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The Meter Is Running

Oracle’s software guru Guerry Waters eats and breathes the new infrastructure.

Fortnightly Magazine - November 2007

Whether we like it or not, it’s going to happen. But often, utilities take advantage of mergers to re-examine their business processes, and perhaps shed some of their legacy technologies. So, overall, we view that as a positive for the industry, and a positive, frankly, for the vendor business.

Fortnightly: Have you ever participated in any of the various industry workshops or working groups to develop utility business practices, such as NAESB, the North American Energy Standards Board.

Waters: Yes we do. We participate in international organizations, national organizations, standards boards, and so forth. But also we have our own process whereby we bring together our own customers and various elements of the industry to share our corporate strategy and get feedback on it. Frankly, that governs how we spend our R&D money on product development. One example is the AMI-MDM, the Advanced Metering Infrastructure/ Meter Data Management group, in which we are very active.

Fortnightly: Are we ever going to get there—a chicken in every pot and a smart meter in every home?

Waters: Well, I was just in a meeting session with about 60 to 70 utilities where they were asked, how many have initiatives to phase in smart meters, and about two-thirds in the room raised their hands and said, “Yes, we’re doing that. We’re making that happen now.”

Smart meters have the potential to help solve some of the environmental issues we’re talking about today, which are on the mind of virtually every CEO.

Fortnightly: Could you have a smart meter that would tell you every minute how much carbon you’re emitting?

Waters: We certainly could. Frankly, it’s not that difficult to do. We’ve already discussed that [at Oracle] and are putting it in our plans to provide something like that.