Utilities Must Look at the Bigger Picture

Pieter Coetzee, Senior Director, Smart Grid Solutions, EMEA, Itron
Published: Fri 18 Oct 2013

Utilities that have digitized their networks are operating 30-40% more efficiently than those that have not adopted new smart grid technology. The benefits are real and there are many examples for utilities to learn from. However, the communication of smart grid benefits to the utility business is still proving to be a real challenge as there is no uniformity in the field. Changes occur quickly and often. Mr Coetzee explains, “To create standards, transparency, and manageability for this new more complex network has become a real challenge. However, technology is now scalable and manageable so we can start making benefits count.”

The smart grid creates manageability and provides a platform of improving efficiencies. Multiple sensors offer a great deal of data which can be analyzed and used to run the utility business more effectively and in a more meaningful way. This information will go a long way towards helping decision-makers plan for the future. Smart grid technology is set to have a profound effect on the entire operation as it creates multiple services across the network. This will see the system operate in a more efficient manner.

The utility needs to develop a holistic and long-term view when adopting smart grid technology and this should be done in collaboration with partners in order for the digitization process to work successfully.

In support of the digitization process, regulators must create appropriate policies which will help the standardization and competition process.