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Utility Providers

Are You Net Zero Ready?
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06 October 2021

It seems like talk of Net Zero is everywhere at the moment. While this is fantastic news generally, it is not without consequence for utility providers as large-scale customer movement from one source of energy to another can have huge repercussions if not considered and planned for properly.

For instance, as part of the Net Zero drive, the government has proposed that gas heating installations be outlawed in new build homes in the UK to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels – with upgrades to existing electrical heating expected to become mandatory to the remaining homeowners sometime after.

This initiative alone will be a cause of massive strain to the power grid as it exists currently.

Today we’re going to talk about what you can do to future-proof your grid, what happens if you don’t and how utilizing data can help keep the lights on.

What Happens if You're Not Prepared?

While this is not a doomsday call – the British power grid is one of the most secure in the world and boasted a fantastic 99.999967% reliability score in 2019-2020 - it's no time for complacency either. That figure is reflective of the status quo, where gas is still the dominant source of electricity generation in the UK, producing 35.7% of electricity in 2020.

That figure will quickly change. Very soon, more and more people will drive electric cars, heat their homes electrically, all at the same time throttling a grid not designed or maintained for the level of usage that it soon will be responsible for.

It’s only a matter of time, in that case, before we could see large areas of the country go dark because the inconsistent and irregular inspection of assets is not reflective of the new increased usage of customers.

Customer Minutes Lost

While the drive for Net Zero is in place, utility providers are in receipt of government funding that's awarded on the basis of several key metrics – one of those being Customer Minutes Lost (CML).

This is calculated by the sum of all customer minutes lost, divided by the total number of customers.

If providers fall below a certain threshold, penalties and fines are imposed upon them.

Cyberhawk offer regular and consistent inspections via drone that not only give utility providers photographic evidence of any faults we find but also include detailed engineering reports that make sure providers are as prepared as possible to accommodate any issues and keep customer minutes lost to an absolute minimum.

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Time to Act

It is imperative that utility providers act quickly while their network is running well and put an asset management system in place that includes regular and consistent inspections of your assets.

The upshot of doing this by drone inspection is that this can be done while your assets are live – so not only is it the safest method of inspection possible – it means your service runs uninterrupted too.

This way, you can catch potential faults and repair them while they are in their infancy before they can have disastrous consequences on your entire grid.

Equally important in the carbon reduction stakes, is that inspections by helicopter require an expensive and dangerous amount of fuel to run. This is in stark contrast to a light and dynamic drone which flies on next to nothing, comparatively.

Get Smart With Your Data

When we devised our data solution iHawk, our aim was to enable our clients to do more with less.

We can take all your existing data - whether that be from line patrollers, helicopters or drones - and integrate it into one user-friendly interface that provides smarter outcomes for you and your customers.

We grade towers using a 1-4 defect severity scoring system and results are then sent to clients using iHawk. It allows users to view the status of their entire asset portfolio at a glance. They can then prioritize repair, organize maintenance and replacement and view detailed engineering analysis associated with all identified defects.

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Get in Touch

If you would like to hear more about any of our products or services, you can contact us directly here.