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.
Michael T. Burr is Public Utilities Fortnightly’s editor-at-large.
Mike Fish’s job is all about change.
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, Fish 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.
In this effort, Fish and his colleagues at SRP have learned many things about the promise of smart-grid technology, but one lesson stands out: “It won’t work the way anybody tells you,” Fish says. “There is both real promise and hype. The devil is in the details, and you have to figure out for yourself how it really works in your own system.”