Why is innovation important to us?

Innovation is the key to our business success – shaping it for the future and driving change to make sure we get the results our stakeholders value. We're very aware that innovation is important for our long term sustainability and essential to the growth and development of the business.

Here at Wales & West Utilities, we work in a fast paced and ever evolving industry. Regulatory changes, a shifting political landscape and the economic climate mean that if we are to thrive as a business, we need to meet today’s challenges and get ready for tomorrow's. Building on our great reputation for safety and customer service, we’re focussed on innovation, value and partnerships.

Our ambition

We’re dreaming big. In our next price control period, up to 2026, we want to continue investing in innovation and to make sure customers get the best value for money, equivalent to a saving of £18m over the five-year period.

Since 2013, our partners will have helped us deliver £15m in project benefit. We want to work with you to continue delivering real benefits for our customers and aim to increase our reach to work with more than 500 external organisations over the next six years.

We are committed to delivering long-term benefits through our future of energy projects and want to be net zero ready by 2035.

Our process

We’ve built a strong but simple innovation operating model – our ‘innovation process toolkit’ – that uses a range of tools and techniques to produce clear project strategies and plans, engages stakeholders in our vision, encourages project success and supports roll-out of equipment, products, research findings and procedures.

This year, this process has seen us invest in 30 projects and fully embed 100 innovations into the business. Our project partners have been there every step of the way, from ideation to business-as-usual, and have helped us share learning broadly.

We will keep you engaged and provide you access to the wealth of knowledge in our business, assuring pace and maximum potential success on roll-out.

Open innovation

We are at the forefront of sharing our learning with other companies and interested bodies through network forums and dissemination events. In 2019/20, we attended more than 200 engagements at 36 locations – reaching more than 8,000 people in the process.

Collaboration doesn’t just mean working on projects with our network partners. It means actively sharing learning from our projects and adopting best practice. We have formed and strengthened relationships through active participation at collaborative forums such as the Gas Innovation Governance Group (GIGG), where we have shared £100k worth of project benefit.

We want to work with you

We have well thought out ways of working that take us from a first idea to the launch of a project and beyond. Getting this right means we can make sure we have the knowledge, skills and management that result in good decisions which match our overall business strategy. We’d appreciate your ideas and thoughts to make sure that we continue to deliver a range of innovation projects that meet the challenges we face.

We aim to deliver benefits for our customers beyond our expertise and look for appropriate partnerships to achieve this. We're very good at what we do, but we aim to be even better by working with others who can offer additional skills and experience. We also welcome the opportunity to connect with other people and organisations to share knowledge and skills to build our innovation strategy for the future.

 We’re keen to keep in touch with you – to receive updates from us including opportunities to work together, become part of our innovator network by filling out this form

Do you have an innovative idea? Tell us about your Product Ideas, or Project Ideas. Alternatively, contact our team at innovation@wwutilities.co.uk.

For more information about all NIA projects, please visit the ENA Smarter Networks Portal.

The energy networks and underlying infrastructure are critical enablers in Great Britain’s (GB) decarbonisation journey to delivering a successful and rapid net zero future. In service of these decarbonisation goals, the networks invest millions of pounds each year into innovative projects to develop a greener, more reliable, efficient and accessible energy system of the future. This report reflects on the progress networks have made in FY23, with a specific focus on RIIO-2 funded innovation.