NewEnergyNews: ORIGINAL REPORTING: No time to think: How utilities are handling the deluge of grid data

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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    Research Associate and Contributing Editor Jessica R. Wunder

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    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: No time to think: How utilities are handling the deluge of grid data

    No time to think: How utilities are handling the deluge of grid data; The growth in smart grid tech is outpacing utility ability to analyze its data, but new software could offer hope

    Herman K. Trabish, August 24, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Subsequent events show this story to be a snapshot of things to come, things now emerging.

    As utility systems modernize, adding more distributed technologies and smart capabilities, many power providers are finding themselves outpaced by the sheer amount of new information the new grids present. Utilities used to read customer meters 12 times a year. Now advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) often reports every 15 minutes. That’s thousands of times more information, and it is just a small part of what is coming at electric utilities. The deluge also includes data on billing and workforce management, operations and maintenance, and system planning — not to mention the information generated by SCADA systems and sensors used across the transmission and distribution grids.

    Investor-owned utilities, co-ops and municipal providers across multiple regions say the increase in data — and the opportunities it presents — are significant. And greater volumes of data are expected. Smart meters and advanced sensing data will be critical to the energy industry’s transformation to a more customer-centric business. Figuring out how to manage the data could hold the key to new revenue streams and improved grid operation, if utilities can find software tools to integrate multiple grid technologies and handle ever-escalating quantities of information. The Utility Analytics Institute recently reported that over half of utilities have “very limited use” for the data they are collecting, almost 40% are “trying to figure out what to do with it,” and only 5% to 10% have “standardized data analytics tools and processes.” Recent advances in predictive technology and cloud computing may offer a way forward…

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