Siemens Energy wins major service agreement in Middle East
Kuwait’s Minister of Electricity and Water (MEW) has awarded Siemens Energy a five-year service contract for the maintenance of 116 high-voltage substations, the energy giant says.
It represents Siemens Energy’s largest transmission service order in the country and is one of the biggest service agreements in the Middle East’s power transmission sector.
The project aims to ensure reliable power supply throughout Kuwait, with the service stations set to undergo maintenance to enhance their reliability and safety while providing power to both residential and commercial areas, Siemens Energy says.
A substation is key to power supply as it is used for transmitting and distributing electricity to distant locations. It is for that reason that safety, security, reliability, and efficiency are essential.
Through preventative maintenance Siemens Energy aims to ensure that the people of Kuwait have a stable and reliable source of energy, the statement adds.
Ananthnarayan Iyer, VP (Transmission Service), Siemens Energy Middle East, said: "It covers preventive maintenance and emergency repair of the substations, including various voltage levels switchgears, power transformers and various assets in each substation."
"We are looking forward to contributing further to Kuwait’s long-term energy demands in a sustainable manner. The services to these substations will help maximise performance, lower operating costs and deliver better network operations for the ministry," he adds.
“This agreement builds on our strong legacy of successful projects in Kuwait,” says Herbert Klausner, managing director of Siemens Energy Kuwait.
“We remain committed to driving power sector efficiency across Kuwait and helping the Ministry of Electricity meet the increasing demand for power for domestic, industrial and municipal use,” he adds, highlight that around a quarter of the power transmitted in the country utilises Siemens Energy’s technology.
The awarding of the contract is the second major coup for the energy giant in the GCC, following news that Siemens Energy has been appointed to upgrade and expand services at Jebal Ali L2 power and water station in Dubai.
The integrated 20-year long-term service agreement for that project includes an intelligent gas turbine controller, which has been jointly developed by DEWA and Siemens Energy.
As per that agreement Siemens Energy will supply an intelligent controller for each of the four SGT5-4000F gas turbines, the latest SPPA-T3000 control system, services for generators, as well as added upgrades for outage reduction and operational flexibility.
The intelligent controller was co-developed by DEWA and Siemens Energy in 2019 and is the world’s first thermodynamic Digital Twin Gas Turbine (GT) Intelligent Controller. The controller uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to systematically give power plant operators a complete and continuous overview and scenario-based assessment of power plant operations.
Technology revolution for water retailers
In April 2017, the UK’s water retail market in the world opened for business – the single biggest change to the water sector since privatisation. This development allowed businesses, charities and public sector organisations to shop around for the best deal.
However, like any industry, this change hasn’t been without its sticking points; here, Paul Williams, CTO at Everflow Tech (pictured far right), discusses how retailers can harness technology to their advantage
Quotations could take up to a week to produce, billing software had to be manually updated and brokers were unable to manage the complete customer journey in one place – all of which took time, cost money and allowed for human error.
The more complexity that was involved in billing or quoting, the more contact end customers needed to have with their retailers, pushing up the cost to serve for every SPID. This meant retailers – ourselves included – found themselves in a situation where profits were simply eaten up by service costs.
We also note that it can traditionally be hard for retailers to stay on top of balancing what they are charging their customers with what they are being charged by the market. To further exacerbate this, the longer a change goes unnoticed, the more trouble it can be to balance the issue.
It was these issues that Josh and his (at the time) small team wanted to ameliorate, creating their own technology in the absence of anything else.
This technology evolved into our award-winning retail sales, billing and customer management platform for the water retail market, and Everflow Tech was launched as a standalone venture in 2018, selling the software externally for other water retailers and their customers to benefit from.
What retailers want
As a relatively new entrant to the world of utilities competition, the water market could be seen to be lagging behind, particularly when it comes to innovation.
In fact, as recently as 2019, Ofwat said it expected the industry to be making technological advances and to be working with a culture of innovation, collaborating with companies both within and outside of the sector.
And with cost-savings for consumers traditionally lower than for other utilities, retailers need to be offering something more – whether that’s better support, energy-efficiency advice or more accurate data.
What’s more, consumers have had a taste of the power of technology, and they’ve come to expect nothing less from retailers across the board.
Another key issue – thrown into sharp relief during the past 12 months (and counting) of a pandemic – is rising levels of arrears, which are likely to increase bad debt beyond margins that retailers originally allowed for when the market was created.
In such a low-margin industry, there is a limit to the amount of debt retailers can take on, especially as recovering costs can be a very slow process. Ofwat has signalled that this issue could be addressed as early as this year, with a mechanism for recovering bad debt to be established during 2021/22.
The market needs simple solutions to better serve the end user, and we were perfectly placed to develop those solutions. At Everflow, our software is designed for the water retail market, by the water retail market.
As well as simple billing, clear-to-understand workflows, and a revenue assurance system to allow retailers to quickly compare market charges, Everflow has also introduced a complete debt solution, allowing missed payment dates to drive late payment charges and escalations automatically.
Retailers are able to design and put out their own bill and quotes, tailoring customer journey and overall experience – whatever the circumstances.
What does the future hold?
Automation is key to any industry; we’re heading into an age of driverless cars and smart homes, and this drive for tech will filter through to our industry, and we need to catch up.
The Internet of Things – a network of physical objects connected to each other – means human error (and effort) can effectively be removed from many everyday tasks, which goes for meter readings too. However, in the 21st century, the water market is still not leveraging previously emerged technology in the form of smart meters to provide accurate billing.
Consumers are also becoming more empowered, both to ask for information and change their preferences if they don’t like what they learn. Retailers need to be armed with this information, not next week, not tomorrow, but now – and, at Everflow Tech, we’re putting that information at their fingertips.
But the retailers themselves need to speak up too, and we will always work with them to get the best ideas on what needs to be developed and when.
Our strong bond with Everflow Water, along with other key customers, means we have a direct interest in making sure our systems serve the water market in the best way they can.
For us, the goal is to make sure retailers on our platform can grow as much as possible, leaving behind laborious daily processes to focus on their own strategic growth and, most importantly, helping their customers.