The best example of combined dynamic rates and smart billing is found in Ontario, Canada. It uses central MDM to produce time-differentiated customer bills.
Smart metering changes the back-office paradigm.
AMI’s data explosion will require back-office changes for CIS/billing.
Adaptive companies stand the greatest chance for success.
Michael Valocchi and John Juliano
IBM compiled a comprehensive report, The Enterprise of the Future, which describes traits that the leading companies across all industries will share. Key industries—including utilities—also were evaluated individually to see how these traits might emerge as industries reshape and evolve in the face of customer demands, environmental pressures, global integration, workforce changes, and other challenges.
Intelligent networks support better decision making.
Sophocles once said, “Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.” Apparently Sophocles did not work in the utility industry. Utilities must make quick decisions every day to maintain a safe and reliable grid. As they have learned, the key to a quick and safe decision is making a well-informed decision. Yet utilities face challenges in providing enough information for their employees and automated systems to make these types of decisions.
Vendors battle it out while utilities await common communications protocols.
Uncertainties about smart metering goals are hindering efforts to standardize communications protocols and feature sets. While vendors battle over standards, utilities and policy makers are moving forward anyway—despite the potential for setbacks.
Intelligent power grids present vexing cyber security problems
In a world where streetlights can be used as a weapon, controlling local utility networks becomes more than just a matter of public convenience and necessity. It becomes a matter of public safety and even national security. And in that world, the idea of an inter-networked, automated distribution grid poses troubling questions about cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
Systems heavyweight broadens its industry footprint.
With utilities anticipating heavy rate increases in the near future, they can ill afford to alienate their customers. At the very least, they need to equip themselves to face an upsurge in customer queries and billing questions, as ratepayers come to grips with the new reality.
Utilities are learning how smart-grid data will interface with CIS and other back-office systems. Meters and middleware are rapidly evolving in this brave new world.
The manager of technology services for Phoenix-based Salt River Project (SRP) is tasked with implementing a revolutionary process for one of the most progressive public power utilities in the country. Specifically, he is working to integrate data from SRP’s smart meters (140,000 and counting) into the utility’s back-office processes—particularly customer service and billing.
IT officers are getting more efficient, but guess what keeps them up at night?
Ever-present security concerns are keeping utility chief information officers up at night. With their IT budgets under constraints in a back-to-basics era, four CIOs speak out about their concerns over funding, staffing, and the future.
The intelligent-grid vision is becoming clearer as utilities take incremental steps toward a brighter future.
Building the intelligent grid will require less technical innovation than it does strategic innovation—a characteristic not typically ascribed to U.S. regulated utilities. But the utility culture is changing—by necessity, if not by choice.