Utilities Still Have A Ways To Go With Analytics

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I had the privilege of attending Energy Central’s Utility Analytics Institute conference in Atlanta the week of Sept. 23.  It was an interesting and enlightening conference.  Here are some of the interesting tidbits I picked up while I was there:

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  • A number of the speakers made remarks that indicate utility analytics is still an evolving field. Yes, utilities are drowning in “big data” from AMI, but they still are making relative baby steps toward making effective use of those data.  As one speaker noted, five years ago 41 percent of utilities didn’t even track data. Today, only 13 percent of them are collecting 15 terabytes per day.  They’re drowning in data, but are still relatively early in utilizing all those data.
  • One speaker said utilities are still transitioning from AMI implementation to analytics.  Data analytics and visualization are among their top concerns.
  • Three of four utilities believe they are doing unique data-oriented applications.  Examples include: AMI outage data shows up on field crew devices; field crews have the ability to perform on-demand reads on AMI Meters; half of utilities feel they’re ready to mine data, five years out, 75% thought they would be ready.
  • There are a lot of unique analytics applications, few standardized ones.

In other words, utilities still have a good long ways to go before they get their arms completely around the new analytics world.  But it is a journey that is essential to their survival long-term given federal activities making traditional generation and distribution more difficult.

 

Warren B. Causey

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