SA Water and Horizon Power were awarded top honours at the Digital Utility Awards in Melbourne in April, as joint winners of the Australian Digital Utility of the Year award.

The award recognises SA Water and Horizon Power’s position as industry leader’s in regards to the integration of digital and smart technologies for the benefit of customers.

SA Water’s General Manager Customer Delivery, Kerry Rowlands, said the corporation is using new and emerging technologies such as digital sensors, the Internet of Things and smart phone accessibility to improve the way it meets the changing needs and expectations of its customers.

“Digitally driven communications have strongly influenced the way businesses connect to their customers, and we’re now using data and digital information to improve the services and experience we deliver to our residential and business customers,” Ms Rowlands said.

SA Water’s nomination showcased their work in both operational back-of-house functions, as well as customer interfaces.

“New online solutions are enabling customers to more easily report faults and manage accounts via their computer or smartphone.

“Business customers in the CBD are also able to actively monitor their water consumption through smart meters, to quickly identify anomalies and implement improved water management practices,” Ms Rowlands said.

Horizon Power Managing Director, Frank Tudor, said the award was acknowledgment of each and every employees’ contribution to Horizon Power’s transformation.

“This award is great recognition of the very strategic and purposeful move we have made as an organisation, away from being an energy-focused company, towards a technology-focused company,” Mr Tudor said.

“At Horizon Power we continue to develop and invest in digital technologies, including sky imaging and satellite-based cloud monitoring as part of our world-first research trials, which will inform our work in the renewable energy space.

“We have also introduced a free app, which allows our customers to monitor their usage and bills in near real time – a first in Australia.

Horizon Power

Mr Tudor said it had taken a number of years and several other projects for Horizon Power to reach this point.

“Our advanced meters – installed right across our service area in 2015 and 2016 – provide us with 22 million data points each day,” he said.

“Analysis of this data is now a crucial part of our decision-making process for future projects in the digital space.”

Mr Tudor was also awarded the Utility Innovator of the Year Award at the gala dinner, which is awarded to the individual making the single biggest contribution to the digitisation of the utility sector. 

Judges also recognised SA Water’s groundbreaking smart water network installed across Adelaide’s CBD which includes acoustic sensors, pressure and flow data, high speed transient pressure sensors, smart meters and water quality sensors.

This smart network enables SA Water to identify anomalies, proactively repair faults, reduce disruptions and improve responses to unplanned work.

“Empowering our own people with improved digital systems is also changing the way we deliver services to our customers – and safety to our workers,” Ms Rowlands said.

“Paper trails are history for our field crews who now use a custom-built app to dispatch jobs to field staff who can update jobs as they arrive, undertake the repair and complete it.”

Using new and proven technology to continually improve services for customers is now a part of SA Water’s way of thinking.

“Our customers’ needs and expectations will always be our number one focus, but this award is a wonderful recognition of our teams’ efforts in the digital space.”  

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