Evaluating aspects of power plant performance

Using Project Success Life Cycle Model (PSLCM)



By Lalamani Budeli and Prof J H Wichers

South Africa



The Project Success Life Cycle Model (PSLCM) is aimed at ensuring that critical factors are considered when the success of power plant is measured. This model uses data envelopment analysis (DEA) to measure task, activity, process, product or firm input, output as well as process efficiency at any stage of project, product or business development. It integrates technical performance and financial performance measures so that projects in different industries can be compared objectively and inefficiencies in areas where resource availability is high can easily be identified.

This paper shows how integrating effective technical and financial performance measures (TFPM), data envelope analysis (DEA) and design of experiments (DOE), as well as the use of standard processes, can dramatically improve plant life cycle management through an integrated life cycle management model.

The outcome of the model is a success performance measure which incorporates project performance measure, product performance and corporate performance into a single value. This model will make it easy to compare projects, product and organisations performance in different stages of the life cycle.

Keywords: Life cycle management, Data envelop analyses, Performance measurement, life cycle model.


Power generating plants require large initial investment and significant further expenditure to continue operations over its intended life cycle. This means that the cost requirements for the continuing operations should be determined in order to sustain the plant output over its intended life cycle. In addition, regular detailed life cycle plans that reflect essential refurbishment and replacement activities of all relevant plant systems are needed. These plans must reflect modifications, projects and technological improvements that may be required to address any changes in plant conditions, operations, capacity, and legislative requirements, as well as primary energy supply or operational life span.

It is important for utilities to determine standard practice involved in the plant life cycle management process, which include the inputs and expectations of key stakeholders, as well as proposed methods to ensure process effectiveness. It is vitally important that the technical planning process must follow all the critical steps to ensure that an effective and efficient plan is achieved by establishing correct planning assumptions and inputs when developing the life cycle management plans. These include the planned operational life of the power plant, economic evaluation parameters, plant maintenance strategies, legislative and statutory requirements, as well as the future production regime, performance targets, primary energy requirements and quality. Power utilities require these inputs to integrate information systems into a database in which all project proposals, as well as finalised technical and life of plant plans are in place to avoid developing technical plans from zero bases every year. Financial targets are applied to sections over the period of the technical plan to optimise the plan within the available funding, while project proposals are prioritised according to approved ranking methodologies.

The power industry landscape continuously experiences disruptions mostly due to existing business models, systems and methods of operation and a blend of players and electricity subsectors. In developing countries, energy efficiency can be realized quickly because the potential for energy efficiency improvements are high. Due to the constraint in which power plants are constructed and operated, it can be expected that there will be differences in efficiency and performance from one plant to another. Real plant design constraint also limits power plant efficiency beyond the control of utilities, which is not necessarily a result of ineffective design or operation. Various factors are perceived to affect the efficiency of power plants. However, this study will focus on technical efficiency problems due to design and maintenance which is subdivided into:

  • Plant design – the efficiency of a power plant is largely dependent on the basic plant design and how well it has been maintained.
  • Deterioration – equipment deterioration over the years of operation could affect plant efficiency and performance significantly.
  • Plant maintenance – comparing actual performance to design is important because equipment distorts, leaks, wears, fouls, corrodes and as calibrations drift, the plant becomes less efficient.
  • Component availability – non-availability of certain plant components and equipment can affect efficiency, which requires maintaining proper cleaning of equipment to avoid degradation.

In this paper, a project success life cycle model (PSLCM) is developed to measure, control and manage power plant performance. The model is achieved by combining variance, process and system theoretical approaches which will offer a particularly significant opportunity to improve theory in light of the results. It can be argued that the insistence on exclusion of variables from process research unnecessarily limits the variety of theories constructed. In this research, the concept will be developed, key relationships identified, model developed and the study conclusions provided…


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How to cite this paper: Budeli, L. & Wichers, J. H. (2018). Evaluating aspects of power plant performance using Project Success Life Cycle Model (PSLCM); PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue XI – November. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/pmwj76-Nov2018-Budeli-Wichers-evaluating-aspects-of-power-plant-performance.pdf


About the Authors

Lalamani Budeli

South Africa




Lalamani Budeli obtained his degree as an Engineer in Electrical Engineering at the Vaal University, BSc honour in Engineering Technology Management at University of Pretoria, Master in engineering development and Management at North West University, Master of business administration at Regent Business School and currently busy with Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Development and Management at North West university, Potchefstroom, South Africa. Currently, he is a technical support manager at Eskom. His research interests include plant life cycle management, advanced systems analytics, project early warning system and the use of artificial intelligence in project management.  Lalamani Budeli can be contacted at [email protected]



Prof J H (Harry) Wichers

South Africa




Prof. Harry Wichers has been a part-time lecturer at the North West University (NWU), former Potchefstroom University for CHE, on pre- and postgraduate levels in Systems Engineering and Reliability Engineering from 1986 – 2000.  He continued to lecture on pre and postgraduate level at the same university in various Engineering Management subjects from 2003 to 2010.  These subjects included Creative Entrepreneurship, Maintenance Management and Entrepreneurial Career Skills. He has also lectured at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), Vanderbijlpark, in the subjects Maintenance Engineering. He was instrumental in 2004 in the establishment of the Centre for Research and Continued Engineering Development in the Vaal Triangle, (CRCED Vaal), focusing on delivering Master and Doctoral degrees in Engineering Management to Industry. Prof. Wichers is a registered Professional Engineer with ECSA, member of the Institutes of Business Management and Mechanical Engineers (SAIME) and founder member and ex-president of the Southern African Maintenance Association (SAMA).