Real Time Networks

This is a project we’re using to find out exactly how much gas the country needs and when. Once we find this out, the aim is to show our customers how they could get exactly what they need, when they need it, using a flexible gas network, which would be kinder to the environment and waste a lot less gas. We will use 1,200 homes in the south-east to collect this data. If you would like to be a part of this research, email us at customer@sgn.co.uk or call us on 0800 912 1700. 

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Get involved

For our project to work towards a potentially cheaper, more secure and lower carbon gas future, we need support from our customers who either live or work in the south east by contributing their gas usage information. We need your help to establish how much gas is used and when to improve our gas delivery efficiency.  

If you are a domestic customer and choose to participate, please email us at customer@sgn.co.uk or call us on 0800 912 1700 to find out if you meet our property sample requirements. We are looking for a wide variety of property types in different areas across the south-east. If you meet our sample criteria, we will contact you to arrange a logger installation. As a thank you, all customers* who are chosen for our project will receive a £40 shopping gift voucher and free carbon monoxide alarm following the installation of the data logger. 

*Please note that the £40 shopping voucher and free carbon monoxide alarm are only available to our residential customers. 

Future benefits

Real-Time Networks aims to reduce gas costs and improve our security of supply for the future. Whilst we carry out our project, not only do we aim to achieve these benefits for our customers, we anticipate the following benefits could also be established for our network and for the wider energy industry. 

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Network benefits

  • Reduce network strategic investments (mains replacement/reinforcement), through better understanding of demand and diversity
    Many of our demand and supply calculations were formulated in the early 80s. These calculations predict the amount of gas used by typical house types. However, we know that all our customers are different and so use gas in their own way.  The overall assumption being that not all properties will have the same demand requirements at the same time. However, over the course of the last 30 years, house types, energy requirements have changed drastically. Our project will redesign these figures to match modern-day use.
  • Demonstrate cutting-edge sensor technologies
    During the project we will adapt and improve existing sensor technology, currently not used in gas networks, to provide the data needed. This innovative use of equipment will broaden the market and reduce costs for equipment of this type by making more devices available. 
  • Reduce exit capacity 
    Gas suppliers take gas from the National Transmission System (NTS). In simple terms, they buy 1 unit of capacity to provide 1 unit of energy. Real-Time Networks will provide a better understanding of the energy requirements and can, therefore, increase the accuracy of the network exit capacity requirements. 
  • Remove IT infrastructure investments, replaced by a cloud-based system 
    Most organisations, SGN are one example, are in a cycle of buying expensive IT hardware. Use of cloud technologies offers more cost-effective and easier options to scale up or down as required. We will be demonstrating that this is a fit for purpose alternative to our current IT hardware investments.

 

Wider industry benefits  

  • Support removal of gas processing, including nitrogen ballasting, propanation etc.
    Currently the gas that’s acceptable for use in GB is very limited with the quality highly controlled, a rich gas (LNG) requires mixing with nitrogen and lean gas (biomethane) requires mixing with propane. Both of these actions increase costs and have an environmental impact 
  • Create potential for cheaper gas bills in the future 
    With a better understanding of the energy value in the gas network, gas suppliers may be able to amend their billing regime which may lead to more accurate and potentially cheaper bills for customers.
  • Increase our ability to adapt for the future energy needs of GB 
  • The gas we transport is fed from the high pressure National Transmission System down through the pressure tiers to low pressure connections to the majority of our customers. In the future more sources of gas will look to enter the network at various locations and at different pressure tiers. Our project, by improving the understanding of energy content (rather than pressure) in the network, will make this easier to achieve.
  • Improve understanding of the gas networks’ energy delivery capability
    Gas quality (a basis of the energy the gas can provide), from a distribution network’s perspective, is currently only measured at the points where the gas enters the particular network. Our project will identify the benefits for wide scale use of quality monitoring sensors throughout the network.