Applications that exploit the data from smart grid is offering new opportunities for insight and value in utilities. [Engerati-Smart Grid Data Analytics: Data Analytics for the Smart City: Reducing Uncertainty]
And value-add apps that can leverage and justify smart grid infrastructure platforms while providing value to customers is a top investment priority for 2015 for North American public power utilities, according to a recent survey by Tantalus.
Of these, load control is again set to be the most popular app that will be implemented this year.
Data analytics to the fore
For the first time, data analytics also ties as a number one utility application to implement in 2015. This finding supports indications that utilities are becoming increasingly more IT and information-driven as the quality, quantity, and accessibility of real-time energy data becomes more prevalent through AMI technologies. Notably, of the utilities that indicated they are planning to hire in 2015, 60% of the positions will be technical or IT-related.
Implementing security enhancements also emerged as an important area of investment for 2015. Other high priority areas of investment cited by respondents include demand management and distribution automation.
Smart grid ROI
The survey conducted with more than 50 municipal and cooperative utilities at Tantalus’ Users Conference, found that ‘showing return on investment (ROI) and value from smart grid investments’ was the number one issue that would be focussed on (cited by 37%). This was followed by addressing the ‘impacts of aging infrastructure’ (17%).
“The opportunity associated with the evolving focus of municipal and cooperative utilities beyond basic meter reading towards more data and value-driven operations is exciting for Tantalus and the industry,” said Peter Londa, president and CEO of Tantalus. “As a smart grid technology provider exclusively focused on municipal and cooperative utilities, we similarly believe that the value of real-time data lies in the actionable results from the delivery of data.”
The survey also asked respondents to rank the value of benefits gained from their Tantalus TUNet AMI technology. The top five responses in descending order were: outage notification and restorals, power quality monitoring, reduction in truck rolls, automated billing and improved customer service.