The 10 technologies disrupting the UK utilities sector

Recognising the significant and fast-paced changes utilities are grappling with on many fronts, Utility Week Live 2018 (22-23 May) has chosen disruption as its headline theme.

Held at the NEC in Birmingham, Utility Week Live 2018 will explore disruption themes in relation to water – retail and wholesale – gas and power networks, energy retail and pan utility operations such as streetworks.

Utility Week Live surveyed more than 20,000 utilities professionals on the subject of disruption, and can now announce the list of the top 10 technologies proving disruptive to the business and operations of UK gas, water and electricity utilities.

Alice Cooke, lead journalist Utility Week Live, said ‘it’s an interesting mix of technologies already disrupting business as usual, and technologies that our survey respondents felt were highly likely to prove disruptive in the future. But ultimately, for a utility business to keep itself relevant and at the forefront of its sector, it will have little option but to embrace digital transformation and the opportunities that these technologies are now creating’.

Here’s Utility Week Live’s list of the 10 key disruptive technologies, as selected by UK utilities professionals:

1, Energy storage

Lithium ion batteries remain the technology of choice for most battery storage applications, but flow batteries and compressed air are fighting to prove their worth.

2, Electric vehicles

The number of models available to consumers has proliferated, with government committed to phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040.

3, Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Some network control systems now use AI to deliver autonomous network optimisation, and workforce development professionals are increasingly eyeing its potential.

4, Smart meters

To date, almost 9 million smart meters have been deployed across the UK, a fraction of the total rollout challenge.

5, Data analytics

With more information than ever before flowing from smart meters, the information is there for the taking.

6, Internet of things (IoT)

The proliferation of embedded intelligence within everyday devices– and their ability to interact via the internet – is driving a revolution in business models.

7, Renewable energy advances

The time when renewables will provide most of our electric energy supply is fast approaching.

8, Blockchain

Blockchain is the ultimate accompaniment to the rise of distributed energy resources, offering to enable peer-to-peer trading of energy between prosumers.

9, Water re-use technologies

Water re-use boosts water resilience at a local level and could be the key to easing pressure on the country’s overstretched water resources.

10, Hydrogen

Hydrogen is a potential answer to decarbonising heat. When burned, hydrogen is zero carbon at the point of use, with only two by-products – heat and water – making it the ultimate clean fuel.

Free Utility Week Live 2018 tickets, which this year is taking a deep dive into digital disruption and the opportunities created by disruptive tech and new highly disruptive business models, are available right now at


Helena Larion, Marketing Administrator, Utility Week Live
Direct: 01342 332093 / Email:

Notes for editors

Alice Cooke is the lead journalist on the Utility Week Live editorial team and Content Editor, Utility Week Magazine.

Utility Week Live is the UK’s only dedicated utilities exhibition, attracting an audience of approximately 5,000 senior utilities industry professionals primarily from UK gas, water and electricity utility companies.

Utility Week Live 2018 takes place 22-23 May 2018 at the NEC Birmingham, and is a free-to-attend exhibition, featuring more than 200 exhibitors showcasing the latest technology and product solutions for the industry, and more than 300 expert speakers.

  • Attended by all of Britain’s water companies, gas and electricity network operators, and major energy retailers
  • Supported by the key utilities industry trade associations and member bodies
  • The 2018 event theme is: Disruption & Opportunity

Utility Week Live 2018 Website:

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Supporting media brands:

Utility Week is the leading business-to-business brand for the water, gas and electricity industries.

Water & Wastewater Treatment is the leading information provider on municipal and industrial water and wastewater treatment.

WET News is the primary source of specialist information for the UK’s water contractor sector.

Network is the UK’s sole media brand covering policy and technology developments affecting the UK’s gas, electricity and heat networks.