December 12 2018 @ 15:32 by Chloe Holmes
Northumbrian 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.
Northumbrian Water 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 Northumbrian Water 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 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 Northumbrian Water’s normal sphere of influence.
Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water, said: “The Utility Week Awards was a fantastic night for us. Introducing the new billing system was a massive undertaking, and our team did it brilliantly and seamlessly for our 4.5 million customers, which is a superb achievement. Likewise, developing the culture of innovation that drives so many great ideas and makes them a reality that helps colleagues and customers alike, has been a really important part of our development as a business in recent years, so it is great to see that reflected with a top industry award.
“A year ago, the same ceremony saw us named Utility of the Year, which was a fantastic accolade for the business as a whole, especially as it was followed up a few months later when we were named Water Company of the Year at the Water Industry Achievement Awards. This event was a chance to shine a spotlight on some of the brilliant work done by individuals, teams and departments throughout the company who help us to deliver fantastic things for our customers and communities, and we are incredibly proud of the work that has led to these awards.”