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Utility Week Live's starring role for innovation

Utility Week Live is the only UK event dedicated to the water, gas and electricity sectors. WET News takes a sneak peek at what's on the cards for this year’s event.

More than 100 speakers, 150 exhibitors and 3,000 delegates will attend Utility Week Live this spring when the two-day show returns to Birmingham’s NEC on May 17-18.

The headline theme of this year’s show is “Innovation”, with content focusing on the electricity, gas and water sectors, along with two new additions for 2016, heat and streetworks. Underneath the overarching themes are five further content streams that will help to shape the debate over the two days. These are: 

• Innovation
• Skills
• Data and analysis
• Totex
• Resilience
• Customers

The keynote conference returns, and will give VIP delegates the opportunity to review and discuss the work going on within the sector to tackle the challenges facing utilities, and also to learn from those outside the sector, exposing them to new ideas and innovations.

On the main exhibition floor there will be three seminar theatres, developed by the team behind Utility Week. These will feature agenda setting talks and panel discussions from industry leaders, regulators and policy makers. Joining the water, electricity and gas seminars – which reappear this year – are seminars on heat on the afternoon on the first day and streetworks on the second half of day two.

There are a number of other show features at Utility Week Live, including the new Streetworks Village, the Pumping Station, and the 2016 edition of the Drilling and Tapping competition. 

Amanda Barnes, chief executive of Utility Week Live organiser Faversham House, which publishes WET News, said: “Utility Week Live 2016 builds on the success of the inaugural 2015 show. We’ve listened to our event stakeholders and have switched to a highly focused two-day format. 

“It offers professionals working in the utilities industries the chance to discover the latest innovations and product solutions, and exchange cutting-edge ideas on the strategic, operational and technical side of their businesses. Visitors will meet peers, partners and suppliers, and gain invaluable knowledge from industry leaders in the CPD-accredited live content programmes, plus the pitching sessions, technical demon-strations and net-working opportunities.”

The Utility Week Live technical seminars and exhibition are free to attend, with paid VIP tickets granting access to the keynote conference and panel discussions. Here’s a taste of what visitors can expect to see and hear.

On the podium will be:
Making an appearance on May 17 will be Ofwat’s chief executive, Cathryn Ross. She will be giving an insight into the future of water regulation. Later that day, she will team up with her Ofgem and Ofcom counterparts, Dermot Nolan and Sharon White, respectively, for a panel discussion on the role of regulation in enabling a connected future.

The event’s Water Theatre will the location for a number of thought-provoking seminars covering the challenges that the water companies and their contractors face. These include totex which will be the subject of a seminar session, also on May 17, where the discussion will focus on the water sector’s drive for greater cost-efficiency and improved customer service during AMP6. With totex promoting asset optimisation, the session will discuss the new challenges that this new culture brings for water companies and their contractors.

The first day of Utility Week Live, also sees Anglian Water’s Steve Kaye linking up with Scottish Water’s Chris Toop and the British Pump Manufacturers Association’s Steve Schofield for a dis-cussion on water company strategies to reduce energy costs.

Building Modelling Infor-mation (BIM) is growing in importance in the water sector, and will be the topic of discussion on May 18 between United Utilities’ Garry Nodwell, MEPS’ David Hargreaves, and session chair Andrew Cowell, of MWH Global and who is chair of BIM4Water.

With regulator Ofwat placing a new focus on the importance of resilience for water and wastewater companies, Jacob Tompkins – the chair of a recent review into the topic – is among the speakers on May 18 session looking at how the industry can become more resilient and prepare and adapt to risks.

Also on May 18 Andy Blackhall of Welsh Water will lead a panel discussion exploring the benefits of metering and smart metering, discussing the technology available, the effect on customer behaviour and experience, how data can provide insightful and actionable information and the challenges of retail separation for metering.
Making their Utility Week Live debuts are two new features – Streetworks, and the Pumping Station.

Streetworks will be a major feature on the show floor. It will include an interactive Streetworks Village with a wide range of streetworks solutions providers demonstrating their products and services on a patchwork of specially-constructed streets.

The Pumping Station will be showcasing best practice and innovation in pumps, and will feature a dedicated display area and workshop, where practical sessions will run throughout the day, alongside those in the Water Theatre.

Utility Week Live has also teamed up with the Future Water Association to bring an edition of the association’s Water Dragons competition to the event. Innovative products and services will be pitched to a panel of water industry experts in an event modelled on TV’s Dragon’s Den.

Other major features include the ever popular Drilling and Tapping competition; the Innovation Zone, organised in association with the Energy Innovation Council, another popular feature highlighting the latest game-changing innovations for the gas and electricity industries via a technical pitches and live product demonstrations.

Utility Week Live takes place at the NEC on May 17-18. Visit www.utilityweeklive.co.uk for more information and to register.

Innovation

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