Network November 2018

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NETWORK / 32 / NOVEMBER 2018 ROUNDTABLE I f energy networks are to cope successfully with the new demands arising from the decarbonisation of the energy system, whilst maintaining a reliable service to customers and minimising costs, it will be vital for them to maximise the performance of their assets. At a roundtable in Birming - ham hosted by Network and IBM, industry figures met to talk about how new technologies and management techniques can help them to respond effectively to the numerous chal- lenges they face. The first topic to be discussed Making the most of your assets How do you pave the way for predictive asset management and how should it be used to help enable the smart networks of the future? A recent roundtable discussion hosted by Network and IBM sought to discover the answers. Tom Grimwood reports. was the shi• to outputs- and totex-based regulation brought by the introduction of the RIIO framework. There was strong support for the new approach, with attendees welcoming their new - found freedom to respond to the needs of their customers in the way that they see fit – whether through investments in new in - frastructure or novel operational solutions – rather than closely following the prescriptions of the regulator. However, some also aired concerns that this new mindset has not filtered down through the entirety of their organisa - greatest anger as customers are unable to plan their lives around them. However, another thought the opposite to be true, saying customers are actually more forgiving when, for example, their power is cut off due to flooding; when cars are floating past their house and the cause of the problem is obvious. Along similar lines, they said customers are also more tolerant when they can see what network companies are doing, o•en sending in letters of praise when workers are digging up their road, even when they are not sure why. tions. Some veteran engineers still see their role as replacing X number of transformers at the behest of Ofgem, rather than ensuring their customers' lights are on when they arrive home from work. The creation of a new culture within energy net - works is still a work in progress. The conversation then moved on to how customers react when their power or gas supplies are cut off. There was agreement that as interruptions become less frequent, customers are be- coming more intolerant of them when they do occur. One attendee suggested that unexpected outages invoke the

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