We see growing risk to the operational resilience of our business as those assets age and their condition deteriorates. We track operational resilience risks through our corporate risk management framework and asset intelligence. We submitted a paper to Ofwat’s ‘Future ideas lab’ which discusses some of these issues in more detail.
Customers pay for the maintenance we make to our assets through their bills, so it is essential we manage our assets effectively and invest efficiently. In 2021 Ofwat introduced the Asset Management Maturity Assessment (AMMA) framework to assess asset management capability across the sector and we are pleased that a recent independent assessment suggests we are managing our assets effectively.
We also seek to use innovation to drive efficiency and improvement. For example, at our Innovation Festival 2021, we developed our ‘tipping point tool’.
The tool takes best practice from oil and gas industries and allows us to predict when concrete civil assets, which make up about 15% of our asset base, will need to be replaced; building resilience and meaning we can focus our investment programme where it’s needed most.
Before developing the tool, we needed specialists to visit and make on-site inspections to extrapolate what was found across our whole asset base. With the Tipping Point Tool, those predictions are far more accurate and reduce the risk of large-scale asset replacements being required over a short period of time - something that would be expensive for customers. Initial estimates show a repair would cost 10% of the cost of replacement so the tool has the potential to reduce costs, allowing us to plan and focus investment more effectively.