Driving the Energy Revolution

Network Rail is the largest non-regulated electricity consumer in the UK. It spends £300 million on electricity with £250 million on rail traction alone, which is recharged to operators with little or no focus on carbon reduction.

What network rail needed

The rail industry was reviewing the electricity used in moving trains on its network. New government legislation had come at a time when there was intense financial pressure coupled with climate change concerns, like never before. Network Rail had to reduce carbon, and improve accuracy and billing of electricity usage. This was a directive by the UK Government rail body, the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR). Specifically, Network Rail had to provide train operators with the option to be billed based on metered EC4T (Electric Current for Traction) consumption.

The challenge

Network Rail negotiated the use of £8.7 million of funding to help train operators install meters on electric trains that would provide accurate billing. NR funded separately the billing system to process the data from the meters. The project aimed to help the railway become more energy efficient, immediately. Plus the company could easily integrate OTM with other systems that would help it continue to increase its energy efficiency in the future.

Our answer

Deadlines were tight. Network Rail needed people with unique subject matter knowledge to help it achieve a swift project take-off at lower cost and reduced risk. Having shaped the requirement for OTM solutions, we provided timely guidance. A Network Rail consulting paper (2008) by Chris Beard, Energy expert at CGI and author of “Smart Metering for Dummies” who is one of our experts, became the operational guide for the UK rail industry.

A success story

The service is helping Network Rail reduce the carbon used by the GB’s rail network. Billing for electricity usage is spot-on. Operators fitting meters to their entire fleet will be billed for their trains’ electricity consumption during the invoice period. So, it no longer receives an estimated bill that may have to be adjusted at the end of the financial year through the ‘wash-up’ process. Instead, operators know exactly how exactly how much the total cost of electricity consumption is and can manage their cash flow better.

Why work with us?

We’ve introduced smart transport schemes that support millions of users, and brought real-time travel information to public transport. We are known for our technological know-how and delivery record across the industry, distribution and transport sector. Companies upgrading legacy systems and those adding new functionality make us their first-choice systems integrator.