Smarter measurement drives smarter decisions throughout utilities operations
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- Sep 26, 2020 1:29 am GMTSep 24, 2020 5:43 pm GMT
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This item is part of the Special Issue - 2020-10 - Advances in Utility Digitalization, click here for more
In business, there are many sayings that go around, but one of the most relevant today is “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Fortunately, there have been a number of truly impressive strides in the utilities technologies space in recent years, many of them coming in the arena of improved meters and measurement.
Going above and beyond simply measuring kilowatt hours used in a month, modern meters can keep an eye on everything from power quality to peak usage hours. That’s fantastic progress, but what’s truly important is how that information is managed and leveraged. Many utilities are capturing information that is much more valuable than how it is used in current processes. As a result, some are turning to third-party information management experts to make the most of these measurements.
For example, with the right processes in place, the variety of information coming in from smarter meters can be ingested and analyzed to uncover broader usage trends across service areas, providing key, real-time insights into how the utility’s infrastructure is being used – and how it’s performing. This can help identify parts of the grid that may need maintenance before wear and tear becomes a problem, or uncover anomalies that need to be addressed, such as leaks, inefficiencies and overconsumption.
Furthermore, at a time when power consumption is top-of-mind for many consumers, better information management through closed feedback loops gives utilities providers an opportunity to make customer communications more informative to help drive more mindful usage behaviors. Providing month-over-month and year-over-year usage comparisons, for instance, can give consumers the information they need to change problem behaviors and conserve energy – or, the utility can proactively include some helpful, customized tips based on those numbers.
The improved visibility today’s intelligent meters can provide opens a variety of doors, from guiding utilities to optimize energy storage and delivery across the grid to enhancing customer communications in ways that strengthen customer relationships. With the right, streamlined processes – and knowledgeable experts in their corner – utilities providers can transform disparate, disaggregated data into a better grid, with improved usage, and happier customers, with stronger relationships to the utility.