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Bringing utilities professionals together to tackle technical and operational challenges


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Apply to take part in this exclusive, virtual thinktank focusing on the major challenges facing utilities. You will hear from business leaders in these areas, and be invited to share your own insights, with content outputs forming the basis of Utility Week Innovate, a new, dedicated programme of content from Utility Week and Utility Week Live, exploring how utilities and their partners are developing new ways to solve critical business challenges.

  • Position yourself and your company as thought leaders
  • Take learnings and insight back to your business to inform decision making
  • Gain access to an exclusive year-round programme of activity designed to champion best practice
  • Help shape Utility Week's coverage of key challenges
  • Contribute to Utility Week Innovate 

There is no cost to participate and you can select as many challenges as you wish. 

We have had an incredible response from the industry and the challenge sessions are now limited. Priority access will be given to those who work directly for a:

  • UK energy or water utility or retailer
  • Contractor working with a utility

Please only apply if you meet this criteria.



18 MAY KEYNOTE plenary: Creating the conditions for innovation

18 MAY KEYNOTE plenary: Creating the conditions for innovation

09:15 - 10:15:

Innovation takes more than a moment of inspiration. This session will explore the many factors that need to come together, including culture, capabilities, technologies and more to create the conditions for sustained and meaningful innovation.

Jane Gray , Content director, Utilities - Utility Week

Laura Sandys CBE, Chief executive - Challenging Ideas
Philip New, Chief executive - Energy Systems Catapult
Steven McMahon, Deputy director, electricity distribution and cross sector policy - Ofgem
Heidi Mottram, Chief executive - Northumbrian Water
Aimie Chapple, Executive Officer – Capita Experience - Capita


19 MAY Keynote Plenary: Delivering on net zero

19 MAY Keynote Plenary: Delivering on net zero

09.15 - 10.15: 

Individually and collectively, utilities need to take control of their own net zero journey. This session will bring insight and inspiration to those aiming to up the pace and ambition of their transition to a more sustainable future.

James Wallin, Digital editor - Utility Week

Juliet Davenport, Chief executive - Good Energy
Chris Train OBE, ENA green gas champion
Peter Simpson, Chief executive - Anglian Water Group
Rachel Fletcher, Director of economics and regulation - Octopus Energy
Chris Cartwright, Critical infrastructure market leader - Capita

18 May AM: Transforming field operations and workforce

18 May AM: Transforming field operations and workforce

11:00 - 12:00:

This session will explore how asset-heavy utilities can equip their remote workers with the technology, skills and support to transform their operational efficiency and provide a better service to customers. In what can be a difficult transition, the session will draw on the experience of companies who are going through this digital transformation to discuss challenges and pitfalls and what training and approaches work best to help staff use technology for maximum benefit.

James Wallin, Digital editor - Utility Week

Optimising field operations - SGN's accelerated rollout of FYLD software:
Stephen Dickson, Engineering manager, SGN 

Transforming planning and scheduling operations deployment:
Tessa Fayers, Head of operational service centre, Thames Water 

Talk title to be confirmed
Dr. Ali Asmari, Head of AI and machine learning, ULC Technologies

12:00 - 12:15: Speed networking

12:15 - 13:30: Challenge workshop
Addressing the following:

  • What does a best in class utility workforce operation look like post-coronavirus?
  • How to optimise safety and customer satisfaction and reduce disruption
  • How to bring the right people together to motivate the workforce and create the right solutions – how can we break traditional silos?



18 May AM: Delivering a smart energy network

18 May AM: Delivering a smart energy network

10:55 - 12:00: 

Responding to the pressures of decarbonisation and growing capacity constraints, networks are moving fast to adopt active network management techniques and new approaches to system automation and control. This session will give insights into the latest opportunities available to create smarter energy infrastructure which is fit for the future.

Net Zero and flexibility - the vision and the experience
Stewart Reid, Head of DSO innovation, SSE 

The Open Networks Project - net zero, innovation, collaboration and standardisation
Farina Farrier, Head of Open Networks, ENA 

Flexibility in practice – a cross sector approach
Ben Godfrey, DSO manager, WPD 

Smart gas grid - real-time gas shrinkage control 
Ajit Rai, UK Area Manager, Terranova 

Showcase: IoT meets energy: smart grids as a success factor 
Consumers are increasingly becoming distributed energy producers and feed energy into the medium and low voltage networks. The UK government’s Green Industrial Revolution 10-point-plan emphasizes the take up of heat pumps, EV charges and photovoltaics to exciting levels. This creates new demands on the low-voltage power grid and therefore flexible and intelligent software solutions are needed to monitor, analyse, and control these new dynamics within the grid. Distribution networks must become smart grids. 
In this session you will learn how the Grid Optimization Management from Bosch.IO affects grid planning together with operation and the resultant economic potentials that are associated. 
Mark Nigge-Uricher, Senior Managing Consultant, Bosch.IO 

12:00 - 12:15: Speed networking

12:15 - 13:30: Challenge workshop
Addressing the following:

  • How will energy networks achieve net zero ambitions?
  • What are the barriers to collaboration, including whole system collaboration, standardisation and interoperability?
  • What is the role of data in the delivery of smart energy networks and how can this be optimised?


18 May PM: Transforming customer service post pandemic

18 May PM: Transforming customer service post pandemic

14:00 - 15:00:

The pandemic has changed the game for customer service and experience management. This session will explore how utilities can rise to the occasion by providing efficient, proactive and empathetic service to customers with increasingly complex and sensitive needs.

Overview and experiences of changing customer expectations and usage post pandemic  
Jo Causon, Chief Executive, The Institute of Customer Service

How technology, data and analytics can enable and empower customers:
Dr Katie Russell, Data Director, OVO Energy 

Customer vulnerability, payments and debts:
Louise Beardmore, Customer Services and People Director, United Utilities 

Shell Energy and Zendesk: Ultra Customer-Centricity in action
Rob Waller, Principal Strategic Solution Consultant, EMEA, Zendesk
Andy Eadle, Customer service director, Shell Energy Retail

Showcase: Contactless pipe maintenance and replacement  
Synthotech has been developing technology in partnership with utility networks - working to minimise if not eliminate the need to enter someone’s property or to interact with them while investigating, maintaining or even replacing their gas and water pipes to their houses. 
Simon Langdale, Synthotech

15:15 - 16:30: Challenge workshop
Addressing the following:

  • Understanding changes to customer behaviour due to the pandemic, and their impact on customer requirements
  • Helping customers better understand their bills and usage, optimising the role of data
  • As new technologies come on board how do we bring customers with us in order to achieve net zero?


18 May PM: Delivering a smart water network

18 May PM: Delivering a smart water network

14:00 - 15:00:

To meet the challenges facing the sector, water companies need to seize all the opportunities offered by a connected asset base, automation, big data, digital twins and more. This session will highlight leaps the sector is taking towards a smarter future.

International exemplar smart water network case study
Dan Sullivan, IOTA - South East Water (Australia) 

Large scale integration of sensors, systems and suppliers – smart networks to tackle leakage
Sam Bright, Innovation programme manger, Yorkshire Water 

Understanding the operational benefits and improved customer experience
Jeremy Heath, Innovation manger, SES Water 

Smart network and smart metering - A winning strategy for water management 
Elena Bricca, Utility Smart Infrastructure Product Line Manager, Terranova 

Showcase: Empowering water experts
Peter Coombs, EMEA Innovation Manager, Innovyse

Showcase: Delivering digital innovation through asset performance management 
As you continue the digital transformation of your water and wastewater operations, follow a more sustainable path and need to manage and reduce your operational costs, maintaining the reliability, safety and operation of your existing network assets is critical. Many utilities have challenges with poor levels of asset data capture and quality. Find out how IFS makes more effective use of asset data by capturing information through life from as designed, as built, as maintained in a single solution. 
Karen Desborough, Key Account Manager, IFS

15:15 - 16:30: Challenge workshop
Addressing the following:

  • Defining a smart water network
  • Integrating complex, disparate systems and aligning operations and IT
  • The role of standardisation and data optimisation


19 May AM:  Delivering system flexibility and the EV rollout

19 May AM:  Delivering system flexibility and the EV rollout

11:00 - 12:00:

Activating the potential of distributed energy resources, including the growing numbers of prosumers and electric vehicles is an urgent priority for the UK's net zero agenda. This session will explore key breakthroughs for a variety of stakeholders in the fast-developing world of flexible energy.

The infrastructure provider’s perspective:
Tom Callow, Head of insight and external affairs, BP Pulse 

The network’s perspective – delivering flexibility:
Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Head of smart grid development, UKPN 

The service provider’s perspective:
Albena Ivanova, Powerloop project manager , Octopus Electric Vehicles 

Rethinking electricity markets – reforms to unlock flexibility?:
George Day, Head of market, policy and regulation, Energy Systems Catapult

12:00 - 12:15: Speed networking

12:15 - 13:30: Challenge workshop
Addressing the following:

  • Electric vehicles are the catalyst for flexibility – what are the infrastructure requirements to facilitate mass take up, and what role can energy companies play, delivering interoperability and other preconditions of flexibility?
  • What are the necessary reward mechanisms for consumer adoption of EVs?
  • How can energy companies monitise EVs to support investment?


19 May AM:  Managing, maintaining and planning assets

19 May AM:  Managing, maintaining and planning assets

11:00 - 12:00:

Pressure to make efficiency savings as water and energy companies enter new price control periods is driving companies to look at the way they deliver operational and maintenance programmes, by bringing work in house and harnessing data to deliver efficiencies. This session will explore these solutions and also look at what measures can be taken to tackle another huge challenge – reducing the carbon footprint of construction and maintenance activities.

An integrated asset management approach for providing affordable, safe and reliable water in a changing climate:
Tamsin Lishman, Asset director, Northumbrian Water 

Digital asset management – optimising operational efficiency:
Matt Webb – Head of data, UKPN

How planning and delivery is changing in response to a net zero gas transition:
Emma Ford, Head of gas construction - Capital Delivery, National Grid

Three essentials for effective asset management through the energy transition:
Colin Beaney, Global VP - Asset-intensive and Energy & Utilities, IFS 

Showcase: Radar: capturing real-time, reliable, and verifiable data within sewers
In our recent project with Anglian Water we unveiled a fully self-contained and self-powered device that merges the latest communications technology with highly accurate radar to solve the issues common to level measurement in sewers. UDlive's solution is unique in that each measurement is accompanied by real-time confirmation of its reliability. This removes the guessing game that currently exists around measurement reliability. Other unique features of our solution include over-the-air updates, remote configuration and calibration, a 6-minute installation time, a highly flexible measurement range (5cm to 10m), and a predicted battery life of 10 years. The end result is a constant flow of water-level data you can trust to the millimetre, without having to send out teams to inspect the equipment.
Phil Bennett, Technical Director, UDlive

Showcase: Skypak platform: intelligent use of sensor data - Industry 4.0
Use Skypaq’s data platform to display sensor data on intelligent dashboards and enable predictive maintenance through secure data access and customizable software – Enable your enterprise meet sustainable targets using IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) with our partners TeamViewer and Salesforce.
Our platform is built for Industry 4.0 - the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. We discuss how this can be used for energy and utility companies.
Richard McKenna, Founder, Skypak

12:00 - 12:15: Speed networking

12:15 - 13:30: Challenge workshop
Addressing the following:

  • How can we use data intelligently to optimise operational efficiency and help achieve net zero ambitions?
  • Improving asset insight – When should we intervene and where to make investments?
  • Taking a multi-disciplinary approach how ‘smarter thinking’ and cross department agile approaches can deliver cost effective solutions


19 May PM: Improving wastewater treatment and resource recovery

19 May PM: Improving wastewater treatment and resource recovery

14:00 - 15:00:

Stretching efficiency targets and environmental responsibility mean water companies need to find new ways to drive wastefulness out of operations, processes and use of resources. This session will showcase the most exciting opportunities to do so.

Driving emissions out of wastewater:
Dr Mark Williams, Head of sustainability, Scottish Water

Using energy recovered from sewage treatment processes to heat 2000 homes:
Aram Wood, Renewables director, Thames Water 

Carbon capture – delivering on net zero:
Dr David Hodkin, Data scientist, WRC
Peter Vale, Technical lead – innovation, Severn Trent

Showcase: Sweating the assets. Drop-in OxyMem units easily enhance biomass inventory and nitrification on wastewater treatment plants
OxyMem, a DuPont Brand, will present a brief overview of their MABR technology and outline how it is now being considered across the globe as a means of enhancing COD and ammonia removal on existing wastewater treatment plants without the need for additional footprint or structures. High level data to be shared from the UK’s largest MABR plant, operated by Severn Trent. 
John McConomy, Commercial Director, OxyMem

Showcase: Nereda®: The route to sustainable Phosphorus removal and biopolymer recovery 
10 years on from first Nereda plant awarded, there has been rapid progress in the uptake of Nereda technology. 88 projects have now been awarded across the world, and 17 plants are operational across the UK and Ireland alone. We have some great examples of biological Phosphorus removal achieving requirements without ferric dosing. Following the success of Nereda technology, we’ve developed and introduced a range of standard package and mini plants to meet populations of up to 10,000 people. In addition to offering high quality treatment, we can extract 25% of the waste sludge solids as Kaumera gum, a sustainable biopolymer with an increasing range of applications.
Barry Oliver, Nereda Regional Sales Director Europe, Middle East and Africa, Royal HaskoningDHV 

19 May PM:  Delivering the smart meter rollout

19 May PM:  Delivering the smart meter rollout

14:00- 15:00:

Smart meters are an essential building block for the transformation of utilities' relationship with their customers and provide a doorway to greater water and energy efficiency. This session will explore how utilities can optimise their approach to getting meters into homes and maximise the data they produce.

Ambitions of the smart meter roll out: understanding the value beyond installations:
Chris Barlow, Innovation director, DCC

Roll out a scale addressing the day to day operational challenges:
Els Van de Vijver, Manager of Planning, Smart Meter Programme, EDF 

Building on the foundations of smart meter to achieve net zero:
Joe Mills, Head of smart platform, OVO Energy 

Championing customer involvement:
Rupal Patel, Head of supply energy - consulting, Capita

15:00 - 15:15: Speed networking

15:15 - 16:30: Challenge workshop
Addressing the following:

  • Are we ready to reap the benefits of the smart meter rollout? Are a) industry stakeholders and b) consumers, sufficiently educated and engaged?
  • How is smart meter data being used - and how can it be optimised?
  • What are the long term aspirations for the smart meter rollout and how does this support net zero ambitions?



Find out more on these challenges in the event brochure:

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  • We’re delighted to launch a new form of virtual event, bringing utilities professionals together to learn from one another as they tackle the most pressing business challenges. Utility Week Live Summit will use targeted, interactive networking techniques for problem- solving coupled with keynote presentations from industry leaders, regulators, and solution providers. Professionals who attend will help drive best practice across the industry.
    Ellen Bennett
    Publishing Director, Utility Week