Gas meter validation Inaccurate gas metering costs millions every year. OCC has created an app for National Grid that makes it easy to run validation tests on or offline.

Meter validation testing is used to detect meter errors, in particular those that lead to ‘unaccounted for’ gas – gas that seems to disappear from the network before use. Some gas is lost during transmission but where the loss cannot be explained, meter error may be the cause.

As well as carrying out testing and witnessing tests run by other meter owners, National Grid is responsible for reporting to Ofgem and the public on unaccounted for gas.

OCC’s new system will standardise the testing interface and data storage format across the industry. This will reduce errors, allow easier identification of problems and provide better reporting to all stakeholders.

A day at the power station

The project team started by running a series of interviews with the main user groups – National Grid engineers and other meter owners – and spending a day at a power station observing the engineers at work.

Based on our research, we created personas to represent users with different roles and requirements and developed scenarios to model their various journeys through the system. We then created clickable prototypes that allowed us to test our design decisions and feed the results back to the next stage of development.

The result is a simple user interface that provides an intuitive workflow and adapts to different screen sizes.

The app in use

The system includes a tablet app to run the test calculations, a web portal for meter owners and an administrative portal for National Grid.

Engineers may be unable to connect to the internet when on site, so the app allows them to enter data and run all relevant tests on or offline. It provides immediate graphical feedback on progress and outcome.

Once online, the app connects to the customer portal to upload the test data to National Grid. The portal can even upload the spreadsheets previously used for meter validation. National Grid can then use the administrative portal to review and analyse submitted data.

The new app extends our long and successful history with National Grid.