United Utilities of the United Kingdom recently signed a multi-million dollar (U.S.) contract with Autodesk Inc. for the development of a GIS utility solution for its electricity distribution network division, formerly known as Norweb Distribution. United Utilities also signed a three-year support contract with Autodesk, in addition to the GIS solution contract.
United Utilities Service Delivery provides an approximately 35,000 mile (58,000 kilometer) electricity network for 2.1 million customers in northwest England. Within its licensed multi-utility operations, United Utilities also provides water and wastewater services to almost 3 million customers. The water business was formerly known as North West Water, which had been using an earlier Autodesk GIS solution to manage its water network assets. Implementing GIS across all areas of the business is one part of an overall five-year strategy by United Utilities to deliver £450m (approximately U.S. $650 million) in cost savings over five years.
The new GIS solution will allow United Utilities to update and maintain its electricity utility asset records. Functionality includes electricity network tracing, gazetteering, rules, and workflow-based data update, along with integration with United Utilities Water Utility asset information.
Paul Wadsworth, United Utilities’ GIS project manager, said of the planned GIS solution: “This new technology will not only enable United Utilities to deal with problems faster, it will give us the capability to manage the business more efficiently through access to better data.”
Wadsworth said that United Utilities conferred with other utility companies using Autodesk solutions and received favorable reviews. “Our first impression is that the functionality is very rich and that we have purchased a flexible toolset,” Wadsworth said. “We are now in the process of raising the IT skills of our staff to move forward with the new solution.”