Useful analytics to improve program performance.
Erik Gilbert is a director with Navigant Consulting. Brian Eakin is a managing consultant, and Pace Goodman is a senior consultant with the company.
Big data and analytics have received a lot of press in recent years, but coverage has been light on specifics and has not focused on one of the most promising, near-term opportunities, that being demand-side management (DSM). Applying analytics to some of the newly available data can improve DSM program economics, and also doesn’t require significant up-front investment to get started.
In general, data analytics capabilities hold promise for many of the functional areas found within a utility, including operations, customer relations, and engineering. One significant and relatively new source of data comes from the millions of smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) installed over the past five years.1 Utilities that have installed this type of infrastructure are generally motivated to leverage the volumes of data they’re now collecting. But, as with many new activities, it makes sense to start small and build success along the way.