- A Week in Smart Metering

Energy suppliers are turning to social media platforms for big data solutions, says Rose Bundock, editor of
Published: Wed 05 Aug 2015

One of the most read and shared stories of the past two weeks was the view of smart data from the head of IT at British Gas.

I recently quoted a US municipal metering manager as saying that working with smart meter data was like trying to drink from a hose. David Cooper of British Gas describes it as “the sheer volume of data”.

It seems energy companies are not alone in grappling with such vast streams of informations to be managed and analysed. Social media platforms are in the same situation and it is from this source that Mr Cooper has extracted ideas.

In an interview with UK trade magazine Computing, Cooper said British Gas is borrowing big data solutions from social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

British Gas is using a Hadoop data lake, one of several open-source solutions that the company is trialling to determine the best way to mine its smart meter data.

The comparisons in approach between an energy supplier and a way to share social commentary is a good example of the digitisation of utilities - an area that we will continue to explore.

Fortunately for British Gas, Cooper says he has no plans to move jobs as there is still lots to do at the energy supplier with the ongoing smart meter rollout. And other utilities will want to feel similarly secure with IT talent that can navigate the waters of a Hadoop data lake.    

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In the US, major energy utility for the state of Illinois Commonwealth Edison is offering its smart meter customers cash incentives or credits to cut electricity usage during periods of high demand as summer temperatures climb in the Midwest.
France's public distribution network manager Electricité Réseau Distribution France (ERDF) has released a tender for the installation of more than one million Linky smart meters.

The smart electricity meter market saw double-digit growth in 2014 bouncing back from a slowdown in 2013. There are winners and losers though according to the latest figures from global research company IHS.

In smart meter cellular news, Telekom Austria Group M2M has secured a tender with energy supplier Netz Burgenland Strom. Telekom Austria will use its 4G/LTE solution, launched in March 2015, to roll out mobile-based smart meters from the south to the north of Netz Burgenland Strom's service area.