The following is an excerpt taken from a white paper by Utegration, "Extracting Value from Smart Meter Data". To download the entire white paper, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the download button.
The business practices of electric utilities are changing in conjunction with the deployment of Smart Meters and development of Intelligent Grids. As discussed in this white paper, the interval data provided by Smart Meters can be used for much more than just billing customers. With the right tools for access and analysis of the interval data, there are exciting new opportunities of high value that can be pursued. The goal is to extract as much value from the data as is possible in a manner that keeps costs below or commensurate to the benefits.
The business practices of high value that can be enhanced by utilizing Smart Meter data include:
1. Improved estimates of unbilled revenues which are valued for improving the accuracy of the revenues reported in financial statements
2. Improved Load Studies depicting hourly loads by rate class which are valued since they are used in rate cases to allocate costs to rate classes
3. Improved versions of Weather Response Functions which are valued since they are used toweather normalize loads, to predict energy or demand, and to evaluate weather related financial risks
4. An improved understanding of the loads served by the utility and how the components of those loads – heating, cooling and base loads – have changed over time which is valued for insights that can be incorporated into load and revenue forecasts
5. Clarity for management to confidently make budget decisions, plan capital spending, and conduct external communications that discuss year-over-year performance and provide earnings guidance for the current year, and
6. Various opportunities to better support transmission and distribution planners, the design and performance evaluation of energy efficiency programs, and decisions by the system operator concerning the loads that will be curtailed in response to system emergencies.
Successfully transitioning to a new set of business practices is replete with challenges. Achieving the desired results requires an appropriate mix of specialized software and high performance hardware. Further, the implementation must seamlessly tie together multiple sources of data including large volumes of data by meter obtained from SCADA, IDR and Smart Meters that measure the supply and delivery of electricity; data by customer such as rate class, location on the grid, read cycle, and the billing history for that address (e.g. billed kWh, billed revenue and length of service); and weather data both historical hourly values and near-term forecasts. Thus, the anticipated amount of data is BIG by most standards. Further, multiple users with a variety of analytical requirements must be accommodated. In each case, users will need an interface to the software that is intuitive and easy to use with a minimum amount of training. It needs to facilitate visual inspection of data and offer point-and-click generation of reports, charts and data extracts. Finally, considering the size of the data and the variety and frequency of data extracts, transformations and loadings (ETL), the quality of the data needs to be assessed whenever possible by a set of effective procedures.