Utilities weigh in on their current use and future plans for leveraging data
SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, December 04, 2012
For the bulk of the time power utility companies have operated in North America, they've done so without the help of much usable data. But with big data and new smart grid technologies taking the industry by storm, these companies now have more information than they ever thought possible, and crunching this data in real time will allow them to create a much more reliable grid.
Intelligent Utility recently spoke with some of the largest power companies in the country that have deployed intelligent electronic devices across their enterprise to learn how they are using this new flood of data to improve operations and grid services.
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) stated that its smart grid deployments, which include distributed generation, energy storage, wireless sensor networks and upgrades to software and computing power, have given them the ability to lower costs, improve efficiency and reliability, and helped the utility introduce new renewable energy sources into the grid.
"[W]e've created a new department of 150 employees to manage the intersection of security and big data and assigned a chief privacy officer at the vice-presidential level to manage this process," the company said.
Pepco said that it has seen great success by implementing a meter data management system, and it has also put together a new team to support meter and billing functions. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), which is currently underway with one of the largest grid modernization projects, said the addition of new data will bring huge changes to the way it operates.
"As we develop tools to better analyze, model and correlate related data sets, we are going to have unprecedented insight into how the grid is operating," the utility said. "This will lead to new opportunities for operational efficiencies and reliability, which will provide our customers safer and more reliable, efficient and affordable gas and electric services."
The touted benefits of the grid are behind a major disagreement in Illinois, where utilities say they need additional funding to perform the upgrades, but are being met by opposition asking for proof that the additional spending will pay off in the long run, according to Greentech Media.
SUBNET has already helped some of the largest utilities in North America leverage the deluge of data from IEDs to increase efficiency throughout their operations.
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