Naturgy UFD avoids outages, is more efficient, and improves service with the help of Microsoft AI

Electricity is such a constant for most of us, that we normally only notice it only when we don’t have it. 

To maintain that peace of mind and guarantee a reliable supply of electricity, UFD, the electrical distribution company of Naturgy Group, signed an agreement with Microsoft in order to create its own solution. Called the “Smart Energy Platform, the solution is based on Azure IoT and Azure cognitive services, and is designed to monitor and digitally transform UFD’s electricity distribution network. This new solution is made possible by the installation of energy-efficient sensors – connected via the cloud that perform real-time analysis. The system allows Naturgy to optimize maintenance and improve the state of its distribution network in a proactive way, allowing the company to anticipate incidents, generate cost savings and improve service for their customers.  

“The company’s challenge is the development, technology and digitization of electricity networks by applying innovation and new technologies to ensure the quality of supply and contribute to the evolution and sustainability of the electricity system,” says Raúl Suárez, director of UFD.To do this, we will continue to put the focus on internal talent and promote the exchange of knowledge with external stakeholders in order to generate new projects and place ourselves at the forefront of the sector. 

A bet on the future 

The project is currently in its pilot phase, and both companies are working shoulder to shoulder to develop the specific hardware that will enable the detection of a wide range of incidents in the electricity networks. UFD also aims to expand the platform to other areas so that it can improve its processes in other regions. 

The evolution of the platform will allow UFD to maximize the performance of its networks. Thanks to data provided by the IoT sensors, it will be possible to know the load that each cable supports in real-time, as well as its maximum capacity at any moment, by analyzing cable temperatures, environmental elements, the degree of moisture, etc 

This evolution of the platform will make it possible for the company to provide an early response to challenges the electricity sector will face in the future, such as decentralized electricity supply to electric cars, or the management of personal consumption. In addition, it makes it easy for service providers to innovate so they can continue to offer the best service to customers. 


AI to bring the pulse to the network 

The next phases of the project will focus on the development of a platform based on Microsoft Azure AI, which makes it possible to differentiate, for example, between different patterns produced in the power line, in order to be able to detect the cause and exact location of incidents, drastically reducing intervention times. 

Complete “end to end” solution 

The platform created for UFD by Microsoft Consulting Services ensures an end-to-end solution. 

“Thanks to the Azure platform and Microsoft consulting services powered by Digital Advisor, we have an innovative solution that includes the guarantees that a company like UFD needs,” says Miguel Angel Sánchez, Director of UFD Asset Management. 

Technologies such as AI and IOT sensors help normal consumers in numerous ways. In Naturgy’s case, you do not see what is going in the background, but innovative professionals empowered with great tools guarantee that your electricity is running smoothly when you need it. And if there is a power cut, it helps to locate and fix the problem quickly.  

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