Skip to main content

Powering responses to RIIO with geospatial

By [email protected] - 26th June 2015 - 09:47

Carrot and Stickâ©

RIIO combines the carrot with the stick. The stick is, in addition to price controls, the threat of significant penalties for energy network companies that fail to address the needs of consumers. The carrot, meanwhile, takes the form of incentives to drive the innovation required to deliver a sustainable and affordable energy network for the future. â©

There is a clear message to utilities: if they can innovate and help the UK towards its low-carbon future, ensure a constant supply and improve the overall customer experience, then there is some serious upside on offer. â©

Energy data and understanding the customerâ©

Unfortunately, if you are not a retail energy supplier then getting access to this information can be difficult. Distributors do not have the visibility of consumption patterns that retail suppliers do, nor do they have the direct relationships with end customers. This puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to acquiring the intelligence needed to meet the customer experience elements of the RIIO agenda. â©

Regardless of whether you are a distributor or retail supplier, if the demands of RIIO are to be met, then every last bit of data available needs to be collected, analysed and put to use in network management and customer communications strategies. â©

Geospatial: the key to customer serviceâ©

Geospatial can also help utilities deliver a consistent supply to consumers, even during unplanned events. Using these tools allows utilities to process real-time events to understand and visualise the impact on their network. For example, in the event of a major storm, energy companies can keep an eye on weather and energy patterns across their estate to predict and pinpoint major disruptions and immediately respond. â©

The big data mixâ©

On its own, big data analysis is a compelling proposition. However, when combined with geospatial technology, big data analysis becomes more insightful. As big data appliances can simultaneously process information from numerous locations, they make geospatial tools more accurate in real-time. This enables faster processing times and better visual representations of how the network is performing. Combined, geospatial and big data analysis add up to sophisticated customer-focused systems that streamline utilitiesâ infrastructure performance. â©

Moreover, as these solutions have the capacity to store and index a much larger volume of information than was possible in the past, they provide utilities with the tools to approach data analysis in a holistic manner. GIS data can be stored on a database in real-time and thereby made available on-demand; superimposed on a spatial map to give utilities a meaningful and interactive representation of current conditions throughout their networks. â©

Communicating through geospatialâ©

When linked to a big data appliance, the latest advances in geospatial data analytics provide utilities more flexibility to develop and maintain their networks, as well as to respond to the immediate needs of their customers. For example, by mashing up geospatial information with customer data, such as postal codes or social media profiles, utilities are able to narrow down and identify groups of customers and channels through which they need to be communicated. So, for instance, utilities can target subgroups of Facebook and Twitter with messages around network planning, helping them deliver much more targeted and effective customer communications. â©

In short, geospatial technology enables utilities to visualise grid data, customer data and assets on one dashboard, and thereby deliver a real-time customer communications strategy that will help them stay on the right side of RIIO. â©

Beyond RIIOâ©


Mike Ballard is Senior Director, Utilities Strategy, at Oracle EMEA (

Download a PDF of this article


Read More: GIS Utilities