Cloud Technology Deployment for a Major Utilities CompanyBack To Results
National Utilities Company
When our major water utility client wanted to optimise plant operations and minimise energy consumption it turned to Peak Technology Solutions to support an innovative cloud technology deployment initiative driven by the performance excellence team.
Peak Technology Solutions works closely with the client’s business, operating as an extension of their team. The relationship spans several years and Peak has proven expertise in the utility sector. The team’s technical depth and specialist expertise in IT/OT have resulted in Peak being awarded multiple projects as a trusted supplier that the client can depend on.
The new technology initiative was essential for our client because electricity costs are expected to rise significant. To mitigate these rises, the in-house team developed an integrated energy strategy with several different streams of activity to ensure energy metering and effective site energy waste reduction.
One of the streams focused on delivering electricity savings through operational changes. However, identifying, evaluating, implementing and sustaining these changes required data at a more granular level than was available from the half-hourly, site-level metering, which is used for billing purposes.
During this project, the team worked with the client’s business analysts to develop a business requirements schedule. In addition, they built an off-site demonstration system, showing how the technology can be used and the results that can be achieved by it.
The project has been developed in line with the client’s internal technical governance processes. All technical design documentation is produced in the client’s format.
As part of the governance process Peak has joined the Project Technical Design Authority (PTDA) board, This group includes representation from across the business including:
- Data Governance
- Information Security
- Process Architect
- Project Manager
- Service Transition
- Solution Architect (Peak)
The key benefit of the project is a forecasted annual reduction in electricity costs of £1+M. However, there are additional commercial and non-commercial benefits of the project and how it has been designed.
In addition to the mitigation of rising electricity costs by enabling energy efficiency improvements, submetering also addresses further requirements for more granular data:
Power resilience: All client sites have connection agreements which limit the site’s maximum power demand to an agreed capacity. Breaches of these limits can lead to tripping of the power supply, causing interruptions with potential customers and environmental impacts. Exceeding the agreed capacity also carries a financial penalty. Data from submeters enables the source of increasing or abnormal power use on a site to be identified and managed, reducing the risk of breaches.
Accounting separation: OFWAT requires costs to be reported separately for abstraction, treatment and distribution of water, and for treatment of effluent and sludge in waste. Installation of submetering will enable these calculations to be based on more granular data than is currently the case, increasing their accuracy.
Net-zero carbon emissions by 2030: Improvements in energy efficiency will move the company closer to meeting the water industry-wide commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
The design of the solution also brings additional benefits. In hosting the collected submetering data in the client Azure tenant, the client retains full control of the data, while only paying for the storage used. Furthermore, cloud hosting means minimal maintenance is required, and storage can grow without limits and without the need to purchase additional hardware. Further cost savings can be made as the installation costs of new meters is reduced as each is a standalone device that requires no network configuration or PLC changes.
Finally, data becomes much more accessible. Using their existing single-sign-on domain credentials, users can access from anywhere that has an internet connection.