Innovation key for Scotland's 'Hydro Nation' vision
Customer service and innovation in water technology will be two central planks of Scotland's future as a 'Hydro Nation', WWT's Water Scotland conference heard yesterday (October 7).
Addressing the conference in Glasgow, Douglas Millican, Scottish Water’s chief executive, said that Scottish Water has customer satisfaction scores of over 90% and that it was the most trusted UK utility; but this still left room for improvement and the company was now applying different standards to its customer service.
“Which of our customers, apart perhaps from large businesses, actually compare our service with other water companies?,” asked Millican. “Customer expectations are determined by the standards of companies in other sectors that they do business with. That’s why we’ve set a goal to match the performance of not of other water companies, but of leading customer service organisations across the country.”
Sustaining this high performance while cutting costs would entail ‘doing more with less’ and improving the company’s understanding and management of risks, he added.
Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, told the conference that public appreciation for its water, together with technical innovation, were both crucial for the Scottish Government’s vision of Scotland as a ‘Hydro Nation’.
“Being a Hydro Nation means recognising the importance and value of our water resources, managing the water environment to best advantage and developing and promoting more efficient use of resources. It means being a nation which uses its knowledge and expertise to contribute to a flourishing low-carbon economy. We want to develop a vibrant water economy which supports sustainable economic growth by growing our international reputation, developing continued research excellence, and encouraging sustainable development across the sector. We must also deliver the highest quality services possible for customers.”
The Hydro Nation Innovation Service, set up by the Scottish Government, is supporting this vision by allowing innovators access to Scottish Water testing facilities and accelerating the progress of new technologies to market, he added.
Terry A’Hearn, chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said that regulators could also play their part in the vision by adopting a less risk averse, partnership-based approach. He pointed out that SEPA has a specific mandate not just to protect the environment, but to do so in a way that facilitates economic growth.
“As a regulator how do you support innovation? You need to break down something that is in the DNA of any regulator, which is to avoid risk. It’s a question of balance. We think we’ve worked out how we can take some regulatory risks in a way that supports innovation,” said A’Hearn.
- Welsh Water names its AMP6 partners Skanska Construction UK working with Hyder Consulting (UK), Mott Macdonald Bentley, and Morgan Sindall, working with Arup,... Read More >
- Northumbrian installs 'moss tree' to fight city-centre pollution Northumbrian Water has announced that it has installed a pollution-busting 'moss tree' in Newcastle to purify air in the... Read More >
- 'Radical change' required in UK water The UK needs to see 'radical change' in the way it delivers water and wastewater services, Albion Water's executive... Read More >
- In the frame for delivery: UKWIR CEO on Ofwat's innovation competition With Ofwat confirming plans for a £200 million innovation competition which will run between 2020 and 2025, UKWIR chief... Read More >
- A digital revolution in water The UK Water Partnership (UKWP) has launched a 10-point action plan to help ensure that UK plc wins its share of an... Read More >
- Industry 4.0 - how to build a digital twin Chris Steele, head of information management and analytics at Black & Veatch Europe, runs through the steps required to... Read More >
- Rewarding excellence WWT content director Alec Peachey looks ahead to next year's Water Industry Awards. Read More >
- Refining water quality management As part of our Utility of the Future campaign, Nadine Buddoo looks at why maintaining water quality is a fundamental... Read More >