Public Utilities Reports

PUR Guide 2012 Fully Updated Version

Available NOW!
PUR Guide

This comprehensive self-study certification course is designed to teach the novice or pro everything they need to understand and succeed in every phase of the public utilities business.

Order Now

Metering in Real Time: A New Cost Equation for Electric Utilities

Fortnightly Magazine - September 1 1997

strategy in a competitive marketplace.

In contrast, a system that provides a return on investment in the form of reduced operational costs will be less valuable in a competitive market.

The advantage of full-service gateways is that they enable a host of revenue-producing services in energy management and lifestyle enhancement, as illustrated in Chart 3. As we have seen in the deregulation of other industries, these high-margin, value-added services can grow more important to a company's bottom line than the low-margin, basic commodity-type services.

New, value-added services promise significant intangible benefits as well. Such services offer an opportunity to build customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, and provide customer choice - key factors in retaining existing customers and attracting new ones in a competitive market.

Closing the Gap

Two-way communication enabled by full-service gateways generally costs only marginally more - and in some cases is priced even less - than an average smart meter. And that cost gap closes rapidly when the revenue potential of new, value-added services is taken into account.

There will be instances when simple AMR or other basic utility functions are adequate for a utility's business goals. But most utilities will find themselves in an environment that demands more powerful solutions.

Jack King is president of Scientific-Atlanta's Control Systems Division, specializing in communications products for utilities. He has nearly 30 years of public utility experience in all phases of utility operations.


Articles found on this page are available to Internet subscribers only. For more information about obtaining a username and password, please call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-368-5001.