Projects Electricity North West United Kingdom
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Electricity North West, United Kingdom

Electricity North West, a major electricity distribution company in the North West of England, UK, needed to ensure they continue to provide the best value to their 2+ million customers.

They needed to deliver efficient asset investment plans that ensured they get the best value from their assets so they can minimize risks and keep costs as low as possible for customers. Tendering for an asset investment planning (AIP) solution, Electricity North West chose Gen’s Enterprise Decision Analytics tool to manage hundreds of thousands of assets in their network, meet expected levels of service, and make certain investment in the network as efficient, resilient and sustainable as possible.

With this solution, Electricity North West was able to:

Optimize spend and budgets across network assets for both OPEX and CAPEX

Gain a faster, data-driven approach for asset decision-making

Ensure the business makes the right investment for the right assets, at the right times

The Challenge
Electricity North West services over 2 million customers, powers a massive coverage area that spans the north west of England from the Scottish border all the way to the bottom of the Manchester region and manages a massive asset network with over 57,000 km of power lines, 128,000 poles and towers, 88,000 units of switchgears and transformers, in addition to their day-to-day operational equipment.

With such scale of responsibility, Electricity North West needed a way to ensure they consistently achieved their environmental, network performance, customer service and efficiency targets. This included not only meeting baseline expected levels of service, but that they are prepared to meet evolving customer needs and stakeholder expectations, as well as the growing challenges of climate change and worsening weather events.

Electricity North West is also a big believer in innovation, and has a culture of consistently finding new solutions to approach problems in the best, most efficient ways possible. So while their existing approach and strategies were still holding up, they would soon be due for an upgrade.

The Solution
Preempting challenges caused by outdated systems, Electricity North West contracted Gen to implement our Enterprise Decision Analytics solution as their next generation AIP platform. It was a collaborative effort between both parties to configure the GB Common Network Asset Indices Methodology (CNAIM)* and tailor a suite of asset optimization models that can predict risk across four defined categories of safety, financial, network performance and environmental factors. of safety, financial, network performance and environmental factors.

These models optimize capital, operational and maintenance interventions to ensure the right one is chosen at the right time. Data used to inform these decisions included cost data, works management data, telemetry data and visual inspection data.

With this, Electricity North West can now better compare asset investment decisions with what-if scenario modelling. As EDA has an intuitive, user-friendly interface, the team at Electricity North West can create and run these scenarios themselves, even with little to no support from the Gen team, so they can quickly understand the impact of different investment scenarios against business objectives and the total risk profile.

Furthermore, these scenarios can likewise be easily compared and analyzed against each other, providing a clear and direct link between projects and asset level interventions. Through simple user interfaces (such as a highly visual dashboard) with drill-down capabilities, all information changes are tracked and auditable, including all updates to scenarios, constraints and data, making stakeholder reporting an easy and efficient process that can even be done in real time.

EDA was delivered in a phased approach, with the Electricity North West team actively involved in configuring, populating and testing some of the models. While this was happening, Gen also provided them with formal practice sessions and on-the-job training, using the tool in real time with actual data, ensuring that not only did Electricity North West quickly gained the desired skills to use EDA as they specifically need it, without the overhangs of requiring external consultancy all the time, but that they were already gaining value from the tool right from the very first onboarding.

The Result
Since implementing EDA, Electricity North West enjoys a faster, data-driven approach for asset decision-making that enables comparison across twenty-five CNAIM asset classes. They now have greater optimization, analytics, forecasting, management and reporting capabilities that can help address both their immediate and day-to-day needs and develop their long-term strategic decision-making.

Electricity North West can ensure that the business makes the right investment for the right assets, at the right times. With EDA, they can now align consistently and effectively with the country’s regulatory framework, CNAIM; provide the best value for customers and stakeholders and meet regulatory commitments (Whole Life Cost analysis); quickly and immediately evaluate the impact of different decisions, constraints and budgets (what-if scenario modelling); identify additional efficiencies and maximize resources by “bundling” investment decisions into logical work programs; eliminate data silo and optimize knowledge sharing, improve planning, reporting and regulatory submissions by holding all information centrally within a single system that is accessible to all relevant parties, allowing different levels of access from power users to view-only guests, and optimize spend and budget network assets for both OPEX and CAPEX.

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Author

April Hutchen

April Hutchen,

Sales Executive - UTILITIES

April's role is to ensure that our customers are able to maximize the value of their data through the successful deployment of our digital solutions.  Working closely with the utilities sector and Gen's technical teams, April helps to ensure that our customers are able to make better investment decisions.

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*The Common Network Asset Indices Methodology (CNAIM) has been developed by the Great Britain Electricity Distribution Network Operators and provides a common framework of definitions, principles and calculation methodologies, adopted across all GB Distribution Network Operators, for the assessment, forecasting and regulatory reporting of Asset Risk.



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