UK Power Networks collaborates on underground data initiative

UK Power Networks has been an active participant of a new data project to digitally map underground infrastructure across the UK.

The National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) was launched in 2019 by the Geospatial Commission, part of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). The register is a digital blueprint of the 40,000,000km of underground cables and pipes across the country.

There are more than 650 asset owners across the public and private sectors (such as energy, water and telecommunications) who hold data about their own equipment, and are required by law to share to ensure excavation work can be conducted in a safe manner. However, there is currently no standardised method to do this, with multiple organisations having to be contacted for each dig. By having a single point of reference, stakeholders will in future be able to improve digging efficiency, reduce damage strikes, and help the local community.

Committed to contributing to the success of NUAR, UK Power Networks has participated in the development of the electricity component of the standard data model underpinning the platform. Going forward the company will continue to provide updates to ensure the data from its 190,000km network is kept current and up to date.

NUAR partially rolled out last month, initially available to eligible organisations in three areas: London, Wales and the north east of England.

It is set to deliver at least £350 million per year of economic growth.

Matt Webb, Head of Enterprise Data Management at UK Power Networks, says, “UK Power Networks has committed to realising the full potential value of its network and asset data through shared and open publication to as broad a range of stakeholders as possible.

“Participation in NUAR is an example of this in practice aimed at improving access and use of our data in a controlled manner, in the interest of safe excavation and cross-party coordination.

“Whilst recognising that the data and information made available by NUAR may not be useful in all instances, we believe that in allowing immediate identification of our assets alongside all other utilities and infrastructure at a given location, the end-user can be efficiently directed to our existing complimentary plan provision services where more detailed and comprehensive records can be requested as necessary.

“These benefits also extend to or internal planning, design and operational staff who of course need similar insight into third party assets.”

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