Urjanet – $4m investment for providing energy data

Urjanet of Atlanta, a company which provides energy data to help large scale energy consumers make decisions, has announced that it has secured $4m in “Series B” venture financing.

The money came from existing investors GRA Venture Fund, LLC and Imlay Investments Inc, and a new investor Grotech Ventures.

The company provides energy data by subscription, including about the clients’ electricity and natural gas billing, demand, consumption, history, tariffs and rate plans, weather data, interval metering and carbon intensity, taking the data from different places around the company.

Customers include large corporations and government agencies.

The Urjanet data is designed to integrate with the customer’s existing software, accounting systems, energy and carbon management infrastructure.

Its platform was developed together with Georgia Institute of Technology.

“Since our launch in 2010, the concept and complexity of measuring, managing and understanding data related to energy and resource use has become important for businesses as a way to manage cost and carbon emissions,” says Sanjoy Malik, CEO of Urjanet.

“Many companies, especially those with multiple locations across the country, are largely blind to their total energy use and costs because of the multitude of sources that provide that information in a huge variety of formats.”

“Urjanet [provides] a single intelligent source of reliable data for enterprise energy and resource management.”

“Urjanet is building a business at the confluence of energy and data. They are solving the pain enterprise customers face in acquiring accurate and timely energy data on which to make informed decisions,” said Steve Fredrick, general partner at Grotech Ventures.

Press release

Half of Britons say they have heard of smart meters – survey

The UK government Department of Energy and Climate Change has commissioned a UK survey conducted by Ipsos MORI, into what people think of smart electricity meters.

It found that half of energy bill-payers living in Great Britain said they had heard of smart meters (49%), with one in twenty claiming that they have one installed (5%).

(Actually the number of people who have one installed is much less, which the report authors believe is principally due to some respondents failing to understand what a smart meter is despite the explanation provided.)

A third (32%) expressed support for the installation of smart meters in every home in the country, while one in five (20%) were opposed. Almost half (48%) of all respondents are undecided about smart meters.

Four in ten (42%) of those without a smart meter in their home were interested in having one installed. Support for smart meters, and interest in installation, were both highly correlated to age and size of household; with younger and larger households expressing greater support and interest.

The perceived benefits of having a smart meter installed included being able to better manage household finances (33%), to help avoid waste (26%) and produce a greater accuracy of billing (19%). Perceived disadvantages included cost (either to themselves, the taxpayer, the government or the energy companies) (19%) and data security (10%).

The survey did not ask how many people installed smart meters and no longer bothered to look at them.

Altogether there will be 3 surveys conducted in people’s homes in April 2012, October 2012 and April 2013, to try to understand consumer awareness and attitudes towards smart meters and how these are changing. The first survey included 2,396 interviews in people’s homes, face to face, with adults who were at least jointly responsible for paying energy bills.

 Download survey


Maersk Line saves $90m in fuel costs through measurement

Container shipping giant Maersk Line says it has reduced vessel fuel costs by $90m over 3 years, by measuring energy performance of individual vessels, to raise awareness about fuel consumption. The quantity of fuel saved is 160,000 tons.

It manages the vessels by giving them a score on just 4 parameters: energy, safety, daily running costs and cooperation (best practice sharing).

Additional savings were achieved from trim optimisation (getting the optimum loading of vessels so they move easiest in the water) or load reduction.

“If you can’t measure something, you can’t control it,” says Anup Rajan, Performance Manager in Maersk Line Vessel Management.

“It is essential to realize that the scorecards are only a valuable tool if they help facilitate decision making amongst stakeholders,” he says.

Maersk is now introducing the system on vessels which it charterers in but does not own.

Each charter owner will be given a score every month.

The company has already introduced the system on its tanker fleet.

Oracle US survey – can you cope with smart grid data?

Oracle has conducted a survey of 151 senior level executives at US utilities (electricity providers) with smart meter programs to ask how well prepared they are to cope with the data from ‘smart grids’.

Data gathered by existing smart grid deployments is increasing exponentially, Oracle said, with electricity companies typically reading meters 180 times more frequently than they were before, and accessing more different types of data.

The survey results showed that utility companies with “smart meter” perograms in place rated themselves 6.7 on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of how prepared they thought they were to handle a ‘data deluge’.

However, 45 percent of responding utilities said they still struggle to report information to business managers as fast as they need it.

50 percent report that they miss opportunities to deliver useful information to customers.

Smart meters deliver an unprecedented stream of critical business information, such as outage (78 percent), voltage (73 percent), tampering (63 percent) and diagnostic (56 percent) data, which can help improve operations and customer satisfaction.

Utilities said they see a need to improve their ability to translate information into actionable intelligence and leverage data for strategic decision-making. Sixty-four percent say it is one of their top three priorities.

Meter Data Management (MDM) systems may provide help with 70 percent of those utilities with an MDM system in place saying they are prepared to successfully manage the data influx versus just 51percent of those without.

In the next five years, utilities plan to leverage smart grid data to improve customer service through efforts such as delivering demand response programs, forecasting demands, complying with regulatory requirements and minimizing outages.

“Smart grid deployments are creating exponentially more data for utilities and giving them access to information they have never had before,” said said Rodger Smith, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Utilities.

Oracle’s ‘Big Data, Bigger Opportunities’ report indicates that a vast majority of utility executives are working to enhance their ability to glean real intelligence from smart grid data – to ultimately create new opportunities to improve service reliability and deliver useful information to customers.

Download the report