UK Power Networks targets long-term digital overhaul after IT modernization success

UK Power Networks energy supply image showing electricity pylons at dusk with the M52 motorway in the foreground.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

UK Power Networks has extended a long-running partnership with IT infrastructure services provider, Kyndryl, following a successful IT modernization campaign. 

A distributed network operator (DNO) for electricity across London as well as the East and South East of England, UK Power Networks is the UK’s largest electricity distributor.

The organization owns and runs the cables and substations which deliver power from the national grid to more than 8.5 million homes and businesses across the country, serving upwards of 20 million people.

The digital overhaul has enabled it to develop and release new offerings more quickly and efficiently than before, the operator said. 

After having launched the nation’s first independent Distribution System Operator (DSO) last year, the company said it needed a quicker and more fluid way to manage green electricity supply across the network.

John Chambers, president of Kyndryl for the UK and Ireland, said the partnership has enabled the distributor to improve operational agility.

"The new DSO element of our partnership with UK Power Networks is a first-of-its-kind solution for the industry, and Kyndryl is proud to be driving it with our agile squad approach and digital capabilities," he said.

"We’re delighted to be working in partnership with UK Power Networks to modernize its IT environment and accelerate the speed of development. By extending and expanding our collaboration with UK Power Networks, we’re supporting mission-critical infrastructure and prioritizing customer satisfaction."

UK Power Networks opted for Azure

As part of the deal, UK Power Networks shifted to a Microsoft Azure cloud-based environment that it said has enabled it to deploy new solutions faster and support future innovation and digital transformation projects.

This involved using automation through the creation of Infrastructure as Code (IaC) pipelines, conducting cloud native builds in Azure, and hosting mission-critical systems in the cloud to protect the electricity supply for 8.5 million customers.

The services have already been transitioned, with further monitoring of the Azure environment being carried out with the aim of increasing the visibility and observability of the platform.

"We are pleased to expand our partnership with Kyndryl into the cloud. Kyndryl has shown real capability in the development of new tools and services," said Sul Alli, director of finance, customer service and technology at UK Power Networks.

"As we build out the technology capabilities for the future, it is essential to have the right partners who understand the end impacts of the technology being built, and how it delivers a better service to our customers and stakeholders."

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.