The power and utilities magazine
On the move and out in the field - mobile technology in utilities
Sustainability is at the forefront of business objectives, and is increasingly becoming a board issue
Getting into thermals
If the insulation industry embraces innovation, it can create a new generation of energy efficient solutions
Automatic for the people? Successful automation of customer service will move from a multi-channel to a cross-channel approach
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The power and utilities magazine
On the move and out in the field - mobile technology in utilities
Sustainability is at the forefront of business objectives, and is increasingly becoming a board issue
Getting into thermals
If the insulation industry embraces innovation, it can create a new generation of energy efficient solutions
Automatic for the people? Successful automation of customer service will move from a multi-channel to a cross-channel approach
Chairman Andrew Schofield
sually in this small editor’s note, I highlight something from a story in the magazine. But this issue, there’s just so much to choose from – how do I prioritise which one to mention? What makes billing more or less important than sustainability or smart meters? Should customer service be at the top of the agenda, or are the security of a utilities site, or the maintenance of assets bigger issues? Then again, what about wider industry news? Just writing this little paragraph is a challenge. It made me really appreciate the enormous amounts of decisions that utilities companies need to prioritise and deal with on a daily basis.
Group Managing Director Mike Tulloch
Libbie Hammond Editor
Art Editor/Design David Howard
Production Manager Fleur Conway
Staff Writers Matt High, Jo Cooper, Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs
Editorial Admin Emma Harris
Sales Director David Garner
Advertisement Sales Dave King firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Research Philip Monument
Contents News Products and Services HSE and Renewables Industry Reports
2 4 6
Features 9 Feature: Smart Meters How smart meters will help address issues within the energy trilemma
20 Site: Security By implementing a multi-layer approach, utility plants can easily enhance their overall security
22 IT: Billing How utilities could branch out into new realms, such as the supply of broadband and home telephone services
24 Case study: Welsh Water/SPS A new deal allows Welsh Water to take a much more strategic approach to maintenance
Editorial Research Mark Cowles
Business Development Manager
Profiles 29 AEE Renewables
Circulation Manager Claire Hewitt
Office Manager Tracy Chynoweth Published by:
Schofield Publishing 10 Cringleford Business Centre, Intwood Road, Cringleford, Norwich NR4 6AU
Tel: 01603 274130 • Fax: 01603 274131
12 Feature: Sustainability Sustainability is at the forefront of business objectives and businesses are under pressure to understand their environmental impact
14 Maintenance: Insulation The prospects for growth in the thermal insulation industry are better than ever
16 Feature: Customer service © 2013 Schofield Publishing Ltd PLEASE NOTE: The opinions expressed by contributors and advertisers within this publication do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor and publisher. Every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information published is accurate, but no legal responsibility for loss occasioned by the use of such information can be accepted by the publisher. All rights reserved. The contents of the magazine are strictly copyright, the property of Schofield Publishing, and may not be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher.
It is crucial to put the customer at the forefront of any decision making process whenever changes are being considered
18 Feature: Handheld Technology The tablet PC is set to become a stable fixture across the utility sector, especially out on the front line of service
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES NEWS Planning permission secured
Biomass for Uni
l Planning permission for an 80,000 tonne Energos clean energy recovery from waste facility, in Lisburn, has been granted by Alex Attwood, Environment Minister for Northern Ireland. The advanced conversion facility at the former Burn House Rendering facility will use non-recyclable, non-hazardous mixed waste to generate 7MW of electricity. This is enough to power 17,000 homes and could also provide affordable heat in the form of steam or hot water for local industries and homes. Around 60 per cent of the electricity generated by the Energos’ gasification process will be renewable energy generated from biomass and will qualify for double Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) from the UK government. Nick Dawber, managing director of Energos, said: “This is an environmentally responsible, community sized solution for local waste that would otherwise fill up landfill sites and emit damaging greenhouse gases. Our technology has the flexibility to accept a variety of wastes to provide an adaptable resource that can cater for changing community requirements over the years. We look forward to working with partners to bring this project to fruition.” Nick Baston, planning manager for Energos added: “As a ‘nationally significant’ project, the Lisburn facility was subject to determination by the Department of the Environment. The planning service has undertaken a thorough review and we are delighted to have been awarded consent for this strategic site.”
l Redhall Jex is nearing completion of a nine-month contract working alongside German Bio-Waste Specialist, Wehrle, to build a bio-energy plant located within a new facility on the Aston University site in Birmingham. Redhall Jex installed plant and equipment and manufactured and installed all of the pipework systems within the plant. The new facility, funded by the University and the European Regional Development Fund, will generate heat and power from biomass using algae, sewage sludge, wood and agricultural waste as sources of fuel. Biomass is plant matter used either to generate electricity (via steam turbines or gasifiers), or to produce heat (via direct combustion), or both - as is the case at the Aston University bio-energy plant. The plant will also produce biomass by-products, including hydrogen power for low carbon vehicles or fuel cell. Another by-product, Biochar, stores the carbon that the bio-energy process removes from the environment and is a charcoal that makes an excellent agricultural fertiliser.
New office accommodation l Three recycled and refurbished modular buildings have been provided by Foremans Relocatable Building Systems to United Utilities. The buildings were needed on two sites to upgrade office accommodation and replace outdated facilities with purpose-designed office space and meeting rooms. Completion was just ten weeks after receipt of order. Each building was delivered to site around 70 per cent complete, reducing disruption to United Utilities’ operations. Foremans also supplied folding partitions, roller security shutters, air conditioning, and fire and security alarms. Commenting on the choice of recycled modular buildings, Gary Collins, building surveyor at United Utilities, said: “Each of these three projects was delivered on time, as expected and to very high quality standards. Foremans also gave us the opportunity to spec the buildings to our exact service needs. Feedback from the users has been extremely positive and staff have been unable to tell these are not brand new buildings. “We would definitely use the approach again. Indeed, having experienced recycled modular buildings, it is now unlikely we would specify new build going forward because the quality of Foremans preowned is so good and the cost is considerably less.”
Smart meter trials l SmartReach, a collaboration of Arqiva, BT, BAE Systems Detica and Sensus, together with South Staffs Water, have announced a new trial to connect up to 1000 smart water meters in Kinver, South Staffordshire. Many of these meters are in underground chambers, under metal lids, creating a challenge for most communications technologies. Colin Wayper, network director, South Staffs Water, commented: “We selected the long-range radio communications solution from SmartReach because it is proven to connect to smart meters in the demanding British environment, even in locations where other communications technologies tend to suffer from patchy or unreliable coverage. The SmartReach solution also offers long term flexibility, with the potential to cover water networks as well as the metering of homes.” Sean Weir, programme director, SmartReach added: “Smart water and energy metering has the potential to deliver billions of pounds worth of energy, water and operational efficiency savings for utilities and their customers. Achieving these benefits depends on proven, reliable smart metering communications technology. We’ve already demonstrated that our long-range radio solution connects to over 99 per cent of energy and water smart meters with a single installation visit. We are looking forward to building on this success by delivering a highly reliable service for South Staffs Water and its customers.”
l AMT-SYBEX’s Affinity Suite has been chosen by UK Power Networks to deliver the optimisation and control platform at the centre of the utility company’s Smarter Network Storage project, which has been awarded £13.2 million of funding from the Low Carbon Network Fund. The groundbreaking project is one of the next steps towards the Smarter Grid. AMT-SYBEX has been working in the utility, energy and infrastructure industries since 1990 and creates enterprise software, which enables the essential industries to manage evolving business challenges around enterprise mobility, smart grids, and enterprise asset management. The Affinity Suite was built on deep industry knowledge to deliver technical innovation and to help create utility networks fit for the future. It processes data flows for 85 per cent of the UK energy retail market. Andy Hamlyn, deputy group chief executive at AMT-SYBEX, said: “Future proofing the network and securing the supply of electricity for the UK is economically important. We are delighted to be involved in such a pioneering project that will help realise the value of smart grid technologies. It’s a significant step towards delivering a low carbon future for the benefit of us all.”
l Cambridge-based technology firm, Green Energy Options Ltd (GEO) has announced the award of two contracts with British Gas Trading Ltd for the provision of two customised in-home displays for deployment within British Gas and Scottish Gas. Both displays are the result of a two-year programme of extensive consumer research and design resulting in a stylish, bright and appealing in-home device with a design theme specially created for British Gas. These will be the core display products for British Gas and incorporate the now familiar ‘car speedo’ first introduced by GEO in 2007, which British Gas first deployed in the Minim in-home display. Within the smart metering programme at British Gas, the GEO smart display will be used in smart meter installations from the end of 2013 onwards and will give current and historical information on both electricity and gas consumption. Designed to meet all the requirements of the Government’s Smart Metering Technical Specification (SMETS), the display is fully interoperable with all the leading meter manufacturers’ devices and incorporates many special additional features required by British Gas. Communications between the meter and display is wireless and uses the internationally recognised ZigBee Smart Energy Protocol that is both secure and safe.
Concrete results l The longest continual slipform pour in the UK, and possibly in Europe, has been carried out by CEMEX UK on one of the five shafts for the Thames Water Lee Tunnel project in Beckton, Greater London. Engineers from contractor, MVB, a joint venture partnership between Morgan Sindall, VINCI Construction Grands Projets and Bachy Soletanche, spent 29 days continuously pouring concrete into the slip form shutter of the shaft on behalf of client, Thames Water. Three cranes were used to deliver the concrete to three skips to pour into the 80m deep shaft demanding a total of 11,000m3 of concrete to the scheme. The concrete was batched on-site and placed at a rate of 100 -150mm (shutter rise) per hour. A bespoke C50/60 concrete was designed using a number of admixture blends to control setting times including Isoflex superplasticiser, MR 800D retarder. The concrete also contained 500 tonnes of steel fibres as reinforcement. “This was a tremendous achievement with nine concrete mixes of different levels of retardation supplied on a regular and continuous basis to form an integral part of this vital structure. The materials have been developed using the latest technology and challenge our expertise, to ensure that we can meet the structural requirements of the tunnel. Such developments are key to helping to build a greater Britain,” said Chris Leese, vice president, Readymix and Mortars.
Green light at trial site l Plans for a cutting-edge electricity storage facility at Leighton Buzzard have been granted planning permission, and could pave the way for others across the UK. UK Power Networks, which distributes electricity in the East of England, London and the South East, has received consents to build the energy storage facility at a substation site in the town. The company liaised closely with the council and local residents over the last year in order to reach the agreement and ensure the development meets local requirements. Nick Heyward, UK Power Networks’ project director for Smarter Network Storage, said: “The granting of consents for the storage facility is an important milestone for the Smarter Network Storage project, and ensures that we can move forward by deferring or avoiding the significant rebuild of the electricity network which would have otherwise been needed at Leighton Buzzard. “This innovative installation will also provide a leading test bed for exploring the capabilities and economics of high-voltage energy storage, which is very useful for the industry.” The project is due to install a 6MW/10MWh ‘big battery’ at one of the town’s main substation sites by the end of 2014. The device will be the largest of its kind located on a distribution network in the UK. The project aims to help decrease the future costs of energy storage in the UK and increase network investment efficiency, supporting the adoption of more low carbon technologies on the electricity network.
Fuel for thought l Whilst the Chancellor scrapped the planned three pence fuel increase in the March Budget, more needs to be done to help firms struggling to balance the cost of fuel, warns TRACKER. The caution comes as TRACKER launches Fuel Card Integration within its award winning fleet telematics offering, TRACKER Fleet. The new Fuel Card Integration offers businesses unrivalled insight into, and control of, their fuel usage and costs to help them make crucial savings, as well as detect fraudulent fuel activity. The fuel card feature, which is compatible with all fuel card providers, allows customers to simply upload their fuel card data and integrate information within existing areas of TRACKER Fleet. Its ability to match where fuel transactions take place, against miles driven, also enables fleet managers to monitor fraudulent use. It can also ensure that the fuel card is being used to fill the right vehicle.
HEALTH, SAFETY, ENVIRONMENT AND RENEWABLES NEWS World’s biggest windfarm l RenewableUK has welcomed the news that Triton Knoll
Offshore Wind Farm, to be built off the east coast of England, has been given final consent by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey. This major project will include up to 288 turbines and is due to have an installed capacity of up to 1.2 gigawatts of power - potentially enough to power up to 900,000 homes. This project represents the last of the major Round 2 offshore wind projects to be approved. It has the potential to provide £3.6 billion investment and provide more than 800 jobs. Director of Offshore Renewables Nick Medic said: “The news is a historic step for the UK offshore wind industry. It is the biggest project consented so far anywhere in the world, and shows the UK’s offshore sector maturing to take on new challenges of scale. At 1.2GW Triton Knoll will generate enough electricity every year to supply the equivalent of 900,000 homes. “Following world leading projects such as the London Array, Triton Knoll will demonstrate what offshore wind can do for the UK on a grand scale. This planning consent keeps the country firmly at the forefront of offshore wind development and will help secure up to 20 per cent of electricity from offshore wind per year by 2020. We now need to have the policy framework in place to Britain secures the rewards of this new energy revolution by maximising employment and creating opportunities for UK businesses.”
Renewables makes sense l Independent energy supplier to UK businesses, Opus Energy, has
announced the signing of three new hydro-powered renewable energy generation plants in Scotland. Steve James, director - corporate solutions, Opus Energy, comments on the new signings: “The renewables division at Opus Energy continues to perform strongly as businesses realise that generating their own renewable power makes sound economic sense, particularly in today’s economic climate. We’re thrilled to be adding hydro-generation to our portfolio. “We’ve found that many businesses aren’t aware that, by generating renewable power and therefore putting a lower demand on the grid to supply them, they are also cutting down on rising industry charges.” The first of the new hydro agreements, signed in May 2013, covers two plants - totalling 57kW in size - based at Auchencheyne Farm in Scotland. The third agreement is for a 190kW plant at a Selcoth Farm in Dumfries & Galloway, which is a mixed sheep and aquaculture unit. The plants generate enough power to supply 58 small and medium enterprises. The plants are Opus Energy’s first hydro-powered generators, and complement its existing portfolio of over 650 businesses that are generating renewable power from wind, solar and anaerobic digestion. Opus Energy supplies its customers with the excess renewable power bought from these generators.
Expanded solar farm l Evance is pleased to announce the commissioning of three R9000
small wind turbines at Scottish Water’s water treatment works on the island of Stronsay in Orkney. Due to the grid connection limitation Evance has installed the R9000 Grid+ system, so enabling the maximum energy from each 5kW turbine to be captured and used, while only allowing 3.68kW to be connected to the grid, so complying with the requirements of G83. “Stronsay has a great natural wind resource so, by installing our Grid+ system, Scottish Water is able to harness this renewable energy for use at the water treatment works. The three turbines will be able to generate around 55MWh of electricity a year, which will mean nearly an 80 per cent reduction in the energy costs of running the works,” comments Tim Sammon, director of Evance Wind Turbines. “We have a few hundred turbines installed on the Orkney Islands. These customers have turned to Evance as the R9000 has proved its reliable and continuous operation in all the wind conditions experienced on the islands,” stated Tim.
Potential benefits of biomethane l Speaking at the UK’s first Biomethane and Gas Vehicle Conference
in June 2013, City Hall, Sustainable Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “The potential benefits of using biogas are huge so it is pleasing to see events like this taking place and raising its profile. “We are continuing to drive down carbon emissions in transport, and fleet vehicles is an area where we are making good progress. As part of that I announced that £5m will be available to local authorities to upgrade buses with pollution-reducing technologies such as cleaner engines or exhaust after-treatment equipment. I also announced a further £12m for new green buses. “Improving air quality remains an important issue for the coalition government.” Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive at ADBA, said: “Biomethane from biogas is one of the few options for decarbonising heavy goods vehicles. Trials on biomethane vehicles have shown huge air quality and noise reduction benefits as well as the clear reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, which come from using such an ultra low carbon fuel. “For the sector to develop we need to ensure waste and bioenergy policies to deliver the feedstock the AD industry needs to produce biogas, and renewable incentives that will drive the production and use of biomethane in vehicles. The UK Biomethane and Gas Vehicle Conference brings together the key decision makers who will be taking this market forward in the coming years.”
Tide power l Siemens Mechanical Drives has supplied pioneering tidal technology
company Tidal Energy Limited (TEL) with gear units that will be part of the DeltaStream tidal stream generating device due to go on a 12-month trial in Ramsey Sound early in 2014. It will be Wales‘ first commercial-scale turbine. The DeltaStream device initially comprises one independent 400kW turbine on a triangular base. It sits on the seabed under its own weight, without requiring drilling or piling, and generates power during both the ebb and flow of the tide, as the units turn with the tidal flow. Electrical and control equipment is mounted on the baseframe with a power conversion centre and SCADA system situated onshore. During its forthcoming trial in Ramsey Sound electricity generated will be fed into the local distribution network, helping to contribute towards the Welsh Government’s renewable energy targets. Following deployment, TEL will scale up the turbine with a further two 400kW nacelles to its full 1.2MW power capacity later in 2014 or early in 2015. Des Walsh of Siemens said: “We’re delighted to be supplying Tidal Energy Limited with our gear units. The UK is leading the world in tidal technology and we’re very much involved in supporting and partnering companies like TEL to help drive forward the Government’s renewable energy targets.”
Gel cell technology l The benefits of generating your own electricity include the reduction in energy bills from day one, the fact that you are no longer as susceptible to price increases and the attractive tariff from the government on top. However, what has been missing is an ability to capture the ‘green electricity’ generated by day to be stored for use after dark, or in those early hours of the morning. This assures even more savings can be achieved, and even less of the energy generated is fed back to the grid. Seen as the biggest breakthrough in the UK solar energy market for 20 years, a solution has been tried and tested in Europe for some time, but has taken a while to make it to our shores. However, a product is now available in the UK in the form of Midnight Sun for both existing and new Solar PV Systems. Adapted to suit the UK market, it provides homeowners with the ability to store electricity generated during the day to become energy self-sufficient for as much as eight to ten months of the year. Incorporating Gel Cell technology, Midnight Sun enables the homeowner to achieve even more of that all-important independence from energy bill price rises they are looking for. Requiring as little as 600mm squared in space, the solar energy storage system can be housed in a loft, garage, shed or utility - with installation taking no longer than a day. The product is available in a range of sizes starting from 5kWh, and the same as a solar PV system the product combination is a fit, forget and enjoy the savings for years to come. Long after the Feed in Tariff has finished paying out, savings will continue with a PV system and Midnight Sun combination.
How the Tidal Energy unit will look in operation (photo courtesy Tidal Energy Ltd)
Fleet watch l A Shade Greener Ltd, UK leaders in the free solar industry, are
tracking their fleet of over 200 vehicles with the award-winning Quartix system. With A Shade Greener running the entirety of their operations in-house, including sales, surveys, home visits, installations and postinstallations, each head of department has a large and busy team to manage. “We have given each department head access to the Quartix tracking system and it has helped them immensely,” says David Wise, operations manager. “They are able to keep track of their team at all times, and direct their drivers to avoid traffic or change appointments to suit locations.” Taking pride in their high quality of customer service, A Shade Greener
are always looking to reduce lead times for customers and be even more responsive. “The real-time tracking has helped us allocate vehicles more efficiently. One of the features we find the most useful is the Address Search which enables us to quickly find the closest team to a particular location. It helps us redeploy them if necessary, offering a quicker response and a greater level of service.” Quartix’s fleet management reports are also used to keep on top of any maintenance due on the vehicles: “We are able to monitor how many miles our vehicles are doing which is very important when looking at when services are due. It allows us to plan maintenance to further minimise downtime.”
INDUSTRY REPORTS NEWS Smart meter guidelines launched l New rules and guidance protecting customers who get a smart meter installed were launched in July. The Smart Meter Installation Code of Practice and Smart Meter Data Guide are two significant measures that will build customer confidence during the smart metering roll out between now and 2020. The Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice (SMICoP) specifies the minimum standards that energy suppliers have to follow when installing smart meters in their customers’ homes. The code’s aims are for the installation experience to be positive, to ensure customers are protected, and to make sure that customers are clear as to what will happen during the installation process. The code stipulates that smart meter installers are to offer customers energy efficiency advice and also bans sales activity being conducted during the installation. Smart meters can collect energy consumption information, which customers can use to learn more about their energy use. The Data Guide, which is being launched alongside the SMICoP, outlines the key information customers need to know about their rights and choices when they get a smart meter installed. In particular, it outlines what data will be collected by energy suppliers, and the choices that consumers have about the amount of information their energy supplier can collect and how the information can be used. Both documents have been the result of work from Energy UK, its members, Consumer Futures, and a number of other stakeholders who have contributed to their development.
World Energy Congress
l The next generation of energy industry leaders will play a key role at the World Energy Congress in Korea, 13-17 October 2013, as part of the Future Energy Leaders Programme (FELP). This initiative will bring to the Congress some of the brightest young talent from across the globe. One hundred delegates from 44 countries have been selected to take part, including 20 from developing nations. A total of 46 nationalities will be represented on the programme. This elite group will contribute their insights to the Congress programme, which has been developed under the overall theme of ‘Securing Tomorrow’s Energy Today’. Michael Gibbons OBE FEI, Chair, UK Member Committee of the World Energy Council (UKWEC), says: “The global energy sector thrives on the skills and expertise of a specialist workforce, dedicated to responding to the challenges of developing a sustainable energy economy. The past 100 years have seen huge step changes in technology, yet there are still not enough young people studying in the science, maths and engineering disciplines to deploy those advances. The Future Energy Leaders Programme aims to inspire young people and help drive the future generation to deliver the energy system we need. I am delighted that the UK will be represented in this programme to discuss and debate strategic issues surrounding sustainability, resources and technologies and to engage with a global community of young energy professionals.”
Go for new deal l Signs that the UK economy is on the mend should not deter businesses from remaining vigilant about their overheads, according to the Energy Advice Line. Julian Morgan, managing director of Energy Advice Line, a price comparison and switching service for energy consumers, said reports of improving business confidence represented an opportunity to seek out competitive utility deals. “Recent reports that confidence is improving in the business sector as the economy becomes more buoyant is news that UK businesses have been waiting to hear,” Julian said. “But rather than relax the reins on spending, this is the ideal time for small and medium-sized firms to engage with the market to see what deals are available. It could be the perfect time to clinch a competitive deal.” Julian argued that recent Ofgem figures showed less than 20 per cent of domestic energy consumers bother to shop around for the best electricity and gas deals and switch suppliers. He said the figure was ‘appalling’ given that switching utility companies was recognised as the easiest and cheapest way for consumers to reduce their energy bills. “For a wide range of reasons, many of them to do with the complexity of energy tariffs, consumers are putting their utility supplies into the too-hard basket,” Julian said. “But neither householders nor business owners can afford to be apathetic when it comes to energy because it now such a significant overhead. With signs of renewed economic confidence emerging, customers need to push forward and take control of their costs, and this applies particularly for businesses. It is significantly easier for a business to reduce its overheads than win new customers. And the effect on the bottom line can be felt almost immediately.”
Call for clarity l UK businesses are confused by the complex nature of Electricity Market Reform (EMR) and are concerned about the impact on UK competitiveness. These are the findings of npower’s latest report – ‘UK Business speaks: A call for clarity’ published following the Government’s latest announcement on two key elements of EMR – The Capacity Market and Contracts for Difference. The npower report summarises the views of senior energy consultants and major energy users from across retail, telecommunications, utilities and industrial businesses, who recently took part in a roundtable discussion on EMR. npower hosted the roundtable to give businesses the opportunity to air their views on the proposed legislation and the overarching message was that EMR has left businesses feeling confused about how it will work, and concerned about the impact on UK competitiveness. In particular, businesses are calling for: Cost certainty - more information from Government on how each part of the EMR will impact on business in terms of financial and administrative cost. Protection of UK competitiveness - reassurances from Government that it is doing all it can to protect the competitiveness of the UK in the international marketplace. Market transparency - greater transparency on how EMR schemes will operate, with further details on how costs will be set and markets regulated. Longevity - a system that will have longevity so businesses are not affected by governments working within relatively short-term parliamentary cycles.
Vast scale of Britain’s water use
l Homes in Great Britain use nine billion litres of water every day, the largest and most comprehensive study of water use ever has revealed. At Home with Water, a report commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust Foundation in partnership with DEFRA, Procter and Gamble, Thames Water, Consumer Council for Water and SaveWaterSaveMoney, presented the findings from a study of more than 86,000 British households – and shed new light on how Brits use water. The report will enable consumers, businesses and government to understand how water is used in British homes, forecast future trends and take action to save water and energy. It also highlights the connection between water and energy, calling the heating of water the ‘hidden element in household expenditure’. The results of the study show hot water use contributes £228 to the average annual combined household energy bill – that’s more than £6 billion across the whole of Britain. Showers were found to be the biggest consumers of water in the home, using a quarter of the total – three per cent more than lavatories (22 per cent). Andrew Tucker, water strategy manager at Energy Saving Trust, said: “At Home with Water is the most detailed analysis of how we use water ever produced, and it has provided the Energy Saving Trust with some important data. “The statistics which have been generated will be invaluable to industry and policymakers over the coming years. At Home with Water will act as a window into consumers’ homes, showing where water and energy are being used, where they are being wasted and what savings could be made. “With legislation increasingly demanding utilities help consumers cut their bills, At Home with Water can provide the tools necessary to start making big changes to the way Britain uses water – one of our least-considered natural resources.” Energy Saving Trust is urging Britons to install an eco showerhead, turn down washing machines to 30C and boil only the water they need in the kettle. An average UK household could save £22 on their energy bills each year by following these three tips, with metered households saving an additional £13 on their water bills. That’s £600 million across the UK, annually.
l The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) has welcomed the publication of the UK Government’s Water Bill. This Bill will allow all non-household customers in England to choose the supplier that best meets their needs. With on-going pressures on public expenditure, it is worth noting that the Scottish public sector has already saved around £25 million as a direct consequence of similar changes introduced in Scotland in 2008. This suggests the potential for the public sector in England to save up to £100 million a year. Besides lower prices the Bill should bring other benefits to customers including simpler billing, and improved and more tailored services. This focus on water services will further reduce costs for businesses and bring environmental benefits by helping them to save water and reduce carbon. By rewarding more sustainable drainage solutions, this should also help reduce the risk of flooding or pollution incidents. Alan Sutherland, Chief Executive of WICS, said: “Introducing retail competition in England will benefit non-household customers in England and in Scotland by improving services and reducing costs. We are keen to work closely with Ofwat to ensure that customers across England and Scotland benefit as soon as possible.”
l Research presented by Siemens has revealed that nearly 5.7 million households classed as multi-dwelling units (MDUs) (21.5 per cent of all households) are at risk of not receiving the benefit of the energy and cost efficiencies offered by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) smart meter implementation programme. MDUs such as high-rises, house a significant proportion of consumers living in fuel poverty. Effectively and securely linking electricity and gas meters with inhome displays within MDUs is particularly complex compared with single-dwelling houses. Most commonly, meters are not located in the flat or apartment but are often found in communal areas. This requires provision for shared infrastructure within MDUs to house smart meter technology as the standard approach of separate Home Area Networks (HAN) equipment will not be appropriate. Kevin Tutton, Country Division Lead at Siemens Smart Grid Division in the UK and Director of Metering Communications & Services, said: “The government has made significant progress towards stabilising the roll-out of smart meters by delaying implementation. This has provided much needed extra time to ensure an effective and secure solution for MDUs is addressed. Now is the window of opportunity to overcome the ‘high-rise challenge’ and ensure DECC’s business case and suppliers’ license obligations can both be met. It would be a failure of all involved in the programme to miss this chance to take action to provide all consumers with equal access to the energy and cost efficiencies offered by smart meters.”
Policy change needed l Global Management Consultancy Arthur D. Little has announced a new assessment of UK energy policy in which it urges the coalition government to make changes to the proposed measures currently making their way through parliament. The new report, UK Energy Policy: A Little Less Intervention, A Little More Action, warns that large scale interventionist policy and the complexities of the proposed measures are deterring external investment. “The UK faces many energy challenges and we can no longer afford to keep all of our options open,” said Nick White, managing partner of Arthur D. Little’s Energy Practice. “The market needs a clear long-term framework within which it can work to solve the problems we are facing and attract external capital.” Ageing infrastructure, greater reliance on gas imports and tighter controls on emissions mean the landscape is changing. Investment on a massive scale is required to maintain security of supply and affordability to consumers, while at the same time reacting to environmental goals. Successive governments have acknowledged the UK’s approaching issues, with energy reviews in 2002 and 2006, and Energy White Papers in 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2011. However, what could be viewed as politically difficult decisions have continually been postponed. Faith in the market to deliver has declined due to large-scale interventionist policy and the prospect of financial support from government for certain types of major development project. ADL advises the politicians to take the following steps in order to alleviate these problems, which should encourage external investors to make commitments: l Declare the 2030 decarbonisation targets now l Reintroduce competitive tension to the market l Provide realistic long-term certainty to investors l Reconsider the CfD and rethink obligation-based mechanisms l Differentiate support mechanisms between lower and high risk capital projects “A major re-evaluation of policy now might be politically embarrassing, but investors need some certainty and action very soon to avoid the lights going out,” added White. “There is a danger this could happen if too much intervention paralyses investors, and the hoped for response from industry and interconnectors does not materialise.” The full report can be downloaded at www.adl.com/ UKEnergyPolicy
A smarter way to purchase electricity Energy costs are rising – that is an indisputable fact, and more and more businesses are looking for additional ways to use, and pay for electricity more efficiently. The introduction of smart meters is helping both households and businesses have more control over their energy usage. Tom Rix, Settlement Performance Manager at Haven Power, looks at what they will mean, long term, for businesses.
lectricity Smart meters have been designed to replace existing meters. They work in a similar way to an ordinary electricity meter, except they have the ability to read and send electricity readings to the supplier immediately. Crucially, the meter provider can communicate directly with the meter automatically and pass the reading onto the energy company. This removes the inconvenience of manual meter reading and reduces the likelihood of estimated bills. With the roll-out of smart meters now delayed, has the opinion about them changed, or are they still viewed by the majority as the future of energy consumption management? Many businesses that have been using smart meters over the past few years have found them very beneficial. Smart meter technology allows you to effectively monitor energy use and can help to keep costs down. This can be done by monitoring power usage during peak and offpeak hours and recognising wasteful consumption. At Haven, we offer two smart metering options – available with all of our NHH contracts. The Installation package is a low-cost
option for smart meter installation designed to give customers 12 automatic readings a year to ensure payments accurately reflect consumption. The Control package is more comprehensive and lets customers choose to have access to the daily pattern of their electricity usage via the web. With secure online access, customers’ recorded half-hourly usage is displayed in a clear pattern for each day enabling them to address unnecessary usage in their business. Through the use of smart meters, both households and businesses have the opportunity to play a more active role in managing their energy usage. The convenience factor is a major advantage as we are only too aware of the frustration inaccurate bills can cause. In the long-run, we believe smart meters have a major role to play in reducing the UK’s carbon footprint, and will allow people to reduce consumption and eliminate wastage. To find out more about Haven’s smart metering options, call 01473 707755 or email email@example.com
At its heart, smart metering is about providing each home and small business with a much clearer view of their energy consumption, helping them to change behaviour and identify opportunities to use less over time
David Green discusses how smart meters will help address issues within the energy trilemma
he utilities industry is at the forefront of tackling the triple challenge of achieving energy sustainability, making it affordable and securing supply. At times this so-called ‘energy trilemma’ can seem almost impossible to solve. Indeed, there is no simple ‘silver bullet’ solution. However, with the right combination of proven technology and consumer engagement, the planned nationwide rollout of smart metering technology can make a vital contribution. The average home in Great Britain contains 41 electronic devices (according
The more energy we can save, the more we will reduce CO2 emissions. Smart meters can also be read remotely, avoiding the carbon previously associated with journeys to and from each home for engineers to read meters manually. The government estimates that smart metering could lead to CO2 reductions of around 38 million tonnes.
to the Energy Saving Trust Report 2012) including washing machines, kettles and TVs. This is compared with a dozen or so in the 1970s, so it is no surprise that we’re struggling to find a balance between affordability, security of supply and sustainable living. Rising energy prices, dependence on imported fuels, the need to reduce CO2 emissions and ageing energy infrastructure all add to a complex and seemingly intractable challenge. Therefore, as a country we need to transform how we consume and manage energy. Smart metering has an important role to play. From 2015, utility companies will roll out around 50 million smart meters into every home in Great Britain. Smart meters have the potential to deliver billions in energy and cost savings for consumers, as well as utilities. They present a unique opportunity to help the country make progress with addressing its energy trilemma by driving sustainability, making energy more affordable as well as supporting supply diversity and security.
Sustainability: saving energy and carbon At its heart, smart metering is about providing each home and small business with a much clearer view of their energy consumption, helping them to change behaviour and identify opportunities to use less over time. By helping consumers understand how they use energy and the associated costs, they will be able to manage and reduce consumption. But the benefits are by no means guaranteed. From the outset, a positive consumer experience, backed by technology that works from the very first installation visit to each home, will be essential in order to create confidence in smart meters and the data and savings that they can provide. The choice of communications technology will have a major impact on success. Smart meters rely on the two-way communication of data, yet, especially in Great Britain, smart meters are often located deep inside buildings in positions that existing public networks find difficult to reach. Given this challenge, it is vital that smart metering communications technology has been proven to connect to smart meters across all types of location in Great Britain’s unique environment. Our experience from trials in Glasgow, rural Scotland, Ipswich and Reading shows that it is possible to connect over 99 per cent of meters first time using a single long-range
radio technology. The easier it is to connect smart meters to the communications network, the simpler it will be to install smart meters in each home and the better will be the experience for each household. The more comfortable people feel about this new technology, the more likely they will be to embrace it and start to use it to save energy. Therefore, to maximise consumer support, and increase willingness to use smart meters to help save energy, the right technology must also be combined with a co-ordinated, sustained, programme of consumer engagement. This will need to include practical support for the fuel poor and vulnerable in order to ensure that everybody can share in the benefits that smart meters can offer. The more energy we can save, the more we will reduce CO2 emissions. Smart meters can also be read remotely, avoiding the carbon previously associated with journeys to and from each home for engineers to read meters manually. The government estimates that smart metering could lead to CO2 reductions of around 38 million tonnes.
Affordability: realising the economic benefits of smart metering If it is executed well, then smart metering also holds out the promise of significant economic benefits – around £7 billion in net cost savings, according to government, through energy savings, carbon savings, supplier cost savings and peak load shifting. Smart meters are also an important stepping-stone to smart grids, which could deliver billions of pounds of additional benefits through avoided electricity network reinforcement costs and operational efficiencies. However, these benefits will only be achieved if the right technology is selected: one that can support the mass rollout of smart meters and ensure that meters can connect first time, regardless of location. Using proven technology to connect and communicate with smart meters wherever they are, nationwide, will be critical to deliver smart metering on time and on budget.
Security of supply: increasing diversity and resilience Lastly, smart metering can contribute to making the supply of energy more diverse, less dependent on imported fuels and therefore more secure. Smart meters will support more diverse electricity and heat production, including micro-generation
The future – delivering sustainability, costs savings and security of supply in people’s homes where the level of production and net ‘exports’ to the grid will vary considerably over time. In particular, smart meters will give much greater visibility of local electricity networks, supporting the more flexible, dynamic grid management that will be needed to accommodate variable flows from renewable energy. Smart meters will also help to support automated management of energy use, which in turn can help to smooth out consumption and reduce the amount of grid capacity needed at peak times. Smart meters will therefore help to support both the supply and demand aspects of the evolution of smarter grids. Smart grids themselves will become a key part of our critical national infrastructure. It is therefore essential that the grids, as well as the communications and other technologies that underpin them are inherently reliable, resilient and secured against cyber attacks.
Smart meters have a role to play in helping us address the energy trilemma by simultaneously saving energy, delivering economic benefits and increasing the diversity and resilience of energy supply. However, this starts with the consumer. It is vital that consumers engage with smart meters from the outset to create early momentum, and that proven technology is selected to reduce rollout risks and support a positive consumer experience. Consumers are far more likely to save energy if they get a reliable and consistent service. u David Green is business development director at SmartReach. SmartReach is a collaboration of Arqiva, BT, BAE Systems Detica and Sensus for smart metering communications in Great Britain. Combined, they bring a wealth of smart metering, communications and security experience with a strong track record of managing critical national infrastructure. For further information, visit: http://smartreach.com/.
It is vital that consumers engage with smart meters from the outset to create early momentum, and that proven technology is selected to reduce rollout risks and support a positive consumer experience. Consumers are far more likely to save energy if they get a reliable and consistent service
With the current tough economic conditions and utility costs rising, businesses need to act on any unnecessary utility expenditure as a matter of urgency
insight How efficient utilities management can improve sustainability profiles. By Tim Clapham
ow more than ever, sustainability is at the forefront of business objectives, and is increasingly becoming a board issue. Organisations are being put under increased pressure to understand their environmental impact, and to take necessary measures to control it. This doesnâ€™t just include energy;
water, waste and natural gas are also important areas in which organisations need to have visibility. Whatâ€™s more, with the current tough economic conditions and utility costs rising, businesses need to act on any unnecessary utility expenditure as a matter of urgency. By monitoring its operations more effectively,
sustainability (MCR), which will require companies to include CO2 emissions data in their annual reports. Whilst many large organisations have existing initiatives in place to improve their sustainability profile, the majority of smaller to medium-sized firms are still yet to implement an integrated approach that can monitor the entire organisation – an approach that is vital to comply with regulation such as MCR. Other initiatives such as BREEAM and LEED (a programme that provides thirdparty verification of green buildings) are also being imposed on organisations in order to encourage better practice when it comes to sustainability. BREEAM sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation, and has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognised measures of a building’s environmental performance. LEED is a green building tool that addresses the entire building lifecycle, encouraging companies to have lower operating costs and increased asset value, while conserving energy, water and other resources. By taking these measures into account during the first stages of building construction or office design, businesses will be able to minimise their energy and utility requirements from the offset.
How organisations can analyse their sustainability profile
an organisation can often identify areas in which resources are being used inefficiently and then take steps to improve this. By managing their utility use in this way, organisations will find they are able to reduce costs whilst also benefiting from an improved sustainability profile.
Regulations are encouraging sustainability Regulations such as Mandatory Carbon Reporting and BREEAM (the assessment method to gauge the sustainability performance of buildings), as well as the reputational consequences of having a bad sustainability profile, are all putting pressure on organisations to meet both compliance requirements and public expectations. As such, it’s never been more important for companies to have visibility into, and control over, their sustainability profile. From 2016, all organisations will have to comply with Mandatory Carbon Reporting
Careful monitoring of key utilities can provide insight into an organisation’s current situation and help them identify areas for improvement. Once changes have been made, organisations can see the measurable results of savings. In order to achieve this goal, businesses can use specialist software to take a more integrated approach by bringing together various data from different sources. This way, companies can collect all the information they need to identify opportunities to reduce costs, maximise energy efficiency and comply with regulation. This approach can give organisations unparalleled insight into the most important factors affecting their sustainability profiles, and can also make the audit process much more simple for businesses by automatically recording all the information needed for the purpose of analysis and reporting.
Creating ROI through sustainability Improvements like these will not only improve a company’s sustainability profile, but will also boost the overall operational efficiency of the business. By gaining insight
into crucial operational factors such as the consumption of energy, gas, water and waste flows, businesses can generate a summary of energy consumption across the business during specific periods of time in order to identify opportunities and areas for improvement. For example, if an organisation can see that two of its buildings’ capacities are only being used 50 per cent of the time, it may be able to consolidate operations to just one building, and therefore make savings on energy costs and utilities waste. In addition to business benefits like these, increasing regulation will also encourage businesses to review their operations in order to identify excessive utility usage and costs to help improve future sustainability. For modern businesses, this fully integrated and holistic approach is vital to achieving these goals. Ultimately, the required improvements in the area of sustainability can only be realised if they are implemented and monitored within the framework of a results-focused project with clearly defined goals, resources and plans. By doing this, organisations will be able to improve their sustainability profiles, improve operational efficiency and reduce utilities costs. u Tim Clapham is a director at Planon Software. Planon is the leading global software provider that enables organisations to solve their facility management and real estate challenges effectively with superior software solutions and excellent customer service. The Planon Solutions include real estate management, space & workplace management, maintenance management, integrated services management and sustainability management. For further information visit: www.planonsoftware.com.
thermals Jayne Law discusses how energy efficiency can be used as a platform for innovation
Unless things change, energy costs threaten to become the enemy of financial freedom for a significant section of the population and a competitive burden on the UK as it competes in a global economy
hen I first entered what was then a rather limited thermal insulation industry, over 25 years ago - selling STYROFOAM extruded polystyrene insulation to architects and end users of all types - I was amused by the fact that as a nation we were insulating many agricultural buildings far better than any new properties built for human occupation. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t begrudge the chickens and pigs a warm bed for the night, but they, or their chicks and piglets, didn’t have to worry about the cost of turning up the thermostat to cope with cold snaps: after all, at Dow we were busy helping to wrap their sheds with materials to keep them cosy. Subsidies no doubt helped, but along with animal welfare, energy costs were of primary importance and the main driver for the farmer. Let’s just say, common economic sense prevailed. Over the years, the construction industry began to make progress and the use of thermal insulation began to take shape. However, until more recently, its use was pretty limited. Back in the 1980s, pioneering property developers installed 50mm of fibre in the loft and 25mm of board foam into
cavity walls. It was good news, and a step in the right direction (considering there was no legislation driving it – only a document asking them to make ‘reasonable provision’ for the conservation of fuel). However, it’s worth pointing out that at the same time the piglets were snuggled up with 80mm thickness of insulation. As with the farmer back then, the burden of energy costs are catching up with us all, and fast - at home, in the office we work in or at our manufacturing facilities. Here in the UK, we really shouldn’t be facing the fact that more people are being pushed into fuel poverty, which of course has its own impact on health and well-being. In short, unless things change, energy costs threaten to become the enemy of financial freedom for a significant section of the population and a competitive burden on the UK as it competes in a global economy. But it’s far from all doom and gloom. Government departments such as the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are thankfully taking the issue very seriously. I am pleased to say that over the recent decade or so energy efficiency has become an integral part of any new building for human occupation.
MAINTENANCE There are of course more steps to take before we can consider our work done, but we can thank pioneers such as the Association for the Conservation of Energy, whose bold efforts have brought about changes in legislation and helped to establish what is required for continued future improvement. Farmers saw the benefit of improved energy efficiency because they were paying the energy bill and wanted their animals to thrive. But, think about this - building designers, developers or contractors rarely pay the energy bills. It’s a shame, but it’s a fact that it takes progressive legislation to increase energy efficiency and make a change that will, at some time in the not too distant future, mean that the owner or occupier of a newly built property will not be burdened with escalating energy costs. Buildings last a long time and many of our families, friends and neighbours are still living or working in old, poorly insulated or even completely un-insulated buildings. However, the framework to make real change is here and now. The noise is louder than ever before, and not just within government and industry: people around the UK are finally talking about energy efficiency of the buildings they occupy. This means that an opportunity for British industry is unfolding, not just in the construction market, but the manufacturing industry, the chemical industry, the services industry, the energy sector, and beyond. The prospects for growth in my specific industry – thermal insulation - are better than ever. So what role can innovation play? As a manufacturer of thermal insulation products we’ve been developing everthicker products that deliver more insulation ‘power’. We are seeing the tide turn. In the past, thermal insulation had to fit with building methods, but now for the first time, building methods themselves are changing
because of the demand for greater insulation thicknesses. We’ve also made strides in the processes we use to manufacture insulation materials. We at Dow take carbon dioxide from industry and use it a blowing agent to produce our foams, bringing major environmental improvements. But let’s face it, apart from overcoming some mechanically challenging production limitations and technical hurdles, that’s really as far as we’ve got: the biggest opportunity is yet to come if we are willing to embrace it. If we want thermal insulation within the
construction industry to up its game and create the next generation of insulation products and solutions, then we in industry must play our part and rise to the challenge. Those who dare will win – those who invest in new thinking, in research and development and ultimately in new production methods are the future. My dream is for the next generation of insulation to emerge as being painted on, wrapped around, unfolded, or stretched into place. And to me that is the day the thermal insulation industry will have truly entered the 21st century and come of age. So the opportunity to really innovate is finally with us. If we in industry embrace it, we become creators, leaders, exporters, and winners in a whole new world of energy efficient solutions. The new home, office, school or hospital of this decade – with true commitment to building regulations and progressive legislation - will need walls consisting of at least 200mm thick thermal insulation. And all around us, old buildings need to be refurbished to that standard too. However, in order to be practical, that 200mm thick of thermal insulation will actually need to be 50mm or far less, yet offer the same thermal performance. It’s now time for a step change in science, in attitudes, in investment and joint government-industry commitment to make the difference. Thanks to DECC and initiatives such as the Green Deal and ECO, we in industry have the platform: so let’s not waste the opportunity. u
Jayne Law works at Dow Building Solutions UK and Ireland. Dow Building Solutions is a division of The Dow Chemical Company. The UK business supplies systems and products that help construction professionals to design and build energy efficient, high performance buildings from residential to commercial, supporting the Green Deal, The Code for Sustainable Homes, BREEAM and Passivhaus design criteria. For further information, visit: www.styrofoam.co.uk.
for the people?
Paul Way discusses how automated services can find their way into consumersâ€™ favour
ash machines, photo booths and supermarket self-service checkouts are all examples of automated services that may have seemed strange to those using them for the first time, but are now a part of our everyday lives. In each case, technology allows us to access a service faster than the non-automated alternative. Attempts to do away with call centre queues by the same means have, however, had a rough ride from the public. Research shows that, on average, automated solutions can halve the time it takes for customers to resolve a given query but, historically, that has not been the perceptions of customers themselves. Thankfully, the issues that have prevented widespread adoption of that technology have largely been overcome. Customer service standards remain hugely important in the utilities industry, with research suggesting that over two-thirds of energy customers would consider switching provider because of poor customer service. The expectations of those customers are changing, with the increase in multi-channel customer service platforms. Access to the contact centre through phone, webchat, social media,
VoIP and Skype video conferencing has raised customer expectations to the point where many assume that they will be able to access one-to-one customer service remotely – whenever and however they choose. In most cases, this drives demand for customer service agents, which makes it even more desirable to take some of the workload away from call centre staff. Pressure on utilities to keep prices low has never been higher, and that means that savings must be found elsewhere. That makes automated customers services attractive but, in an era when it has never been easier to switch provider, it is also imperative that service levels are maintained. The good news is that, in general, customers are not wedded to personal interaction; by nature they are task orientated. Most people simply want to address the matter at hand as quickly and efficiently as possible, and will adopt the means by which they find this easiest to do. In the past, they’d have simply viewed speaking to an agent as the path of least resistance, but this is starting to change. For particularly complicated queries and transactions, a good customer service agent will always be irreplaceable, but improvements in technology have meant that automated systems – be it through the phone channel, mobile apps or web avatars - can now offer customers the quickest solution for a much greater proportion of queries than before. In addition to the customer service benefits, automation can lead to significant cost savings (up to two
thirds) for cash-strapped enterprises. Thanks to the iPhone’s Siri, most consumers are now familiar with the idea, if not quite the reality, of speech-powered, artificially intelligent solutions. Siri has found favour precisely because it allows customers to complete tasks faster and easier than the alternative. That technology can now be integrated into customerservice apps and, with a smartphone now in the pocket of the majority of consumers, mobile applications offer a wide range of possibilities for organisations seeking new ways to meet the needs of their customers. Similarly, the use of natural language technology in text-based web applications is tackling many of the navigational and user-experience issues that have previously restricted the usefulness of web-based selfservice facilities. So long as the channel is able to directly address the most common queries (however they are expressed), and can pass a customer on to a human agent if required, systems like this can help customers complete simple transactions and enquiries much faster than if they were they to wait in the queue to speak to an agent. The key to successful automation of customer service channels will be moving from a multi-channel to a cross channel approach, which allows customers to move from automated to non-automated services without having to restart their transaction. Crucially, that approach allows organisations to draw insights from many different information sources, helping them to design a system tailored
to the particular needs of their customers. Whether a customer is simply asking to pay their bill or reporting a power outage or burst water main, understanding customer conversations in an automated setting can vastly improve the outcome and the time in which an appropriate reaction is delivered. By letting the customer communicate their request in natural language and be understood, an organisation is more likely to get the right answer to the customer, through whichever contact channel they have chosen to use. History shows us that as soon as automated technology is able to offer an equivalent service (or even a better, more convenient service) at a lower price, it immediately finds its way into consumers’ day-to-day lives. To move towards that point, it is crucial to put the customer front and centre of the decision-making process, whenever any changes to customer service operations are being considered. u
Paul Way is director, UK, at Nuance Communications. Nuance’s automated solutions for utility companies help keep customers appraised of outages and access their account information. Nuance provides tailored, phone-based customer service solutions that support intuitive, informative interactions between utility customers and their customers – helping with smooth smart grid deployments and all other inbound/outbound customer interactions. For further information visit: www.nuance. co.uk/for-business/by-industry/energyutilities/index.htm.
On the move and out in the field - mobile technology in utilities. By Ian Davies
Within the industry itself, the concerns of customer service improvements, the aging workforce and enabling a more responsive field workforce are driving many utilities to re-evaluate key business operations
gainst a pan-European backdrop of regulatory change, increased consumer awareness of price and choice and concerns over energy security, the utility sector is facing many challenges and opportunities over the next decade. Within the industry itself, the concerns of customer service improvements, the aging workforce and enabling a more responsive field workforce are driving many utilities to reevaluate key business operations, processes and the technology that supports them. Core to many of these initiatives and achieving new levels of service and field worker productivity is ensuring seamless access to critical asset and customer data. Research has confirmed a strong correlation between a highly productive mobile workforce and ensuring utility networks deliver continuous service and meet customer service standards. As a result, empowering a mobile workforce is now a key concern for many utilities. As both the workforce and utility infrastructures age, many utilities are considering wireless technologies to help manage information, assets and workers.
Mobile applications in utilities Connecting mobile workers with the information and human resources they require delivers many strategic benefits to utilities.
These can be grouped into three main areas - reduced operating costs, improved asset life and increased customer satisfaction. At the tactical level these benefits are seen in metrics such as increased on-time responses, greater â€˜wrench timeâ€™, and more job completions. Travel to the next job is less, which not only saves time, but also reduces vehicle emissions, and cuts down missed appointments. The financial savings of this increased productivity are seen in decreased crew hours and overheads. Further improvements to the bottom line can be realised by automating the work order process to help reduce operating costs. Additional benefits include enabling seamless, real time and interoperable communications with field workers, centralised support staff, utility management and first responders in emergency situations. Management is improved by incorporating training, work administration, and performance monitoring. And by improving collaboration and enhancing knowledge transfer, utilities can begin to address the challenge of an aging workforce. The applications to enable these benefits can be covered off in three main categories: Next generation asset management and analytics - Advanced analytics draw on powerful analysis platforms to present data
and complex interrelationships in a manner designed for the business and operational needs of different types of utility employees. From the field, to the asset manager, to the boardroom, asset analytics provide critical intelligence to ensure that appropriate decisions can be made in real time. Modern mobile versions of asset analytics provide utility field crews with a thorough understanding of an assetâ€™s inspection and maintenance history and help field crews better understand the importance of the accuracy of data they are capturing. Real-time scheduling - Customer service in the utility sector has been lagging and much of this has to do with how customers engage with their local utilities. While many experienced field technicians generally know their territory and the likely duration of different tasks, the same does not hold for less experienced workers and frequently, schedules developed by less experienced workers, can result in productivity decreases. Mobile workforce applications that include real-time scheduling prevent this productivity drop-off. As the crew finishes its emergency tasks, realtime schedulers immediately produce new schedules that start from the current location and follow rules for task priority and drive time. Job training and monitoring - Experienced workers carry in their heads the correct safety techniques and job structure. Mobile workforce software incorporates that knowledge and makes it accessible via tools like checklists and context sensitive help. It ensures that less experienced crews meet utilities' safety and compliance guidelines. As a result, mobile workforce management software can standardise tasks and guide newer employees through each step,
decreasing the time it takes to become productive. These applications also enable better and more accessible asset records, improved documentation, and integration with video and image management solutions to provide remote support capabilities. Integration standards also enable efficient crossdepartmental business processes.
The right platform A variety of mobile form factors are being used to support field workers in the utility sector, and tablets represent an increasingly viable choice. The tablet provides a strong balance of a highly portable device with sufficient display real estate to support the graphics rich applications common in the utility sector. As a result of these benefits, according to research by VDC, over six in ten utilities are either currently using tablet PCs or are evaluating tablets for use among their field workers. While much of the attention directed towards tablets has been for consumeroriented devices, consumer devices have limitations when it comes to enterprise-use cases. The challenges end users express with consumer tablets in the enterprise span everything from core device functionality to management of these devices by enterprise IT departments and their security limitations. The ability to seamlessly interact with backend systems and integrate with legacy applications including support for capabilities such as rapid updating also rank highly in this list of concerns. For utility service technicians, critical requirements of a successful mobile platform include: l Durable, yet lightweight design. Failure
rates are a critical concern as they can substantially disrupt workflows. Devices designed to withstand inclement conditions and the potential for occasional drops are ideal. Another key requirement is the ability to interface with the display with wet hands or in wet conditions. l Display daylight visibility. While consumer device displays are visually appealing, in sunlight or ambient light conditions they wash out. A display that can be easily read in these conditions is a key benefit, if not essential. l Application suitability. Many back-end utility applications are designed to operate in a Windows environment. Leveraging these platform investments and ensuring forward compatibility is critical for many utilities. l Input/output configuration options. Mobile workforce management applications require a variety of input output configuration options ranging from signature capture, bar code, GPS, image and video capture, multi touch interface and magnetic stripe readers. l Embedded wireless functionality. With more data moving to the cloud, a seamless wireless network connection, carrier (3G/4G) or Wi-Fi is critical. l Unobtrusive, yet robust security. Security requirements are becoming even more stringent due to increased regulation. For mobile devices this likely means both hardware-based encryption, trusted boot functions, data-at-rest encryption, and remote lock and wipe capabilities. While security â€“ especially for mobile insurance solutions â€“ needs to be unobtrusive, sacrifices for the sake of ease of use cannot be made. Based on these demands, and the driving force of customer service improvements, an aging workforce and a need to reduce operational cost, the tablet PC is set to become a stable fixture across the utility sector, especially out in the field and on the front line of service.u Ian Davies is country manager for Motion Computing. Motion Computing is the worldwide leader in rugged tablet PCs and mobility solutions, combining world-class products with services customised for the unique needs of mobile professionals across vertical markets, such as field service, retail and healthcare. For further information visit: www.motioncomputing.com.
Businesses are increasingly combining access control, video surveillance and intruder detection systems into one integrated solution designed to offer maximum protection of assets and a safe and secure working environment for employees
Ian Hodgson looks at the key security measures to consider that can improve utility plant security and deter criminal activity
tility plants and facilities can be seen as goldmines for would-be criminals, who target them for high value equipment and material. Sabotage, vandalism and acts of terrorism are some of the other threats posed to the sites. The possible consequences of criminal activity can be incredibly damaging; potentially causing disruption to national infrastructure. Robust security should therefore be a key priority for any operations manager to help ensure asset security, business continuity and staff safety while helping to mitigate potential risks. Through implementing a considered approach to physical security, utilities managers can address the typical physical vulnerabilities of utility plants, which include water, electricity, gas and telecoms.
An industry demanding integrated solutions We know that the operational and commercial success of any business depends on its ability to manage risk and
many achieve this by going well beyond basic standalone physical security systems. Businesses are increasingly combining access control, video surveillance and intruder detection systems into one integrated solution designed to offer maximum protection of assets and a safe and secure working environment for employees by enhancing the effectiveness of security systems through vastly improved communication. It is therefore vital that these security solutions be tailored to the specific business requirements and specifications of the building and site, looking specifically at the layout, location and surrounding areas to determine the most effective solution. Additionally, premises security is also an important consideration due to insurance, with a physical security system often being a requirement for policies.
Controlling the flow of vehicles and people In recent times, there have been cases where criminals have used vehicles to ‘ram raid’ walls to gain access to a facilities. In addition to equipment or stock loss, such acts also cause large amounts of structural damage and significant disruption for the business. Security should therefore begin at the site perimeter, to restrict and control access to the site. Access control systems; such as barriers, bollards and ramps can help to physically control the flow of vehicles to and from the site. Access control for vehicles can be controlled using radio-frequency identification (RFID) for contactless access control and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR); ensuring only permitted vehicles are allowed to pass through with minimal inconvenience for staff, contractors and visitors. When ANPR is combined with High Definition Mega-Pixel CCTV at each access point, security operators are able to track the flow of vehicles and staff to and from the site through clear, sharp images. This reduces the chance of any suspicious activity going unnoticed. Biometrics (fingerprint or retina scanners), smartcards or passwords, should be used in order to control the movement of people within the building. Access control
smartcards can also be integrated with employee time and attendance, providing additional analytics, cost savings and benefits to the business.
Casting a sharper eye on criminal activity HD CCTV technology is being rapidly deployed as it provides a higher quality of discernible detail compared with older CCTV technology, thereby greatly improving image quality for facial recognition purposes. CCTV can also be mounted on existing IP networks; reducing installation costs, allowing for remote monitoring and providing greater coverage through more versatile camera placement. This level of detail also means that postevent analysis can be conducted far more quickly; enabling investigators to analyse and process data more efficiently and accurately in the event of a problem. Electronic timestamps also allow for quicker and more accurate searching of archived data for police and security staff when conducting criminal investigations.
Bringing it all together on a PSIM A Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) software platform unifies all of these solutions, simplifying the command and control of otherwise disparate security systems. It seamlessly brings together events from individual access control, CCTV, intruder detection and fire systems, thereby
greatly enhancing the situational awareness of security operators and reducing the time needed to react to any security infringements. Pre-defined logic can also be programmed for incoming events; this means that an appropriate response and workflow is presented to operators based on the unfolding scenario.
Key takeaways Operations managers want all of these technologies on an easy to manage platform, one that allows 24/7 remote monitoring and offering cost efficiencies without sacrificing overall security levels. This is known as an ‘integrated system’, where each, previously standalone, component communicates with a focal platform. By following the tangible steps discussed, and implementing a multi-layered integrated security approach, utility plants can easily enhance their overall security, ensuring both the safety of staff, the protection of equipment and stock, and safeguarding their bottom line. Combine this with the constant surveillance of people and vehicles on the property and operations managers can be reassured their property is secure - no matter what time of day. u Ian Hodgson is managing director, North Region at ADT Fire & Security. ADT Fire & Security, a Tyco business, is the UK and Ireland’s largest electronic security company based on revenues. In the UK and Ireland, ADT’s portfolio includes intruder alarms, video surveillance, access control, electronic article surveillance, radio frequency identification, fire detection, integrated solutions and monitoring. For further information visit: www.adt.co.uk or www.adt.ie.
Could live Premiership football reduce energy bills? Saul Nurtman discusses how utilities could branch out into other areas
The company that currently enables people to view live Premiership football in the comfort of their homes could also power the device on which it is watched
tilities are big business. The average annual domestic utility bill has risen from £590 in 2004 to £1420 in 2013 (source: http:// www.regulation.org.uk/energy.shtml) – a 240 per cent increase in less than a decade. According to recent speculation, if this trend continues, energy bills could overtake mortgages in five years’ time. (Source: www. telegraph.co.uk) However, the overall billing format has remained the same, for the most part. Meter Operators (MOPs) visit properties quarterly and report meter readings to the service providers who then update their billing systems and send estimated bills out monthly. Ninety-eight per cent of domestic properties are served by the ‘Big Six’ (British Gas, E.On, N-Power, EDF Energy, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE)) with the remaining two per cent covered by smaller companies, such as Ecotricity, Ovo Energy and other new entrants. In 2011, it was reported that consumers lacked the motivation to move to a new provider because they assumed that rates
were similar across the industry and viewed the process of switching suppliers as complicated and time-consuming. In order to ensure value for consumers, the government ruled that all energy providers must ensure their customers are on the cheapest possible tariff for them, and have recently regulated that no company may have more than four products on offer. Whilst this sounds like good news for the consumer, as it makes direct comparison of tariffs across the network easier, it reduces pressure upon providers to innovate and compete with a wide range of tariff and service options. This is good news for utilities billing systems that struggle to cope with frequent changes of customer data. Thanks to a tradition of estimated billing and few physical readings, the Big Six have survived with antiquated billing systems capable of handling the minimum client data. This is all about to change, however, with the introduction of smart meters – the biggest change to hit utility billing since the introduction of automated billing technology. By the end of 2019, it was envisaged that
every home in the UK will have a smart meter, taking hourly or half hourly readings and sending this continuous data stream back to the utilities providers: approximately 17,520 pieces of data per annum. This will present a significant problem for traditional billing systems. The Big Six share 30 million residential customers between them, so they will have to make some big changes or face drowning in data. Consequently, the powerful Six have successfully lobbied government to extend the rollout deadline to 2020 in order to give them more time to update their business systems and processes (www. informationweek.co.uk) It’s a big challenge for the suppliers, but good news for the consumer, who will receive accurate monthly bills and be able to monitor their energy usage precisely. As the data available becomes more and more sophisticated, so consumers will be able to demand more information from their utility provider. Bills and consumption will be more closely and accurately examined, in much the same way as one is able to interrogate a telephone bill, pinpointing peaks in
energy usage as one would a long-distance telephone call. Companies who adopt and embrace intelligent billing technology will be the big winners in this ‘smart’ world. New systems using half hourly reports from smart meters will be able to identify trends and gaps in the data, and detect and resolve problems quickly, meaning meter downtime (and therefore bill accuracy) is affected as little as possible. New energy companies should be able to adopt the new billing technology from the outset, but new entrants to the market face other kinds of barriers. Large setup costs and initial cash flow issues are a barrier to market entry to all but few. In order to keep costs to a minimum, many new entrants buy basic billing systems with limited functionality. The problem is these cheaper systems cannot cope as the volume of data reaches a significant size, and the billing system becomes a barrier to growth. Junifer Systems have recently introduced a Software as a Service (SaaS) product to allow new entrants to use a ‘lite’ version
of the full Junifer Customer Information System (Junifer CIS) used by larger utilities. This SaaS offering avoids the need for hardware and skilled IT people but means the new entrants can grow and upscale to the full version when they reach critical mass. Crucially, the SaaS version can handle continuous data as well as identifying trends, gaps and meter breakdowns. When suppliers have adopted billing systems able to cope with the increased data volumes, it is possible that they will open a door to the next stage of their company’s evolution. Returning to the example of the telecoms industry and billing, the utilities sector could expand in a similar vein. Where once telecoms operators supplied one landline telephone per household, now they have ‘triple play’. Many offer home telephony, broadband and entertainment packages with discounts if customers take two or three services. Across their networks, their billing systems are designed to cope with more than 100 billion call records per annum. These triple play providers, with a large consumer base and sophisticated billing system designed to cope with high data rates and dynamic billing, could potentially enter the utilities space and provide reduced-cost energy to the customer subscribing to the entertainment and broadband package. The company that currently enables people to view live Premiership football in the comfort of their homes could also power the device on which it is watched. Companies like Sky, Virgin and BT could provide a real threat to the Big Six, giving millions of people not only the option, but a multi-service, commercial incentive to switch provider. But this is a two way street. Already, some forward-thinking utilities companies are fighting back and branching into the realms of home telephone and broadband. Should they succeed, it can be assumed that others will quickly follow suit, and in the not-too-distant future, subscribing to Live Premiership Football could indeed reduce a household’s energy bills.u Saul Nurtman is CEO at Junifer Systems. Junifer Systems is a global provider of customer information systems (CIS) to the utility industry, specialising in billing systems for traditional and smart meter deployments. For today’s utility, Junifer is focused on developing the critical software applications to power the new ‘smart world’ where large volumes, innovative products/ pricing and customer satisfaction will become the operational focus. For further information visit: www.junifersystems.com.
working Siltbuster Process Solutions signs a ‘first of a kind’ treatment equipment and process support deal with Dwr-Cymru Welsh Water
We are seeing more and more requests from the water companies for our services, as the challenge upon capital project expenditure becomes ever more apparent in the current economic climate
iltbuster Process Solutions (SPS) has been appointed on a two-year region-wide framework with DwrCymru Welsh Water, one of the first of its kind in the UK water industry. SPS is to supply a range of wastewater treatment equipment and process support, to help Welsh Water maintain effluent quality while works are being refurbished and to bolster treatment capacity at peak times. This contract is unique because it ensures that Welsh Water has access to high levels of technical expertise in ‘process solutions’ as well as a large fleet of equipment for hire. It will save money because the contract allows for favourable rates for equipment hire and sale. It will also mitigate the risk of failing consent and prevent costly time and effort being expended to find temporary wastewater treatment equipment at the last minute or in the case of an emergency. Nia Derec, Welsh Water local asset management solutions manager says: “To have that level of knowledge and process solution expertise in a single contact point makes a tremendous difference. We really value the agility of the SPS system whose large fleet we can draw on as and when we need.” Welsh Water supplies water and sewerage services to over three million people and has a significant maintenance and upgrade
programme being undertaken under AMP5. Under the framework, Welsh Water will be given priority access to SPS’ unique fleet of mobile treatment units that comprises of dissolved air flotation plants (DAFs), lamella clarifiers and access to submerged aerated filters (SAFs). This range of mobile treatment equipment enables SPS to offer Welsh Water and other clients, the ability to install a full biological process stream within a matter of weeks. Under the framework, SPS provides a full one-stop-shop offering from initial sampling and analysis, process design, solution selection and installation to commissioning and training. In selecting the preferred process, the team at SPS is able to not only consider the individual process characteristics of the site, but also site wide issues such as the interface with the main refurbishment works as well as the physical constraints on the site. All of this ensures SPS provides a low maintenance solution that works. Examples of work already undertaken for Welsh Water include: l Temporary final Settlement Tank Replacement - A cost effective solution was needed to increase capacity at one of its works during the holiday season, when the local population grew from 450 to 4500. SPS provided two mobile settlement tanks
case study to act as humus settlement tanks. l Continuous process support was necessary throughout the commissioning period, due to changing settlement characteristics of the solids from the varying loads passing through the works as the holiday season developed. Following a successful first season, the solution is now ‘semi-permanent’ and will be brought online every summer to support the increase in load. l Full biological treatment - SPS was required to provide a simple, yet reliable, complete mobile treatment works, which would enable an existing packaged activated sludge Wastewater Treatment Works to be taken off-line for maintenance. This had previously proved problematic due to the inclusion of two integral final settlement tanks, within the existing plant. SPS supplied two mobile settlement tanks, to work as primary and humus settlement tanks and two mobile Submerged Aerated Filter (SAF) units for biological treatment. The temporary plant was required to treat 6.21 l/s and due to its compact design, this was achieved within a very small working area. l Ongoing aftercare from SPS ensures Welsh Water has been provided with a low risk solution. Compliance has been maintained throughout the project and full flow is also treated, eliminating any need to tanker. The success of the project has allowed Welsh Water to address the long term plans for the site and this approach has now been adopted at a number of other locations. According to Paul Lewis, managing director at SPS, the contract with Dwr-
Cymru Welsh Water is part of a wider trend: “We are seeing more and more requests from the water companies for our services, as the challenge upon capital project expenditure becomes ever more apparent in the current economic climate. The SPS team are technically strong and able to not only provide single process units but more commonly, complete solutions that reduce the client’s risk and create breathing space enabling the water companies to meet the regulatory demands whilst at the same time, allowing more time to value engineer and reduce CAPEX costs. “As we move into AMP6, where the emphasis is generally more focused on the capital maintenance of existing assets, SPS can offer a real environmental, cost effective and sustainable alternative as opposed to the high cost and man-power intensive options to tanker off-site or over-pump. “This is particularly relevant when applied to activated sludge plants, where maintenance on final settlement tanks is essential but there is no easy means of
diverting the flow from the site without resorting to offsite tankering. SPS’ equipment allows for the mixed liquors from the activated sludge plant to be diverted to a mobile DAF for solids liquid separation. The treated water is then discharged whilst the return activated sludge is pumped to the activated sludge plant, leaving the water company free to take its final settlement tanks off-line for maintenance or upgrade. “This deal allows Welsh Water to take a much more strategic approach to maintenance and reduce inconvenience to customers and serves as a blue print for the rest of the water industry to consider.” u SPS has been working for over a decade, supplying high quality, cost-effective water and effluent treatment solutions to the municipal water treatment markets, in the UK and around the globe. Their team has over 100 years of combined experience in the water industry and the company has provided solutions to the majority of the water companies serving England and Wales. For further information visit: www.siltbuster.com.
Kelly Brothers Solar Signs provides the highest quality products, backed up with the best of aftercare service
elly Brothers Solar Signs Ltd is the market leader in the UK for solar powered variable message signs (VMS). It has been in the VMS market for over eight years and really believes in the product it supplies, giving the best customer service and aftercare in the industry to all of its customers. The company has successfully introduced three new VMS products to the UK market recently. The first is the ‘Solar Tech’ ‘MB4’, a smaller version of its proven range of VMS, specially designed for urban areas. With its compact footprint and small, but very high quality 19mm display (capable of up to four lines of text with up to 24 characters per line) this model can be sited in areas previously inaccessible to trailer mounted variable message signs. Secondly, Kelly Brother’s newest product to hit the market is a state-of-the-art colour VMS, which can display graphics and text in five colours (red, green, blue, white and amber) and has an unusually long battery life for this type of sign. Although the use of colour text is not yet permitted on the highway, the company’s colour VMS is perfect for promotions, advertising and events with the ability to import company logos and other graphics giving a stunning visual impact. Finally, the ‘Agile Display’ fixed VMS can be solar or mains powered and are available in many sizes and configurations,
built to customers’ specific requirements. They have the same high quality 19mm signboard as the MB4, allowing excellent graphics to be displayed. All three new sign types can be programmed remotely via the internet and smartphones. Kelly Brothers Solar Signs is the largest supplier of agile signs in the world. It covers all types of road works, from utility and resurfacing to emergency call outs for burst water mains. The company also has a vast amount of experience in the events industry, stretching from all of the major music festivals to the major running and sporting events, air shows, horse trials and motor racing events. It even had a VMS in the Big Brother House and used its VMS for the latest James Bond film whilst on location in London. Furthermore, Kelly Brother’s manufacturer is a family-run business that is passionate about its products. u
For further information please visit www.kelly-bros.com or call 01454 312675
Management Company reports In the years since privatisation, the European utilities industry has been riding a tidal wave of change. It is a ride which brings with it massive investment and operational expenditure, and great opportunities for those in the industry. In each issue Modern Utility Management spotlightâ€™s some of the successful companies working in the utilities market, and allows them to share their best practices and give readers an insight into important issues in the sector. l AEE Renewables l Landis+Gyr
future Helping drive forward the renewable energy movement, AEE Renewables is beginning work on its two latest UK solar photovoltaic farms
renewable energy pioneer and specialist, AEE Renewables is an integrated project developer of solar photovoltaic (PV) and hydro power energy systems. Born in the early 1990s as a small German engineering factory focusing on these technologies, three years ago AEE entered the UK solar market. “Since then we have not only built a number of solar PV farms, but have also created 16 jobs in the country,” describes Adam Withers, project planner. “Wherever possible we employ locally based contractors to work for us in planning, designing, installing our solar PV farms. We cover each project from the first to the last day, including finding suitable sites, planning, financing, construction, operation, and at the end decommissioning. As such we are not just a pure developer. We have in-house resources for each step and co-operate with external specialists where required. Covering the entire value chain helps us design things right the first time round as we know what the requirements of all subsequent steps are.”
To this end AEE Renewables works with a wide range of partners including landowners, utilities, investors and municipalities towards cost effective and profitable solutions. The company’s business model is process-orientated, which means each of these clients are integrated step-by-step starting with the property and landowners. “This means in the beginning of such a project development we are initially investing in the first phase on our own – so site identification, technical feasibility, first design and financial modelling. Then partly in parallel, and subsequent to this first stage we integrate and work closely with investors and utilities,” explains Adam. This approach is focused towards markets with commercial viability in green electricity without subsidies, with Germany and the UK core focuses at present. AEE Renewables is also working at growth markets such as the US, Turkey and Malta. “As an independent project developer we are able to choose the best components according to the requirements of each specific project. Solar is one of the fastest evolving energy technologies in the
Nicholas Pearson Associates Nicholas Pearson Associates is a multi-disciplinary company providing consultancy services in environmental planning, landscape architecture and ecology and associated services of GIS and graphic/digital/3D design. NPA has been active in the energy industry since its inception in 1982, both in the development of renewable and non-renewable sources, helping companies achieve planning permission and deliver schemes on the ground. NPA has been working with AEE since early 2011, with an initial project at Kingston Farm Bradford-on-Avon which has been operational since later 2011. NPA has provided ecological, landscape and planning services to AEE and is delighted to be continuing to support AEE in its development of further solar schemes in the UK.
market, with work ongoing to keep improving the efficiency of the PV modules. Through our in-house R&D capability, we have developed our own solar PV system management software, which enables live performance monitoring, evaluation and surveillance of the
installations on desktop PC and smartphone,” highlights Adam. “The technical know-how and experience of our engineers is another crucial element of our offering, as are the long-term partnerships we hold with companies in areas such as data sourcing, evaluation and management. In particular together with our partner DNO Consulting we have developed an individual substation concept, which has a prefabricated container solution allowing for simple and easy integration during the approval process. Landing of the substation takes less than an hour, and we are able to batch produce during manufacture ensuring a cheaper process for the company,” he continues. Throughout 2010 and 2011 AEE Renewables submitted planning applications for ten solar PV farms in the UK, and was successful in receiving permission for each. Building on this, 2013 has seen AEE Renewables make a number of new additions to its solar parks. The first, Reydon Solar Farm in Suffolk, gained planning permission in April 2013, with construction anticipated for late 2013. The project will feed enough energy into the National Grid to power approximately 1300 homes each year. “It’s also a great example of the integrative work of AEE in involving the local community from the very beginning of a project development process,” enthuses Adam. “Through our consultation process, residents can expect to see many benefits to the local community, including an extensively screened and enhanced environment through additional planting of hedgerows and trees, whilst also improving the local road infrastructure as part of the scheme.” Another project pegged for construction
later in the year is Sevor Farm near Swindon. “This project has been in affiliation with Honda near their South Marston HQ and we have developed an exciting proposal where the energy generated will be used in conjunction with Honda’s other renewable energy schemes to power their operations. Sevor Farm will be one of our largest constructions to date at 9.2MW,” describes Adam. This is another representation of AEE Renewables’ commitment to local residents and ethos to deliver projects that enhance the quality of communities. With Sevor Farm, the company will deliver a number of initiatives including a new electricity tariff scheme, more accessible and resurfaced footpaths in surrounding fields, a rigorous and thorough mitigation planting for site screening, and a reduction in the design area by 40 per cent to alleviate the visual impact concerns of residents living near to the site. “The UK has a legal target to secure 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020,” concludes Adam. “After a steep decline in the cost of solar PV installations and feedin tariffs, solar is now one of the cheapest renewable energy technologies available at scale – cheaper than offshore wind or biomass. Interestingly, solar is also on par with the cost of nuclear, and by the time the UK’s next nuclear reactor is commissioned, solar farms will be will be substantially cheaper.” u
GOLDBECK offers proven construction experience backed by a strong corporate balance sheet. It provides the design, construction and servicing of commercial and large-scale PV plants. The system-driven approach allows for a shorter construction period and immediate yield potential. Customers benefit from the 40 plus years of experience GOLDBECK has in realizing EPC building projects. The GOLDBECK Group has locations throughout Europe and a strong focus on the UK market where it has realized several PV plants with AEE. Matthias Lienekampf, Head of International Sales GOLDBECK Solar GmbH Goldbeckstr. 7, 69493 Hirschberg, Germany T: +49 - 6201 - 8777 5571 Email: matthias.lienekampf@ goldbeck.de www.goldbeck.de
NSF Controls specialises in the production of solenoids, switches, customised components and sub assemblies, supplying diverse global markets and applications including defence, security, energy, tansport and automotive. A million components per annum are produced from the factoryâ€™s UK site. Time proven products and a wealth of technical expertise means it is not limited by catalogue standards. In fact, over 90 per cent of output is application engineered and its successes span a broad variety of applications. Typical examples include valve assemblies, motion locking systems, circuit breakers, secure access control systems and industrial vending machines. NSFâ€™s commitment to consistently high quality manufacturing standards and customer focused operations, along with a flexible approach has proven invaluable to a huge variety of customer groups. Bespoke solutions range from the development of a mechanically latched bi-directional solenoid for power efficient missile control to customised rotary solenoids for use in dog training aids. The
outcome being a much improved product for the client to market, with greater reliability and increased operational lifespan. Sub assemblies manufactured by NSF Controls include a gas valve where design improvements resulted in a more compact, cost effective unit, with a 70 per cent reduction in weight and no impact on performance. NSF has produced over 2.5 million of these valves to date for service in pre-payment and smart-meter applications with no field failures reported. Other assemblies include switch and control harnesses for electric vehicles and security interlock devices for industrial and military markets. Typical applications for the companyâ€™s switch products are communication and test equipment, temperature control systems and stage lighting control consoles. NSF is also an approved supplier of lever switches incorporating lever and panel sealing features to the military sector. Market adaptability will enable NSF Controls to continue reaching solutions for new applications and make improvements for existing applications.
global leader in energy management, Landis+Gyr has developed one of the broadest portfolios in the industry over the last century, with products, solutions and services that give consumers and utilities the necessary data to make informed decisions on energy usage. Since 2011 the business has been a subsidiary of Toshiba, sitting in the Japanese giant’s infrastructure division and focusing on metering, transmission equipment and the software that manages gas and electricity grids. “Through the acquisition, Landis+Gyr can supply a much wider range of energy solutions from generation parts and the transmission piece, right through to the consumer goods and activities that Toshiba is involved with,” highlights Steve Cunningham, CEO of Landis+Gyr UK and Ireland. “It is great for our customers, as it means there is one sole organisation that can look at all aspects of energy delivery, consumption and management.” Operating in more than 30 countries, with nearly 8000 utility customers and boasting an installed base of over 300 million electricity meters, Landis+Gyr has the highest AMI meter sales in Europe, North America, Brazil and Asia Pacific and is participating in the biggest smart meter and smart grid projects in the world. Its ground breaking technology and service offers led to the company winning the Frost & Sullivan 2013 Global Company of the Year Award as well as the 2013 IBM Beacon Award for Best Industry Solution for Energy &
Telit Wireless Solutions Telit Wireless Solutions has been a Landis & Gyr partner for many years. Its machine-to-machine communication modules have reliably carried cellular connectivity for L&G products such as prepaid energy meters, C&I meters, and energy management systems (EMS). Besides the reliability and ruggedness of the Telit modules, L&G has taken full advantage of the very small footprint in its GL865 2G module family and wireless broadband speeds with its UE910 and LE920 3G and 4G modules.
Utilities. â€œThat award was based on our grid stream portfolio, the systems that helps eco companies manage their grids more effectively, from generation through to consumption. IBM are an absolutely critical part of helping utilities to stabilise their environment and we are very proud to be a part of that,â€? enthuses Steve. Indeed in recent years the company has partnered with IBM and Ecological Analytics, the most experienced MDM provider in North America and now owned by Landis+Gyr. Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLCâ€™s (Oncor) project aimed to implement a Meter Data Management System (MDMS) and deploy smart meters across its grid as a way to modernise its operations and meet more sophisticated energy needs. As the largest regulated electric distribution and transmission company in Texas, and sixth largest in the US, Oncor has over three million customers and a servicearea spread across nearly 117,000 square miles. The partnership with Landis+Gyr succeeded in providing consumers with the data needed to actively participate in
Landis+Gyr their own power consumption and allowed individual households the opportunity to reduce their usage by between five and ten per cent. Currently paving the way for the next generation of smart grid across the globe, Landis+Gyr is focusing on developing software solutions that allow utilities to look into how they match ever-growing consumer demand with limited energy production. “In 2013 there will be an increasing focus on trying to align and bring the best of the benefits from our acquisitions, to develop a much more integrated approach to the market,” says Steve. “For example, Landis+Gyr now have a software suite within the business that allows customers to register devices with their utility or energy retailer and subscribe to a service, in exchange for different tariffs for high road items they wouldn’t mind having switched on or off during different times of the day,” “The US market has been very active for the last four to five years and continues to perform strongly. Europe is on the cusp of starting to roll out smart metering, and
smart energy solutions as a whole, so that is a key market for us over the next few years,” enthuses Steve. The company has also seen an increasingly strong pull from South America and India due to their rapid economic growth. “It is anticipated that these two regions will effectively leapfrog a lot of the grid stablisation that has gone on in Europe and the US over the last 15-20 years. Our aim is to get to a point where they will have a highly stable grid that is well managed and able to keep pace with the expected boom in their economies,” adds Steve. Following a transitional period, Landis+Gyr is now focused on developing a truly integrated approach while also finding a way to bring smart energy into a consumer market. As Steve concludes, “Getting people to genuinely believe that they can proactively do something about their energy management is our long-term aim, but it is a critical one. “The one silver lining of the economic situation at the moment is that people are looking to save money, so now is the best
possible time to take our cost effective message and solution out into the market; there needs to be a big shift in society’s thinking and we can play a major part in that.” u
Covpress Holdings Covpress Holdings (Covpress Ltd & NCJ Pressings Ltd) are established suppliers of pressed and welded assemblies to both the automotive and non-automotive industries. Our association with gas meters extends over 30 years and we are proud to have Landis+Gyr as one of our valued customers. The application of our automotive principles to non-automotive business, coupled with continued investment in both people and equipment has enabled us to support Landis+Gyr continued growth and we wish them continued success for the future.
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