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UK Power Networks Customer Story

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Electricity distribution company powers its content generation and distribution with Alfresco



  • Currently 2,500 users use Alfresco for fast information retrieval and effective collaboration across business units, and externally with partners
  • Powerful document management facilitates a ‘single source of truth’, enabling better decision-making, productivity improvements and a reduction of paper in the field
  • Approval workflows along with full lifecycle audit trails deliver robust Health and Safety capabilities in a demanding, safety critical environment
  • Alfresco powers an efficient and robust process for bid and project management that has significantly cut delivery times
  • Powerful version and configuration controls have cut document production overheads and delivered increased flexibility and agility for staff
  • Delivery of comprehensive business and technical information via the company’s external website has helped customers do more online (such as finding out why they have a power cut or sending an online enquiry), and improved information sharing with third parties — an important regulatory requirement
  • Improved mobile access to documentation has boosted field and remote worker productivity while minimising office visits, cutting both fuel usage and carbon emissions
  • Winner of the 2013 Best Consumer Website award (CorpComms Magazine) 
  • The corporate website, powered by Alfresco WCMQS, has delivered self-service and improved customer satisfaction

UK Power Networks

UK Power Networks is responsible for the infrastructure that brings power to homes, businesses, hospitals, schools and other public services, delivering reliable, safe and sustainable electricity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Covering London, the South East and East of England, UK Power Networks manages three licensed distribution networks which together cover an area of 30,000km2 and approximately eight million customers. In total it owns and manages more than 160,000km of underground cables and overhead lines used to distribute electricity — about four times the circumference of the earth.

Alongside its three distribution arms, UK Power Networks also operates UK Power Networks Services which develops and maintains electrical networks for clients like London Underground, Heathrow and Stansted airports, Docklands Light Railway and Canary Wharf.

Three principles underpin the culture of UK Power Networks: to be an employer of choice, a respected corporate citizen and sustainably cost efficient. Regulated by the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), UK Power Networks is the most reliable, most innovative and lowest cost of the Electricity Distribution Network Operators. In delivering it’s regulatory obligations, UK Power Networks has a duty to share information with third parties — and the general public — in an open, timely and transparent manner. 

Business challenge

UK Power Networks began operations in October 2010 following its purchase of EDF Energy Networks from EDF Group. As part of the IT and business separation programme, a consolidated enterprise content management (ECM) solution was required to replace three legacy Documentum (web content and document management) and Stellent systems. 

Robust and cost-effective, the new consolidated ECM solution had to surpass the expectations of customers and staff. As part of its communication vision, UK Power Networks wanted to deliver enhanced efficiency and productivity for staff and partners and real-time information to customers accessing its website, enabling powerful self-service features for online information seekers.

Alongside agile web content and document management capabilities, the new unified ECM solution needed to make seamless collaboration across the business a reality. Alongside making 19 million documents accessible to staff, the platform needed the flexibility to meet projected future UK Power Networks requirements, such as records management.

Minimising total cost of ownership was a key requirement. UK Power Networks needed an ECM solution that could accommodate evolving business processes with ease and without the need for resource-consuming customisation.


Having evaluated a number of technologies, including Documentum and Sharepoint, UK Power Networks selected Alfresco as the solution that best met its varied and demanding requirements. Thanks to Alfresco, UK Power Networks has been able to start to improve staff access to 19 million (12TB) documents from any location — even in the field — and ensure due diligence and governance is maintained and managed at all times. Integration with MS Office and Outlook is undertaken using ConxOffice and ConxMail from SynApps Solutions.

Three Alfresco partners undertook deployment. SynApps Solution delivered programme management, governance, architecture design and quality assurance, while Accenture was responsible for the high level architecture design, systems integration and data migration for the Internet platform. Meanwhile, Tata Consulting Services managed system architecture and data migration for the company intranet and document management. Built on a low-cost LAMP stack (Red Hat Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP), today Alfresco powers the new UK Power Networks external website ( and a newly evolved internal intranet.

To streamline business processes and enable more responsive customer and partner-facing operations, the UK Power Networks programme team, in partnership with business content owners, took the opportunity to simplify and standardise the company intranet’s look and feel. The ongoing introduction of document management and collaboration capability is being initiated on a targeted case-by-case basis; collaboration sites are requested by business users and site and folder governance is managed by IS.

“The ability to deliver collaboration in an agile manner and reduce the time of project delivery represents a significant benefit, but not one we have individually costed,” explains Gillian Higgins, Head of IS Projects at UK Power Networks. She continues; “Our collaboration sites now deliver an effective link between UK Power Networks and its partners, improving project delivery while reducing cost and cycle times.”

Currently around 2,500 users have access to Alfresco, and in the coming months a further 2,500 users will be benefiting from ECM enabled information access and collaboration efficiencies.

“The improvements we’ve made to the internet, along with the introduction of metadata enabled search, have significantly boosted the number of customers using the website which is an important measure for us. Awareness of our company is low so this investment meant that customers could find our website easily through search engines,” says Toni Kinslow UK Power Networks Marketing Communications Manager. 


By selecting Alfresco as its ECM platform, UK Power Networks has attained a cost avoidance of £1.5 million in licence fees and achieved productivity and efficiency gains resulting from improved information sharing and enhanced collaboration between internal teams, external partners and stakeholders.

As a regulated industry, UK Power Networks needs to meet stringent customer satisfaction targets. Powered by Alfresco, the company’s new website delivers real-time information to members of the general public — for example, visitors to the site can check a power cut postcode information checker. New self service features, which include a fast-search library resource and ‘ask the expert’ facility, make it easy for online information seekers to find what they need fast. 

The success of the newly integrated online presence has seen the website recently win a Best Consumer Website award in the 2013 Corporate Communications Digital Awards.

Improved DMS and external collaboration has enabled UK Power Networks to achieve tough efficiency targets and realise significant CAPEX savings while boosting the ability of the company to deliver against statutory information sharing requirements.

UK Power Networks is starting to realise significant operational benefits too. With improved mobile access to documents, field-based engineering teams will be able to stay in the field longer and work more effectively. This will minimise the number of journeys engineers make to offices, and in turn will directly reduce fuel usage and carbon emissions.

The improvements in document centric processes has also reduced timeframes for quotations and bids, and speeded up the deployment of new low carbon initiatives such as smart meters and smart grids.“The Alfresco ECM implementation plays a key role in UK Power Network’s quest to continually improve the service we offer our customers while driving down operational costs,” states Andrew Bilecki, Chief Information Officer of UK Power Networks. 

“Following the successful deployment of ECM within UK Power Networks, associates and stakeholders now have secure, timely access to accurate, trusted content at the point of need.”

— Andrew Bilecki, CIO, UK Power Networks