Developing a culture of innovation

future of energy

Kate Grant, Director of Operational Performance, on what innovation means to Cadent and our aspirations for the future

Today, I’m delighted to share our Innovation Annual Summary 2019/20. Over the past year we have seen a cultural shift within our organisation and a deepening ambition to deliver services that delight our customers. Innovation is a fundamental part of this journey and we are committed to converting great ideas into valuable propositions. We are excited about continuing to work at pace with our customers, delivery partners and frontline staff to embed innovation in everything we do.

Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) and Network Innovation Competition (NIC) have been instrumental in allowing us to take ideas from concept through to implementation. I am so proud of the passion and dedication I’ve seen across Cadent throughout 2019/20, and I want to share with you some of my highlights from the report, the work we’ve done since the end of the last financial year, and what lies ahead.

We are cultivating a culture of curiosity, encouraging our colleagues to take accountability for developing solutions and better ways of serving our customers. One of the projects we share in the report, the Top Tee Siphon Adaptor, was initiated by one of our frontline engineers and has received industry recognition by being shortlisted for the recent Network Awards.

We also have a keen focus on tackling climate change and supporting the UK in the transition to net zero emissions. In our Annual Summary, we provide an update on our portfolio of future gas projects including HyDeploy, which was also shortlisted for the Network Awards. HyDeploy is in its third year, and we have successfully tested a blend of up to 20% hydrogen with natural gas in 100 houses and 30 faculty buildings at Keele University, in the UK’s first-ever live demonstration of hydrogen. 

We are committed to going further to support our customers, particularly those in vulnerable situations. During the COVID-19 pandemic we launched the Connect the Community: Design Challenge. Embracing remote collaboration tools, we developed a campaign inviting young engineers and creative thinkers to devise innovative solutions to help customers in vulnerable situations stay safe, warm and connected. We are now working with the winners to progress their ideas into market ready solutions. Our customer propositions will continue to form a big part of our innovation strategy in the next regulatory period, so I look forward to developing this portfolio to reflect the changing needs of the communities that we serve.

To benefit customers across the UK, it's vital that we continue to learn from and share best practice with our industry partners. I am extremely proud of our collaboration on the Above & Beyond project, coordinated by EIC, which won Partnership Initiative of the Year at the Network Awards. The three-year project is a UK first and a designated Government Pathfinder Project. Working with the UK aviation regulator and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the initiative is exploring how the application of drone technology could transform the way the industry carries out essential maintenance tasks.

Over the next year, we will continue to deliver on our ambition to build an industry-leading innovation capability. We aim to be the industry partner of choice for innovators and will continue to use customer insights to drive our innovation strategy. If you would like to talk to us about any of our existing projects or a new idea, get in touch at 

Innovation Annual Summary 2019/20

Read the report


Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Future of Gas: Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

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