Better use of existing data is the key to enhanced revenue.
Utility automation seeks to reduce operational costs and deliver new value-added services.
The first goal is straightforward and quantifiable. For example, when Public Service Co. of Colorado (PSCo) recently announced plans to expand its automatic meter-reading (AMR) system to cover a total of more than 1.3 million electric and gas meters, the reasons were obvious: The initial phase of PSCo's AMR installation had already exceeded the utility's expectations in the areas of cost containment, service improvement, and positioning for the future.
The second goal of utility automation (em new value-added services (em is more challenging and far less straightforward. We all assume that utilities will someday provide new information-based services on the "Information Superhighway." But what form will those services take? Will utilities provide telephone or cable TV services?
In theory, the possibilities for information services are endless, especially in the realm of broadband infrastructures. But successful businesses usually don't bank on concepts that have no clear definition and can be achieved only through large upfront expenditures. They concentrate instead on revenue and differentiation benefits while positioning for the future, especially when moving to a more competitive arena.
How does one identify which services offer the best opportunities during a time of shifting market dynamics and changing customer expectations? The answer: Find out more about your customers.