Metering.com - A Week in Smart Metering

The real value of smart meter data analysis can only be harnessed through effective management, writes Rose Bundock, Metering.com's editor.
Published: Wed 22 Jul 2015
When it comes to how small utilities feel about processing the large volume of data from smart meters, this analogy has to be one of the best: working with smart water meters data is like trying to drink from a fire hose. 
 
The quote came from Don Smith, a water conservation coordinator at the City of Folsom Water Service in California.
 
In an article about adopting software apps for monitoring water consumption, Mr Smith said “If it wasn’t for Dropcountr [a mobile app], I would be spending a lot of time on Excel spreadsheets, trying to calculate all of this, one customer at a time.”
 
The analogy of being overcome with a deluge of data, when all you need is a sip or two, must be true for many district-level utilities that have neither the manpower nor the budget to dedicate to deep data analytics.
 
But therein lies the rub. Without analytics, then the true benefits of smart meters can’t be realised with consequent savings forecasts met and regulators kept happy.
 
Last week I wrote about utilities needing to understand the consumer’s journey to adopting smart meters and the associated change-management issues, but this process is also true for utilities and energy companies. 
 
To harness the rich resource of smart meter data, they must understand how to handle the hose, to quote the analogy, or end up being sprayed in the face.
 

More from Metering.com

 
In the UK, major energy suppliers, including British Gas, E.ON, Utilita, SSE and nPower, have voiced concerns over the government's proposals on testing methods as part of the national smart meter rollout.
 

A US tech startup has publicised its vision of aggregating smart meters into a low-cost super computer.

In an interview with Forbes magazine, Hive Computing Inc. explains the concept of meshing the spare capacity of smart meters to create a networked supercomputer that can be using for system modelling or encryption data analysis.

An increase in the number of large-scale electrical blackouts is prompting countries to invest in smart grid technology, according to new research released this week. Conventional electrical grids installed in several countries are now reaching the end of their lifecycle, which has resulted in massive electrical blackouts, asserts the data from Transparency Market Research.

In the US state of California, municipal water utilities are opting to use software apps to monitor consumers' consumption rather than a smart water meters. Software companies such as Dropcountr and WaterSmart are working with district-level water utilities to develop apps for both customers and municipality.

The European Commission issued a report this week that puts smart meters at the heart of of an consumer-centric Energy Union Strategy. The document - Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers - was prepared for the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions and the European Council.

In Southern Europe, the Gibraltar Electricity Authority has awarded Elster a contract to supply an end-to-end solution for a smart meter pilot in a bid to meet European Union directives on lowering carbon emissions.