Essential Energy Lowers Costs and Carbon Footprint across Australia’s Energy Sector

OpenUtilities Enables Substation Intelligent Digital Design, Reducing Environmental Impact and Saving 50% in Costs

Extending Intelligent Digital Design to Small Capital Projects


With a network spanning 737,000 kilometers, covering approximately 95% of New South Wales, Australia, Essential Energy distributes electricity services to more than 870,000 homes and businesses in 1,500 regional, rural, and remote communities. Despite their large coverage area, Essential Energy has a small customer density of 1.7 customers per square kilometer, resulting in a significantly higher operational cost to customer ratio than many other distribution network service providers. With a minimal customer base to finance the maintenance and support of over 184,000 kilometers of power lines held up by 1.4 million poles, and pressure to lower operating costs, Essential Energy needed to assess their capital works projects to find a low-cost, low-resource solution.

“How do we lower energy costs but unlock value across our complete portfolio of works?” asked Matthew Turvey, senior electrical engineer with the substation design team at Essential Energy.  The company embraces going digital, so they wanted to create an intelligent digital design system (IDDS). While intelligent digital design has been available for several years, it has only been predominantly used on large-scale projects with capital budgets exceeding AUD 100 million.

Essential Energy’s substation design team is comprised of less than 15 members who are responsible for managing the design of all capital investments related to the refurbishment, replacement, and construction of substation assets. This team had a goal to bridge the gap between large-budget projects, extending the same end-to-end benefits of IDDS to small capital works. “There are tens of thousands of design teams like ours working with state or private utilities that need a low-cost, low-resource solution so they can also take the next step to unlock value that an intelligent digital design system can offer,” said Turvey.