Network June 2018

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NETWORK / 33 / JUNE 2018 are becoming hubs for data, which can be rendered in many different ways depend- ing on the purpose for which it is required. They can be used to prioritise projects and bundle them together, so the work they do is more cost-efficient. Networks' approach to data-sharing should move away from a "need-to-know" basis to a presumption of disclosure. In particular, there must be a greater level of data-sharing between gas and electricity networks. Gas network representatives, for example, said they require more informa - tion about the likely demand from the grow- ing number of gas peaking plants connected to distribution networks. Smart meter data was identified as a cru- cial source of information. Participants said more needs to be done to sell consumers on the new technology. Fears were raised that the current interoperability of SMETS1 smart meters could leave then with a poor first impression. Attendees agreed that many consumers overestimate the amount of information which networks already possess. They said greater transparency over the limits of their knowledge could increase willingness to participate in the collection of data. The benefits of smart meters for the environ - ment and the reliability of supplies could also be touted to consumers. There was agreement too over the impor- tance of collecting data in the right manner. Getting things right at the beginning will prevent problems further down the line. However, there was some division over how wide the net should be cast. Several network operators recounted how they had collected whole streams of data which they had never actually used, wasting time and money. They said data shouldn't be col - lected for its own sake. There should always be a clear purpose in mind. However, others worried that being too selective could stifle innovation as some uses for data have yet to emerge. They said network operators need to consult closely with stakeholders to ensure they account for the needs of others and not just themselves. Participants said maximising the value which can be extracted from data requires a radical change in the culture of networks, including full-buy-in from senior executives. Progress is being made, as demonstrated by the increasing number of roles focused solely on data. Offices are being reorganised to bring data organisers and asset managers closer together, not just metaphorically but also in the literal sense. With all that being said, the transforma - tion is still far from complete. The era of data-driven networks is only just beginning. Views from the speakers: "It's very crucial to understand that if we can fix issues at the point of capture as much as possible - with the help of technology, with the help of process, with the help of guidance – a lot of data governance issues can be minimised." Anirban Acharya, senior consultant, Cyient "As we move to towards actively managed networks, a single fault on your comms network could have greater impact than a single fault on your electrical network." Dan Wilson, asset data manager, Electricity North West "In the field, our geographic information system is going to be the way in for every piece of information that we're going to have access to." Randal Gilbert, head of asset management, Northern Ireland Electricity Networks "It seems like the closer to the distribution system operator model you are, the more important it is a have a single version of the truth." Baptiste Jouffroy, vice president for utilities and geospatial in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Cyient Sponsored by:

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