International Distribution Benchmarking Consortium (IDBC)

Uncovering Best Practices Amongst
Distribution Companies

Distribution companies all over the world are facing an increasingly dynamic and rapidly changing environment like the energy transition, digitization, decentralization, aging asset base and workforce, and increased regulatory pressure. All these challenges impact the operational performance of distribution companies.

IDBC helps you to better understand these challenges and revealing industry best practices

The program provides a framework to assess operational performance like Profitability, Reliability, Safety, and Compliance in relation to the challenges distribution companies are facing in preparing the networks to become more resilient and how to respond to the impact of renewables and distributed generation on grid planning, reliability, and power quality.


IDBC in a nutshell: Acquaint yourself with IDBC with this short (< 2 minute) introductory video.


IDBC Takes Your Company Through 3 Crucial Phases:

Assess Performance

Comparative analysis of operational performance, trending industry topics and drivers of change

Knowledge Sharing

Learning from peers, sharing leading practices and business cases

Improve Performance

Accelerate transition using business cases and lessons learned from peers

Member Benefits

Results of the IDBC Program Were Used by the Participants To:

  • Improve network reliability by reducing the number and duration of interruptions
  • Prepare their network better for the impact of DER (distributed energy resources)
  • Optimize maintenance strategies to lower costs and risk at the same time
  • Optimize financial expenditures of “New Build” and “Maintenance”
  • Improve safety performance by creating a safety culture and reporting structure
  • Gain a better understanding of trends in DSOs, in topics such as the energy transition and the concept ‘digital utility’

Industry Leadership

Created in 2008 by 4 electricity and gas distribution companies, UMS launched IDBC focused on operational performance of the key objectives of distribution companies: financial, reliability, and safety. The study scope is continuously being updated to reflect the latest emerging industry topics in close collaboration with the current members of the program.

Since the program inception, UMS Group has provided program management, analysis, facilitation, and operational expertise in support of the program.

Peer Exchange Highlight: Program Conference

A key tenet of IDBC is idea and experience sharing among the consortium members. While sharing opportunities abound through the full cycle, the pinnacle is the Bi-annual Best Practices Conference at the end of each study cycle. The member-to-member sharing event, which ONLY member organizations attend, thus creates a ‘Safe Space’ for open dialogue.

Previous Conference Locations

2016 Brussels, Belgium • 2014 Helsinki, Finland • 2012 Utrecht, The Netherlands • 2010 Hasselt, Belgium

Next: TBD (Moved due to COVID)

Participant Feedback

“The IDBC program works as a mirror for us. We deduct at least one major opportunity for improvement each study cycle. Participating companies support each other to compare practices and share experiences to improve performance.”

“Practices shared during the conference has helped us in our negotiations with the regulator in defending our rate case.”

Participant Feedback

“The IDBC delivers concrete opportunities for improvement, like rethinking our network configuration and the registration of contractor safety data.“

“The data collection is challenging, but it enables us to understand and improve our data better which helps us when the regulator has data requests.”

Facts & Figures

  • Number of Cycle Members - 10
  • Total Network Length - 280.000 km
  • Total Number of Customers - 9,562,000
  • Total GWh Distributed - 100,242 GWh
  • Total Operational Expenditure (TOTEX) – 1,350 M euros
  • Average Age of Critical Assets – 27 years
  • Average Distribution Automation of Assets – 20%
  • Average Energy Loss – 3.91%

Best Practice Takeaways

Determining an Optimal Maintenance Strategy

Various maintenance and inspection policies were found in the peer group, ranging from preventive maintenance to run-to-failure.

What Is the Performance Improvement Potential of Smart Distribution Stations?

Key cost component is not the station itself but the acquisition of the premises especially in urban areas.

How to Make Data Analytics Successful in Energy Transition?

One of the peer companies shared their initiatives in leveraging predictive analytics to manage risk, reduce costs and optimize grid performance in the energy transition.

IDBC Resources

IDBC Program Overview Flyer

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