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.