ESB Networks

Lighting Up 1.9 Million Buildings

Without ESB Networks, the lights would go out across the land, and business would grind to a standstill.

The publicly-controlled company is responsible for the running of the entire electricity network in the Republic of Ireland. Its 2200 technicians and thousands of back-up staff provide a round-the-clock service, 365 days a year.

Electrical Addresses

To deliver this service efficiently, ESB Networks has to know every customer’s postal and geographic address. They also need to allocate every customer an ‘electrical address’ which identifies the route by which the network supplies the customer.

In 2003, the company began a detailed survey of its customer base. The report concluded that to deliver top quality service, it required more accurate and reliable information.

The ESB’s own customer charter promises to pay €40 in compensation whenever the company fails to notify a customer in advance of a power outage – i.e. an interruption in supply.

Insuring advanced knowledge

To ensure that all customers would get an advance warning of any power outage, ESB recognised that first it would have to match every customer to the correct electricity substation. This was a big challenge for a company with 1.9 million customers. It required a transformation in the quality of available data.

To meet this challenge, the company searched around for a way of standardising its address formats and attaching each address to a geocode.

After evaluating the pros and cons of 13 different address databases, ESB chose GeoDirectory’s GeoAddress Locator.

It found the database software provided by GeoDirectory to be:
• Accessible
• Comprehensive
• Available in multiple formats
• Up-to-date
• Already widely-used by commercial and governmental organisations.

Most importantly of all, GeoAddress Locator was able to pin every building down to a precise geographical location, using the X,Y coordinates on longitudinal and latitudinal planes.

This allowed ESB to link every building with its correct electricity substation, and to provide every address with a unique ‘Meter Point Reference Number’.

Ambitious and successful

This ambitious referencing project has been a resounding success. A company document assessing the project – ESB Networks Customer Referencing Project Overview – concludes that
“The ESB Networks customer referencing project has huge benefits to all aspects of the business and will allow ESB Networks to deliver excellent customer service in the future” (July 2007). - ESB, ESB
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