Field Service Management in the Water & Electricity Industry

Embracing digital innovation to transform service delivery

Overview of the Water and Electricity sector:

The Utilities industry is essential for our population and is recognised as providing the critical infrastructure that supports the whole of the UK. Made up of vital amenities such as gas, water, electricity and telecoms, the sector serves millions of homes and businesses across the economy.

In recent years, the water and wastewater sector has seen huge improvements in drinking water quality, environmental standards and customer service across the industry. Similarily, the electric and energy sector has significantly worked towards achieving a greener, affordable and more sustainable services for customers and businesses.

These improvements have been driven by the ever-increasing challenges industry regulators such as OFWAT and OFGEM, backed by legislation and consumers demanding a much more responsive and improved service.

Some of the main challenges the industry faces are well-known such as reducing leakage and sewer flooding, minimising the number of planned and unplanned supply interruptions and ensuring high-quality customer service. Additionally, the requirement to deliver a greener energy system, reduce environmental impact and improve networks and infrastructure is always top of the agenda for the electric sector. The sector is undergoing substantial transformation to support the move to a lower carbon economy that will involve new infrastructure, systems and innovative ways of working.

These workforce challenges, along with a desire to take advantage of digital innovations to improve efficiencies, leads to an opportunity to implement new technologies. Technology such as field service management.

What value does field service management provide water and electric organisations?

With a large amount of assets to monitor, from water and wastewater pumps and pipes to electricity cables, monitoring their status safely and efficiently can prove difficult. Without visibility of assets and their performance, field staff can often only react to issues and failures when they arise, causing large operating expenses, interrupted service delivery and causing delays for essential upgrades and projects. However, field service management can facilitate water and electricity infrastructure and service providers.

Field Service Management Software provides organisations with the ability to:

  • Have an increased visibility and understanding of all assets and detect any issues or potential actions that may be required
  • Better manage work orders, associated costs and increase visibility of ongoing work
  • More efficiently assign required work to their workforce
  • Control the usage and ordering of materials
  • Empower staff with all information and equipment required to effectively deliver the service
  • Enhance the interaction between an organisation and their customers
Supporting Water Leakages, Water Sampling and AMP7 priorities:

Water providers are under pressure to meet water leakage regulatory commitments by a reduction of 16% by 2025. Field Service Management can facilitate the water infrastructure, detecting leaks and accurately scheduling the right staff with the required skill set to the point of leakage. Having the correct schedules in place ensures your organisation is compliant when carrying out maintenance on a burst pipe for example. In order to ensure there isn’t any crucial time wasted, field staff can efficiently identify the correct location of where leakages are taking place, which speeds up the resolution. Additionally, NB-IoT / GPRS loggers can monitor flow, pressure and indicate leakage to offer more insight than ever before into network performance and help pinpoint leakage.

Asset Management in Utilities - fixing water pipe
Meter and Supply Point Operations

Performing effective operations at the point of supply can be crucial to maintaining a positive customer experience. Highly visible processes such as meter replacement, maintenance of a cut-out or repair of a boundary box, can often involve liaison with a customer at their property. Accurate information at the point of work is essential to completing a job first time and ensures any customer expectations are met. Implementing Field Service Management helps by ensuring the key customer, location and asset reference data (such as Supply Point ID, MPAN, MPRN, Meter Serial No. etc.) is available for the field worker, coupled with risk assessments, remote-assist video triage, lone- worker protection and consumer-friendly feedback via digital forms.

Remote assist video triage enables both water and energy/ electricity field staff to complete their jobs with less risk to themselves and others – be it other workers, such as Highway Maintenance, or members of the local community.

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