Utilities Try To Keep Up With Impending Smart Meter Data Influx

Renew Grid, Tuesday July 10, 2012 - 12:25:28

Utilities with smart meter programs in place say they are somewhat prepared to manage the expected data deluge, according to a survey conducted by Oracle. However, 45% of respondents continue to struggle to report information to business managers as fast as they need it, and 50% of respondents report that they miss opportunities to deliver useful information to customers.

"Smart grid deployments are creating exponentially more data for utilities and giving them access to information they have never had before," says Rodger Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Utilities. "Utilities can benefit from establishing enterprise information strategies, and investing in the systems and people needed to make better business decisions."

Oracle surveyed 151 senior-level executives at North American utilities with smart meter programs in place to gauge perceptions on the business impact of big data, preparedness to handle data growth, and plans to extract optimal business value from this data to better target, engage with and serve customers.

The utilities surveyed for this study have increased meter data collection frequency by an average of 180 times and have access to new types of information, according to Oracle.

Utilities see a need to improve their ability to translate information into actionable intelligence and leverage data for strategic decision-making. Sixty-four percent say it is one of their top three priorities.

Utilities believe that meter data management (MDM) systems can provide some help with the influx of new information. Seventy percent of utilities with an MDM system in place say they are prepared to successfully manage the data versus 51% of those without a system.

In the next five years, utilities say they plan to leverage smart grid data to improve customer service through efforts such as delivering demand-response programs, forecasting demands, complying with regulatory requirements and minimizing outages.

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