The project focused on reducing the overall cost of works and delivery, enabling effective collaboration with interested parties, and significantly reducing the fragmentation and manual handling of their traffic management process.
By implementing the new system, surveyors were able to prepare TM plans and draft quotations in advance, improving efficiency and allowing for better communication with customers during site visits.
My name’s Paul Dooley and I work for UK Power Networks. I’m the Streetworks performance manager looking at innovation and training. But within the streetworks, part of UK Power Networks. I’m really honoured to be here today, so thank you for the invite, Claire. Really appreciate it. A little bit daunting, because I’m amongst some very, very keen brains. So this is quite daunting and a completely different skill set to what I’m used to.
Okay, a little bit about us first and some numbers really, which I know that you’re all into. Just some additional numbers. We actually deal with about 90 million people within the country. And if you notice, this is probably the main area that’s been impacted today as well as the South West, of course. It’s about 29% of the population.Just some more numbers linked to the overhead cables. 47 sorry, 45 and a half thousand kilometres and underground cables, 143 and a half thousand kilometres. So it’s about 890 K of cables that we look after and substations.
Our vision, we have a clear public purpose and safety and reliability to deliver electricity to our customers in London, the south east and the east of England. We strive to be the best performing DNO (distribution network operator) as supported by our vision to be an employer of choice, a respected and trusted corporate citizen, and to do so in a sustainable and cost efficient way. A vision is informed by the world we live in and our regular personal engagement with that we have with all our stakeholders.
We don’t generate electricity, but we get it to your homes and your businesses. Our utmost priority is safety. That is our number one. So picking up Amy’s points about safe safety and practices. That is our ultimate aim. Nothing will be done unsafely every job is essential, but every job will be done safely. Really, really, really important.
We do want to see the world through the eyes of our customers as well, the people that we serve rightly expect us to provide a smooth running service. Just to give you a bit of background where we are at the moment. Don’t know if you know about the regulatory periods, so our last regulatory period, I’m very conscious about there, by the way. So I’m very conscious of that. The last regulation period was ED1 so the ED (electricity distribution) that ran from 2015 to 2023. We’re now in ED2 which is a slightly shorter period. But there’s a real incentive for innovation to be used and to push the boundaries of what’s possible. This is why I’m really excited about what we’ve done with 1Streetworks.
Whilst we were developing that Ofgem submission, our wider engagement with the customers highlighted several customer and stakeholder priorities. For us to deliver on those we came up with seven key factors. I’m not going to run through these at all, but just to give you an idea of that’s who we are and who we work with. We look to align those with our visions and our values to help deliver on our commitments within ED2. That’s who we are. Just picking up a few things that Andy touched on and Amy, as well with regard to when we work on the public highway.
So we need to be compliant. We need to be safe, to be compliant. We need to do things legally. We don’t just rock up and disrupt your day, believe it or not. And there are set legal practices that govern that and the Red Book, Section 65, some more numbers for you. This is the boring bit. Section 65 of the NRSWA (New Roads and Street Works Act). We must comply with the Red Book. That is fundamental. Yeah, so we deal with customer connections. So that is anyone having a new build extensions etcetera may be developments as well. Network operations, that’s our main part of business. So we’re talking about the sustainable and reliable power to your homes and businesses. Capital programs, of course the infrastructure works as well as highway services, so that might be illuminated signs, traffic lights, etc.
So from a work’s planning point of view, as Andy said earlier, few outside the industry have an insight into the meticulous planning and data collection that goes into placing every traffic light and diversion route. TM (traffic management) is indeed a complex business with a process that has remained largely unchanged for quite a number of years, so very few people have tried to actually revolutionise it. So hence why I was quite keen with what 1Streetworks had. We do take a lot of time. It’s resource heavy to make the job plan it correctly. It takes a lot of time. There are associated street data that we need multitudes of, so many now. Particularly working in and around London as well, I know TfL here as well, so that’s very personal to you guys.
We’re monitoring our performance very, very strenuously and quite rightly so. So there is a lot that goes into it. It’s not just looking up and doing what we like. It’s nothing like that at all. From a local authority point of view, it’s very much about coordination. They need to coordinate these works. Of course we’re out there, there’s gas out there, water, telecoms, highway authorities, etc., etc. So plenty of us. The utmost priority, again, is the safety of the public and of the operational teams.
Coordination, you need to balance a lot of those interests. Very, very difficult, very complex. And you can’t do that without the right data coming in to the local authority. And we need to cooperate with the local authority. It’s our duty to cooperate with them. And how do we do that? We do that by giving them good data, good information on what we’re proposing to do when we’re doing it and how we’re doing it. Okay. So we’re also looking at continuously improving. We’re not happy to stand still. We want to be the best. We want to be the best in every in every part of how we interact with the public on that, particularly on the public highway.
So we’re from a connections point of view. We’re looking at things like to improve our average time to quote for new connections, our average time to connect. Broad measure of customer service, we’re measured very, very strenuously by the regulator, and that is about how good are we at quoting. How accurate are those, how timely, how soon can we get those residents and those businesses connected? Ultimately, we need to do it efficiently, So we need to get it right first time.
So that’s kind of a bit of a background really.So what we have this challenge to do is to deliver every job safely. And it is of course a complex business to deliver TM plans. And the old way of doing it is, I think Andy pointed out it’s it’s it’s quite rigid and traditional and it can take days, if not weeks, to get TM particularly granted annual payments granted. So the production of those plans and the approval processes, we were looking at trying to streamline them, make them a bit more efficient, very efficient if we can.
So with this project we did with 1Streetworks, so it was funded by Surrey Lane Rental. And if any of you in the audience know about lane rental, but it applies to the busiest parts of a Highway Authority’s network area, and it’s a daily charge that we pay for having the beauty of being on their network. TFL has a scheme. Kent, Surrey, West Sussex and there’s a few others in the mill. Part of that fund is to go towards innovation and trying things, trying things you might not already try. So Surrey were very keen to work with us on this, on this project. But what we wanted to do was trying to revolutionise the TM planning process.
We want to enable effective collaboration with interested parties. We wanted to reduce the overall cost of works and delivery. We wanted to bring unprecedented levels of consistency, repeatability, speed and efficiency. So it’s about doing things correctly. First time, every time. This would enable us to share planning data, TM planning data with other internal systems. So we could attach it to our permits as well and really significantly reduce the fragmentation and the manual handling internally of our TM process.
So what did we do? We had initial training sessions. I think we had quite a few of those. I think Matt and Andy joined us with those with our small service connections. We kept the trial very small, confined to small service connections within the Surrey area. So 1Spatial they sent down the team to have some time with all the surveyors together. And then I think what we gained most actually was with the face to face, 1 to 1, which I think worked really, really well. So the surveyors were now able to prepare the TM plan and draft quotation the day before the visit.
So we’ve got a couple of really good surveyors who like to plan ahead and then when they get to site the next day, all the information’s there. You can do it from site as well. Either way, either way works. And on those site visits data about the location can be discussed with the customer directly so they can, it enables them to better understand how that quotation is made up and you can share that plan with them live. And I think that feeds into our broad measure of customer service as well. And that’s really important. So it gives them a clearer idea of what work is needed and what TM is related and what the impact on them and their neighbours and the area is as well. So I don’t think many people think about that as well. So in the evaluation stage, so you’ll see there’s a, there’s a TBA there and I’ll talk about that in a minute.
So the average time to quote on the plans that we have used, we came down from around five or six days within that region. We came down to below two days, which is when our incentive kicks in. So 2.1 days, that’s where we need to improve. So by using 1Streetworks, we were able to shave off quite a significant portion of that. Average time to connect perhaps a bit more, bit more fluid, I guess, because you’ve also got things like road closures as well that do take a long time.
There is a 12 week general process that the local authorities want. So that’s a bit of a harder one. But when you average it out, we were sitting around the 20 day mark, but we were able to bring that down to around 15 days on average on the jobs that we use 1Streetworks for. So I’m really enthusiastic about it, I have to say, and I think it’s definitely one of our answers for a lot of our issues internally with regard to, getting information out there accurately, promptly, consistently. The future is quite exciting when you look at it.
NUAR as well has obviously pulled in some of that as well. So is there a possible integration of the NUAR layer within the 1Streetworks application that we can use? So in my simple brain, you’ve got a surveyor on site who’s doing their plan. That plan can then be used by the scheduler in the office to do the permit using the same mapping system, which can then go to the team on site to help them dig more safely. So it’s using that all the way through rather than having it as a disjointed process, that’s what I’m quite excited about. I’m excited about some really simple things. Permit activity as well so permitry as well, this could be this could improve and make our permits much more accurate and maybe automating some of that maybe in the future. That’s something else we’re kind of having a look at. Maybe using some of our asset data within the same map layers as well. And I know that you guys work with our GIS teams as well.
But yeah, something I’ve not shown on here but something that we also are heavily measured on is on our fault related business. So off-supplies, customers off-supply, we’re measured on CI’s the customer interruptions and CML’s, so customer minutes lost. So it’s a very, very tight target that we have is something that I really want to explore in, if you’ve got an overhead lines team at a location and as is he may be, he may be assessing the site and he may make an assessment of that site and what he needs. Is there a confidence there sometimes is a not a confidence maybe more often. Using this at the roadside. He can get an answer within milliseconds, ten minutes, whereas at the moment, potentially, he might have to wait for a civils expert to come to site. That may be an hour, that may be 2 hours, that is lost time. So if we can save on some of that time, I think we might, well we will. I think we will see some even greater benefits that we have seen with the connection side of the business.
So, yeah, that’s not up there at the moment. But what we did learn, we learnt it works. But there’s so much more to do as well, which is probably the even the more exciting thing. Yeah, that’s it, thank you very much.
John Hartshorn: Thank you very much Paul. So does anybody have any questions for Paul? Yeah, we’ve got one straight down here. Microphone in coming now. Just hold the line caller. Go faster. Phil. Faster. Yeah yeah of course.
Member of the public: Great presentation Paul, my name’s Paul from Skanska. So one of the questions I’ve got is about parking suspensions. Is that in the system yet or is that something you got to do separately?
Paul Dooley: So as far as I understand it, that that data set doesn’t exist at the moment, does it?
Andy Fennell: One of the issues with data about roads in the UK. So there is no complete data set for parking bays in the UK. It doesn’t exist. It’s implemented differently by every single council. So one of the reasons that we’ve integrated tools like what3words and we can go to site, we can turn on aerial views, etc. is we can then see the paint, the parking bays on the ground and have a look at those. So the way we deal with that in the system, because that would require a TTRO, a temporary traffic management order, is it’s done manually. So you just edit the plan, takes a couple of seconds, drop the no parking cones out and away you go and that goes in for permitting then. So it’s dealt with manually because there’s no automated way of doing it.
Member of the public: Yeah, because it’s the drawing bit that really takes the time isn’t it. Yes. Because you’ve got to get a planner out there to assess the site, do the drawing. This is doing it all for you.
Andy Fennell: Yes.
Member of the public: Yeah. And I take it it’s using that rulebook to do just that.
Andy Fennell: It is. Yeah. It just, it’s as I said earlier, it’s pulling in web feature service data from Ordnance Survey so accurate survey road survey data is running that through a geospatial rules engine that’s got the Red Book encoded into it as well as some additional best practice because the Red Book is is currently due for republishing. Then it’s producing a compliant traffic management plan.
Member of the public: What’s the reliability on the compliance with that traffic management plan? Because obviously that has to go to local authorities to say, give you the nod. Has that got a good record as well?
Paul Dooley: Well, do you want me to talk about what we did with the bulk uploads for example. Yeah. So there are limitations quite clearly. But if that’s 20% of what you do, that’s absolutely fine because they are going to go to a TM specialist anyway. We get that and we understand that. This can deal with the 80% of what we do day in, day out, that’s going to be a huge benefit. So what we actually did with 1Streetworks, we uploaded crikey, 10,000, 10,000, so 10,000 joint bay positions, known joint bay positions within the SPN region, within our sales region and bulk upload, there’s some clever people here who actually run the bulk uploads and then produce these would have produced X amount of plans for these 10,000 jobs if they were in these joint bay positions. And it came out a figure round about 80%. Okay, I can deal with that. So if we’re dealing with that 80% through the system automated, if you like, and the 20% is that difficult, you’re spending the more time on that we get in the more complex situations. I think that’s good value.
Member of the public: Yep, ok thanks, cheers.
John Hartshorn: I mean, at risk of being non impartial, as the product manager for this, I think it’s actually a really good example of collaboration as well. We’ve you’ve worked very closely with the UKPN team to try and prioritise the work that we do in the product backlog and take in the data, etc. and is also a really good example of innovation, how innovation is not really for the faint hearted. It takes a long time to get a product like this to the stage where it’s actually usable for an organisation like UK Power Networks and you know, it’s been sort of the perfect scenario for us that we have a rule book and 1Spatial is all about rules and as a rules engine, the geospatial and all of the data that’s inputted into that is geospatial and ultimately moved that along to a products you know, has taken a couple of years and it just shows you that if you’re in innovation you’ve got to actually really commit and be into it. And luckily as a company we are. So yeah it’s yeah. Not for the faint hearted really. And that’s the reason why the industry hasn’t really changed in 20 years. But it will now! Thank you very much Paul.