A quarter of utility companies in the UK have integrated Artificial Intelligence into their systems while a further 37 per cent have plans to follow suit in the next five years.

New research commissioned by predictive field service management company Oneserve suggests the two main driving factors for adopting AI were to save money and retain customers.

The poll surveyed senior decision makers in the industry on their existing operational practices and attitudes towards adopting Artificial Intelligence.

According to Oneserve, utilities companies lose an average of £78,585 per year due to machine and system downtime. In total, 41 per cent of those surveyed cited the inability to spot internal technical faults as one of the reasons behind the losses while 27 per cent pinned the blame on old machinery and legacy systems.

A further 20 per cent said a lack of training, leading to staff misusing the systems, was to blame.

More than half of those polled said machine and system downtime had also led to a “serious negative impact” on customer loyalty and their company’s reputation.

Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) believed AI will be incredibly valuable to business while four in 10 said AI will support the current utilities workforce, making it more efficient, cost-effective and customer-focused.

Of those who have already integrated AI into their business, 53 per cent said their workforce had become significantly more productive since harnessing the technology.

Chris Proctor, CEO of Oneserve, said: “We are no longer in a brave new world. Harnessing AI and predictive maintenance systems is not a risky investment thanks to the numerous use cases that exist.

“What utilities companies must do is continue in this direction, ensuring that they innovate not only to stay competitive and profit heavy but also to improve customer experience.

“It’s essential that they turn key data points into actionable insight and the most efficient way to do this right now is through harnessing AI.”