

The most significant factor in risk management is that a risk assessment is performed and it is done using as simple methods as possible.

PZM accomplishes this goal and delivers the utility operator their deficiencies so that the greatest loss and greatest probability of occurring are handled first, and risks with lower probability of occurrence and lower loss are handled later.

A Message From The CEO

The idea for Protection Zone Management™ (PZM) started in the middle of a power outage.

I was the operations manager, and the crew was trimming trees that just caused a major feeder to open. Over 500 meters were out of power, and by the time we identified the problem, cleared the tree branches, the outage was over two hours. It was over 1,000 outage hours against my SAIDI score.

Why were trees growing in a major feeder that would cause a major outage not trimmed on time?

At the time, I managed over 20 substations and 100's of miles of distribution lines.

We had a typical inspection program. Our substation inspector would walk through the substations monthly. Hand in his paperwork, and tell me about any problems they found.

Our lineman would patrol the feeders every 5 years or so, hand in their paperwork, and document the deficiencies they would find.

The tree trimmers would roll through every year and trim trees based on a 7-year grid covering the trees on the system.

The inspections were 'kind-of' kept up with. And, the inspection paperwork often ended up in a file, never to be reviewed again.

The Bottom Line

There always seems to be more oil leaks and loose hardware in substations and more cracked crossarms on distribution lines, and more trees to trim than a utilities workforce and maintenance budget can keep up with.

We were no different. And these trees were no different.

That day, I was determined to find a better way!

  • I was convinced that day there was a better way to manage tree trimming.
  • I resolved to never again have a major outage due to trees.
  • I began developing a better methodology to deploy our limited workforce and maintenance budget.

With that, PZM was born.

We needed to inspect better. Capture the deficiencies found on the inspections better. And, most importantly—we needed to assess the risk of any deficiencies and repair the high-risk problems first!

If we had a limited workforce and limited budgets, we had to get the highest and best use out of these limited resources.

The PZM process identifies high, probability, high consequence problems and runs them through the PZM Risk Matrix, then sorts what to repair next.

Using PZM, major outages, loss of high asset value equipment, loss of revenue, and high liability failures can be minimized or eliminated.

How It Works

PZM starts with a thorough inspection. The PZM mobile app guides inspectors through the entire inspection process:

  • When inspections are due.
  • What specific equipment needs to be inspected.

The questions are explicitly written for the exact equipment being inspected.

Our client's inspections are more thorough, more consistent, and PZM is finding problems they previously did not know existed.

When an inspector enters a deficiency, it is instantly ranked against all other deficiencies in the system, and ranked based on the consequence of a failure.

The inspector and the manager can use this information to guide repairs. PZM offers many other benefits I can't squeeze into an introductory message.

Our Promise

PZM's goal is to assist our electric utility partners in developing and maintaining industry leading asset inspection and maintenance programs.

With our best-in-class software and domain expertise, we provide utility managers a wide array of solutions and capabilities in one, easy to use software application.

Today, our utility clients benefit from our unique 'Protection Zone' and 'Risk Matrix' approach, and we are committed to the continuous innovation of new solutions to the benefit of our utility industry partners.

We look forward to working with you! Sign up for a demo, and let's get started.

Jay M. Elquist, P.E.

Chief Executive Officer, PZM
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Protection Zone Management

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