High-precision synchrophasor measurements can detect early signs of equipment aging, malfunction, or incorrect operation from the electrical signature, so as to help prevent costly damage or outages.
Aging and deterioration in distribution transformers or switchgear can be difficult to diagnose inexpensively online. Smaller service transformers are typically just replaced upon failure. Larger equipment such as substation transformers can be tested using dissolved gas analysis (DGA) of the transformer oil that reveals chemical evidence of degradation.
Ongoing condition monitoring of utility equipment would help both to prevent specific device failures and to establish a general improved knowledge base for planning purposes.