RMIT Uni and Siemens SCADA cloud storage

US utilities not embracing cloud storage for smart meter data and SCADAMore than half of municipal utilities in the US are not considering cloud-based storage for smart meter data despite this being the future default method of IT delivery, said a new report from research company Zpryme.

Zpryme found that 57% of municipal utilities and 51% of rural electric cooperatives have no plans to invest in software as a service (SaaS) and the cloud for meter data management (MDM), outage management systems (OMS) and SCADA, according to the study ‘The Cloud, SaaS and Utilities’ launched this week.

One reason cited among small- to mid-sized utilities is a lack of funding to deploy large-scale smart grid investments as well as a dearth of technological expertise to support them.

Large utilities meanwhile have yet to move to the cloud due to concerns about security and lack of control.

Utilities are viewed as typically risk-averse because of the sensitivity of their data.

This comes as the use of cloud-based solutions is accelerating across different industries and consumer markets, says the study.

Areas of opportunities

The report goes on to say that municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives would most benefit from cloud-based and SaaS solutions for smart meter and MDM, followed by OMS and SCADA respectively.

Many other areas are also considered viable candidates for SaaS solutions, including volt/VAR optimization and big data analytics.

The study, which used industry meetings and interviews as well as existing secondary sources, suggests that the benefits for smaller utilities of managed services is allowing it to focus on their core business.