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National Grid's Successful Damage Reduction Strategy with Urbint's AI-Powered Solution

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 National Grid's Successful Damage Reduction Strategy with Urbint's AI-Powered Solution - IoT ONE Case Study
Technology Category
  • Sensors - Gas Sensors
  • Sensors - Utility Meters
Applicable Industries
  • Electrical Grids
  • Utilities
Use Cases
  • Microgrid
  • Structural Health Monitoring
The Customer
About The Customer
National Grid is a multinational electricity and gas utility company headquartered in London. It operates in three northeastern U.S. states: New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The utility’s downstate New York territory, which includes most of New York City and all of Long Island, services 1.9 million gas customers and has 12,000 miles of gas transmission and distribution pipeline. The downstate New York gas damage prevention program is managed by Robert Terjesen and his team, which consists of four managers, 20 inspectors, 200 locators, and 17 contract “damage prevention advisors.” The territory averages nearly 600,000 811 tickets per year.
The Challenge
National Grid, a multinational electricity and gas utility company, had been successful in reducing damages in their downstate New York territory for nearly a decade. However, the damage rate plateaued around 1.6 damages per thousand 811 tickets. The utility was facing challenges in identifying high-risk excavations due to the large volume of tickets, which was around 600,000 per year. Furthermore, the utility was experiencing higher-than-average no call-in damages on Long Island, with 40 to 45 percent of damages resulting from excavators not calling 811 before working. Despite efforts to increase awareness among the excavating community, the utility was still an outlier in the industry. National Grid needed a solution to efficiently identify their highest risk excavations and determine where no call-in damage was most likely to occur on Long Island.
The Solution
National Grid partnered with Urbint to implement Urbint for Damage Prevention, an AI-powered software that identifies high-risk excavations. The software examines a utility’s historical incident data, internal data such as the age, type, and location of an asset, and combines it with Urbint’s Model of the World to assign risk scores to 811 tickets. Urbint found that the majority of National Grid’s damages were coming from just a small percentage of their tickets, and that one of the strongest predictors of damages was which excavation company was doing the digging. With this insight, National Grid was able to target problem excavators and proactively intervene on risky job sites. To reduce no call-in excavation damage on Long Island, National Grid used Urbint's no call-in feature, which provides insights on where non-ticketed excavations are likely to occur and which are the most likely to result in infrastructure damage.
Operational Impact
  • With the help of Urbint, National Grid was able to significantly reduce its damage rate and the number of damages. The utility also saw improvements from the most damage-prone excavators. As an example, one large excavator reduced its high damage rate of 6.0 damages per thousand in 2015 to 2.0 damages per thousand in 2019. The utility was also able to improve its relationships with excavators through its coordinated education efforts. What used to be an adversarial relationship was becoming one of trust. Finally, using the Urbint for Damage Prevention no call-in feature, National Grid is able to better target their 811 awareness campaigns on Long Island. Encouraged by the results of the three-year technology deployment, National Grid in 2019 made an equity investment in Urbint via National Grid Partners, the company's strategic investment and innovation arm.
Quantitative Benefit
  • 37% reduction in damages per thousand from 2016 to 2020
  • 22% reduction in the total number of damages from 2019 to 2020
  • Significant reduction in no call-in excavation damage on Long Island

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