This week we look at efforts by global utilities to optimise the operations of smart metering systems by employing meter data management systems.According to a recent study conducted by energy market research firm, Technavio, very large amounts of data communicated by smart meters pose challenges to utility operations.
The main idea behind the introduction and implementation of smart metering systems is to ensure utility companies are able to utilise real-time consumer energy usage data to improve management of grid networks. In addition, smart meters help utilities to accurately bill consumers, improve revenue collection and help consumers to improve their energy efficiency.
The research firm says “the entire idea of smart metering is driving utilities to opt for effective data management solutions. This increases the popularity of analytics".
A separate report issued by Transparency Research defines meter data management systems as a suite of software used for smart meter data acquisition, processing, storage and communication back to consumers and other third parties including demand response aggregators.
“The meter data management system solution includes meter and network asset monitoring and management, smart meter deployment planning and management, automated smart meter provisioning and billing reduction, workforce management system, asset management, meter-to-cash system and other systems.”
The research firm forecasts the market to be driven by increases in rollout of advanced metering systems, increased demand for reliable and quality power and an increase in government incentives and efforts towards utilities’ adoption of meter data management (MDM) systems through to 2023.
We analyse some of the trends within the meter data management segment throughout 2017. This year, the market has witnessed positive developments including a number of solution providers integrating their technologies, acquisition of technology providers by major smart grid firms and utility companies under efforts to tap out the full value of smart meter infrastructure, commissioning new meter data management solutions.
To simplify consumer access to its meter data management solution, Siemens has in late March entered into an agreement in which SAP will resell the company’s solution EnergyIP to global utilities.
According to a statement, EnergyIP will be sold to global utilities under the brand SAP Meter Data Management by Siemens, to help energy providers better make use of real-time insights to adopt emerging business models and increase integration of distributed energy resources with grid networks.
“Siemens and SAP have long-standing relationships with utilities and municipalities. Our smart grid application platform, EnergyIP, combined with SAP for Utilities solutions will reach nearly half of all power utilities in the world and will bring our customers a high level of intelligence and insight to make data not only valuable but actionable in today’s information-driven world,” said Thomas Zimmermann, CEO of the Siemens Digital Grid Business Unit. “End-to-end digital business scenarios will be the key drivers to really change today’s energy system.”
The partnership followed Siemens being named by Gartner as a leader in the global meter data management solutions market for a third consecutive year.
Spanish utility Viesgo had also selected Siemens’ technology to improve its smart meter data acquisition and processing, in order to improve services to some 700,000 consumers.
The energy provider said it will use the MDM to reduce customer churn through personalising services to its consumers. The installation of the new solution is said will help Viesgo to develop and introduce new business models such smart home and energy prepaid services and time of use energy tariffs, consumers can make use of to reduce energy bills.
The MDM will help the utility to manage load demand and make informed decisions when investing in distributed energy resources.
The same report also identified Itron as one of the leading providers of meter data management solutions following the use of the company’s Enterprise Edition (IEE) for management of data communicated by over 38 million smart meters deployed in grid networks of 76 utility firms.
The recognition of Itron is the fourth since 2013.
Meter data management system
In January, Entergy Corporations chose OMNETRIC Group for the provision of services including meter data management to help the utility improve its billing system. OMENTRIC Group, a consortium of smart grid solutions firm Accenture and Siemens, agreed to customise EnergyIP in line with the utility’s energy system to provide a two-way communication between Entergy and its 2.9 million electric and 200,000 gas consumers Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Orleans and Texas.
The integration of the system is expected to last through April 2019.
Clay Electric Co-operative, one of the largest utility co-operatives in the US also selected OMNETRIC Group’s solution to provide better coverage to more than 170,000 of its members in north central Florida.
The solution will in future be integrated with an outage management system to enable Clay Electric to access real-time information regarding the occurences and durations of outages on its distribution network.
Under efforts to speed up its adoption of a new meter data management software, American Power selected Red Clay Consulting and managed to integrate its energy network with the new software within a period of six weeks.
The project included consumer profiles, historical energy usage data and the new software being integrated. The usage data was generated from around 2 million smart meters installed in five states.
Commenting on the development, Paul Marnell, the managing partner at Red Clay Consulting, commented: “This was an outstanding conversion from LODESTAR to the newest version of Oracle Utilities MDM for American Electric Power. Red Clay and AEP successfully partnered to make this project a success, while supporting all market and settlement requirements for the Texas ERCOT market."
Germany-based multinational energy company E.ON also partnered with Finnish IT firm Tieto to automate collection of energy usage data from 150,000 smart electric meters installed for the utility’s customers in Skane, Sweden.
The development came just after E.ON had been granted a certificate by the Federal Office for Information Security in Germany to install smart meters, operate smart meter data acquisition and processing.
Recently, in the US state of Texas, the city of Burnet selected Electsolve to develop an MDM to improve services to 6.300 residents using water and electricity distributed by the municipal utility.
The company’s Operational Data Management System uCentra was integrated with Tyler Technology’s Incode Customer Information system and Honeywell’s advanced metering infrastructure to come up with a complete meter data management solution.
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