Tuesday 12 Mar 2013Knowledge Transfer in action at United Utilities

Kevin Woodward - United Utilities

Room 170 Harrison 14:00-15:00

The UK water industry is becoming increasingly competitive as a result of the Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM); market separation into Wholesale and Retail businesses; and Non-Household customers’ ability to switch supplier. In addition the regulator, Ofwat, wants to see water companies delivering Outcomes e.g. improved customer service, rather than Outputs e.g. km of mains replaced. This is all putting pressure on water companies to be more efficient i.e. deliver improved service at a lower cost. As a result, United Utilities (UU) is seeking and adopting innovative solutions to achieve the required Outcomes.

An example of this at UU is the development and adoption of an Event Recognition System (ERS) for the water network. Historically, there are issues with mains bursts and leakage causing loss of supply or poor pressure to customers. Often the first time a water company is aware there is a problem is when customers ring in to complain. UU is reducing this customer impact by recognising issues or potential issues well in advance and preventing or minimising customer impact.

The ERS is being delivered via a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project between UU and University of Exeter. The seminar will provide an overview of the KTP project. It will present successes, challenges and a first-hand account of being a KTP Associate at a major water company. The seminar will also discuss the potential for wider application of the ERS within UU e.g. in the wastewater network, process sites, etc. and the opportunity for further KTP or similar partnership projects.

Brief Bio:
Kevin is currently the MCA (Monitoring, Control and Automation) Strategy Lead for United Utilities. He has over 30 years’ experience in the water industry and is a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager. He holds a Masters in Hydroinformatics and Management Systems from Newcastle University.

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