WPD sets out plans for digitalisation, pledges innovative use of data

Western Power Distribution (WPD) has signalled its commitment to publishing open access network data in its roadmap for its first digitisation strategy.

Published on 11 December, the roadmap is centred around two main principles that will drive the development of the digitalisation strategy, with the first being digitalising the energy system itself. This relates to the continuous delivery of innovative projects to provide greater visibility of network data. WPD noted that its own innovation projects have developed new equipment capable of providing enhanced visibility of the electricity network. These solutions, along with advanced ICT-based control systems, have been rolled out across its regions.

The second guiding principle is that all data is presumed open. WPD’s Energy Data Hub is already hosting numerous sets of network data and information, with more raw data sets and user-friendly enquiry tools set to be added to the site. DSO and Future Networks Manager, Nigel Turvey, said the company’s neutral position in the energy services market meant it was ideally positioned to act as a hub for such information.

Stakeholder input will be sought at every stage of WPD’s approach to digitalisation, with a first public strategy to be unveiled in March 2020. The full digitalisation strategy will set out how technologies are already, and continuing to, enable WPD to further improve business efficiency; turn data into information that benefits customers; provide open data to market participants; provide better insight into asset capability for customers planning to connect new loads, storage or generation; develop new connection and service propositions; and drive enhanced network performance.