Time-lapse cameras save £10 million

Collaboration and time-lapse cameras have enabled our Electricity Transmission Owner (ETO) business to identify efficiencies, saving £10 million on capital expenditure (capex).

The UK business as a whole needs to become more efficient and, to achieve this, we need to act now to make changes that will help us to continue to be successful in the future. For ETO, this includes reducing capex by 30% by 2021 to be successful in a competitive market.

Following a suggestion from Tim Fenemore, Head of Project Controls in Capital Delivery, a decision was made to use time-lapse cameras to identify inefficiencies in our bay refurbishment and circuit breaker replacement process.

As bay refurbishment is an activity that is highly repeatable, even a small saving on each job would bring great benefits in terms of costs and programme.

The team discussed the use of time-lapse cameras with our contractors. While there was some initial apprehension, after highlighting how this could help the business become more efficient and competitive the team decided to go ahead.

Time-lapse cameras were installed at Hams Hall 400kV substation and followed a job from start to finish. When the data was analysed, the team found that only 26.5 days of a 45-day outage were used for on-site work; the remaining days were used for prep work or simply wasted.

Using this insight, the departments involved in the work – the Transmission Network Control Centre, ETO Operations and Capital Delivery – are looking at how we can reduce the overall programme to 21 days and apply the same ways of working across other schemes and regions.

Tim, who has previously used time-lapse cameras to great success during his time working for Network Rail, said: “I have used this methodology many times in the past and worked with delivery contractors to produce massive time savings. In the rail industry, my team reduced disruptions to rail operations – specifically the renewal of rail points at the end of their 30-year life – by more than 40%, using best practice from each job.

“Following the review of the circuit breaker replacement at Hams Hall, the team clearly sees a huge opportunity to reduce the outage time by: preparing for the job in advance; working more closely with the senior authorised person; and, planning each project in a new way.”

ETO has a business-led transformation programme that is focused on efficiency. One of the workstreams – Design to Value – is set to contribute to reducing capex by £210 million by 2021.

The collaborative approach and use of this different technology has made our bay refurbishment and circuit breaker replacement process more efficient; contributing towards at least £10m of those capex savings.


  1. Richard says

    Superbly interesting article – can you advise where on the corporate system these data files have been / are being held?

    • Ben Olney says

      Thank you for your comments. Due to the size of the files these are not being held on the ‘System’ at present. However, if you would to view them, then contact me and we can arrange to get them to you.

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