Utilities Still Need Help With Their AMI

Despite the fact that AMI actually originated at utilities—or at least the predecessor AMR did—some utilities still are struggling with all the data they are now generating.  That seems to be particularly true of smaller co-operative or publicly owned utilities, which are now required to gather more information than they think they will ever need.
The problem is that the federal government threw a lot of money at encouraging utilities to install the new two-way metering systems and it was the topic du jour for months on end.  Many utilities applied for and received grants, installed the systems and now are just “storing” multiple meter reads per day.  This is a fine example of how well our regulatory government works; until you realize that after installation, no one knew what to do with all the extra information, and now they aren’t actually doing anythingwith it.  Also, other utilities installed the systems without grants and now are paying for them with little to show in return for their investment.
All of that data will pile up and eventually have to be discarded in time if it can not be incorporated, through analytics and business intelligence, throughout the enterprise.  This requires that all levels of the utility be involved; from senior management down to the customer service, engineering, operations and other departments.  It can serve to orient the utility into dealing with the brave new world of “smart grid”.  Otherwise, it’s just a waste of money and time.
–Warren B. Causey

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