Building a ‘smart network’ where data can accelerate decarbonisation and cut operating costs is an agenda-setting priority for every distribution and transmission company. Already, network companies have chalked up their first trials and even moved into ‘Business As Usual’ territory. But as a recent debate and workshop discussion at the Utility Week Live Summit showed, there is still a long way to go.

By Elaine Knutt

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SP Energy Networks has successfully trialled the “world’s first” real-time fault level measurement system on a section of its network. The distribution network operator said the device developed by Outram Research achieved an error margin of less than 1 per cent at 11kV, “far outperforming” the 5 per cent margin it was originally targeting.
News
Kraken Technologies, the customer service platform built by Octopus Energy, is currently running 17 million accounts. But by 2027, Kraken hopes to have 100 million, by offering partner energy companies cost savings, added value and its 'special sauce'. Lara Beers, vice president for global sales, explains.
Analysis

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The energy sector is seeing a rapid evolution of customer journeys and channels, with consumer expectations growing all the time. But are the energy market and the systems changing fast enough to meet these needs? This new white paper from Coeus Consulting considers some of the key challenges facing technology leaders across the energy sector and their wider significance.
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Graham Campbell, chair of Energy Network Association’s Data and Digitalisation Steering Group and head of whole system and commercial at SP Energy Networks, offers an overview of the Steering Group and its priorities for the year ahead.
Opinion
The water sector must find ways to cut the emissions from its most energy intensive activity - wastewater treatment. Industry experts discussed how this could be done and what challenges stand in the way of creating a circular economy to benefit from what has previously been considered waste.
Analysis
StormHarvester’s AI-backed analysis tools allow water companies to accurately forecast the impact of heavy rainfall events. The automated water management software platform won backing from Wessex Water and has now completed a trial in the Bath area – picking up a Water Industry Award too, as managing director Brian Moloney explains.
Analysis
Adding biodiversity to sites is already a goal for most utilities, but soon they will be working to a tough new target of 10% biodiversity net gains under the Environment Bill. Katie Dawson, Costain’s lead on Geographical Information Systems for the environment, explains what’s involved.
Interviews
Digital Catapult has launched a cross-sector IoT Discovery programme, offering organisations 1-2-1 support on investing in IoT, with Northern Gas Networks participating in the first cohort. Rukmini Prasad, product and partnerships manager for IoT at the Digital Catapult, answers UW Innovate’s questions.
Interviews
DNOs regularly publish Distribution Future Energy Scenarios, but these often overlook the developing complexity on the low voltage networks. As UW Innovate reports, WPD has now devised a new methodology, called EPIC, to capture data from local authorities and use it for more sensitive and localised analysis.
Analysis
How is the drive for net zero transforming expectations of customer service operations? Utility Week asked energy and water leaders to tell us their experiences.
Analysis
From urging companies to fire up consumers about energy, to more efforts to open up data, strong messages emerged in the virtual think-tank convened by Utility Week with Microsoft and Accenture on accelerating the transition to net zero. Denise Chevin chaired.
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