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Comply with utility regulations

The regulatory environment for Utilities is incredibly complex and geographically determined, Regulations within the different sectors differ and require that Utilities comply with different sets of rules. Multinational Utilities must also comply with differing regulations around the world.

OS data is a significant enabler for Severn Trent Water in meeting the performance assessment targets set by OFWAT and places us in a better position to comply with future legislation. For example, the rewriting of the code of practice for keeping records means that by 2011 water companies will be required to improve the positional accuracy of underground assets from 300 to 100 mm. This will demand the use of GPS surveying coupled with a reliable method of continually updating information.

Steve Allen, Severn Trent Water

Geographic Information (GI) is necessary to understand which location requires compliance with which regulations, and to understand how to respond to customers according to the appropriate rules. Without the geographic analysis capabilities of Geographic Information, regulatory compliance becomes almost unmanageable and certainly much more costly for infrastructure organisations.

Environmental regulation

Utility companies are required to comply with environmental regulations, inspection directives, street works programs, tax laws, and many other regulatory mandates. Companies can leverage their databases with geographic information (GI) technology to meet the demands of these mandates and to provide regulatory agencies with compliance information. Regulatory compliance mapping with GI offers accurate calculations, provides flexibility to adapt to regulatory changes, and streamlines compliance processes.

Geographical Information

GI such as OS MasterMap combined with organisational data enables Utilities to:

  • Identifying the exact location and status of your assets, in particular, critical infrastructure – enabling business continuity plans such as the rerouting of alternative supplies to be managed quickly and effectively, restoring service provision and reducing compensation payments.
  • Managing impact on service provision down to single household level. By linking an address with property classifications to an operational asset, efforts can be much more targeted in managing resources, risks and responses, particularly by establishing vulnerable customers such as the elderly and hospitals.
  • Evidence-based investment strategies – many utility companies are re-evaluating possible investments to increase the degree of redundancy of supply; geographic information provides the foundation for evidence-based decisions and enables working together with regulators and key stakeholders to ensure that they can proceed with the most effective schemes.
  • Maintenance history information generated will be valuable data for use in determining budgets, planning capital improvements, and developing preventive/predictive maintenance activities.

Data collection

Ultimately, the infrastructure asset data collected, managed, and maintained by GIS and maintenance management systems should be integrated with the corporate financial management system. Together, these systems can provide the needed infrastructure asset, maintenance, and financial data to help Utilities day to day operations and comply with Regulation. Maintenance history information generated will be valuable data for use in determining budgets, planning capital improvements, and developing preventive/predictive maintenance activities. GIS facilitates collecting, retrieving, and maintaining this information for analysis by identifying specific infrastructure assets, locations, or attributes.

GI also underpins and enables the wider Operational businesses to answer questions such as:

  • Where are my company's assets located?
  • How can we best model what-if scenarios?
  • How can I plan new routes for my facilities?
  • How vulnerable are my Assets?
  • How long do we need to recover from an interruption?
  • Where are my customers in relation to my assets?
  • Where are new customers?

Utilities' use of location

There are many more ways Utilities can use location for risk assessment and mitigation. Adding that geographic component is critical to finding that delicate balance between risk, profitability, and fairness to customers.

GIS is an end-to-end data management solution that coordinates all of your regulatory compliance activities. The best solution is designed to fully integrate all business units with a seamless backbone OS MasterMap that puts the right information into the right hands for managing all of your compliance needs, and reduces your total cost of system ownership by managing a diverse range of compliance activities--all in a single easy-to-use and untapped Operational Expenditure environment.

View our OS MasterMap products

Case studies

A single source of data enabled by a Central Spatial Repository is enabling 1600 users to view complex geographic information easily and make better operational decisions.

United Utilities uses OS MasterMap to improve service levels, water quality and business performance.

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