Northumbrian Water Group, which includes Essex & Suffolk Water, is celebrating a duo of “industry Oscars” after its work on innovation and on introducing a new customer billing system were recognised at the utilities sector’s biggest celebration of the year.
The company was shortlisted for an incredible ten awards at the Utility Week Awards, at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Monday night, and came away with two top prizes.
The water company received the award for IT Initiative of the Year, for the implementation of its new customer billing system, which modernised and improved the way it supports and services customers’ accounts.
The second honour was the Transformation and Innovation Award, with judges highlighting “a culture in which innovation is everyone’s job” and giving special mention to the company’s Innovation Festivals.
The billing system transformation represents a reinvention of the way the company supports its customers. The award was for the successful introduction of the new IT platforms, including the new billing system, and the transfer of all 4.5 million customers from the old programmes.
This has delivered significant improvements for customers, including reducing the time between meter readings and bills from five days to 24 hours, which delivers consistency of billing.
While Northumbrian Water Group introduced its annual Innovation Festival in 2017 as a focal point of its innovation activity, the Transformation and Innovation Award reflected the company’s continuing innovative culture, which spreads throughout the business.
The processes and support that are in place to allow people to turn ideas into things that make the business even better sees employees developing their own innovations and partnerships with national and global organisations that deliver innovation that can have an impact far beyond the water company’s normal sphere of influence.