ESB: Reducing our consumption of water

Business in the Community Ireland

Company Description:
ESB is Ireland’s leading energy utility. We generate, distribute and sell (through our retail company ESB Electric Ireland) electricity to customers throughout Ireland.

Business Issue:
Historically, ESB has had poor knowledge of the amount of water used in its operations and a poor profile of the consumption of water across its sites throughout the country. With most of the information about usage levels coming from retrospective bills, issued to ESB once per quarter, it has been difficult to pro-actively manage our water needs in a pro-active way.

Solution Applied:
A project team, established to examine and improve water consumption performance in ESB, has identified the appropriate water metering infrastructure for the company (working in conjunction with and are now in the process of installing metering and monitoring performance across the country. The system has now been installed in 50 ESB locations, including ESB Head Office, most power stations and the 40 Largest Networks depots. Already, leaks detected by the system have been rectified in Aghada, Lee and Marina. In locations where the metering infrastructure was installed in time for last winter’s severe weather, pipe bursts caused by freezing were immediately identifiable and quickly rectified.

Company Benefits:
In some locations the installation of the metering has already paid for itself, through the savings associated with cessation of leaks and speedy identification of faults. According to Project Manager, Fergus Keane: “Water is an expensive resource for ESB and this project is really delivering in terms of allowing us to manage consumption issues in real time and at much reduced cost.”

Stakeholder Benefits:
Because the system is so easy to use, it is easy to quickly build a baseline useage profile. Once this is established, any significant variation can be immediately notified to local management for attention. According to Tony Carroll, Sustainability Programme Manager: “It has been a revelation to see the impact of water leakage in some locations. By installing this technology, we are making a positive and lasting impact on water conservation, in support of our ambition to become an exemplar in sustainability.”

The biggest challenge for ESB was the identification of the right technology, both in terms of metering and reporting. The clarity of the consumption charts being produced by make it very easy for local management in any location to understand their own profile and to quickly identify anomalies and problems.

Stakeholder support for this project is redoubled when evidence of the cost and resource savings enabled by real time reporting of consumption levels is demonstrated.

Departments Involved:
Generation Operations

Solution Champion:
Fergus Keane, Sustainability Manager, Generation Operations, Energy International Tel: 01 702 26286