Unlocking the Potential of Smart Grid Investments

Real Solutions Implemented by Util-Assist

Business Challenge

Despite the many advantages of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a common roadblock to investing in the technology is a lack of confidence in recovering costs.  Not only is it challenging to quantify current costs in the affected functional areas, but AMI benefits are often difficult to project.

Real Solutions

Early adopters that have invested in up-front planning to take full advantage of AMI solutions are now on the road to smart grid success, demonstrating a clear return on investment. Util-Assist helps utilities unlock the full potential of AMI, starting with developing a compelling business case that justifies the benefits of concrete solutions and quantifies the value proposition. We provide guidance with every step of the journey, with services ranging from strategic planning through to project management and systems implementation.

Real solutions implemented by Util-Assist to realize the full benefits of AMI include:

Solutions to Improve the Customer Experience:

  •  Dynamic pricing, shadow billing, and social benchmarking solutions that elevate the customer experience while driving insights and business value for the utility
  • Web presentment solutions for customer consumption data, empowering customers to manage their own energy usage
  • Implementation of self-serve web clients to help reduce call centre traffic and activities
  • Delivery of near real-time customer alerts and notifications
  • Deployment of Home Area Network (HAN) tools to augment conservation efforts

Solutions to Reap Financial Benefits:

  • Implementation of transformer monitoring which improves asset management by locating potential transformer failures, both overloaded and underloaded, and identifies theft and losses
  • Automated remote disconnect/reconnect to reduce scheduling work, reduce field labour and truck rolls, and minimize write-offs for non-payment
  • Reduced energy consumption and demand by dynamically optimizing voltage levels through conservation voltage reduction

Solutions to Gain Operational Benefits:

Integration to an Outage Management System (OMS), leading to reduced outage durations and frequency, accurate outage statistics, and cost savings from efficiencies and lower overtime costs

  • Development of “OMS Lite:” a low-cost solution that employs existing systems to streamline restoration processes
  • Enhanced load profile models with more granular data that can lead to new rate structures and enable the development of weather-normalized predictive load management models 

Solutions to Maximize Efficiencies:

Meter-to-cash evaluations to support the impact of smart metering, optimize processes and systems, and identify new capabilities, resulting in a modernized infrastructure with standardized processes that drive efficiency and improve key performance metrics

  • Benchmark evaluations against organizations of similar size
  • Daily procedure audits to ensure staff understand and maximize the value of all data
  • Business process re-engineering to tune and update processes, staying one step ahead of changes
  • Implementation of workflow automation to execute business rules to manage large volumes of data and automate manual and repetitive processes

 

Strategies to Leverage the Communication Infrastructure

  • Hosting partner data and running third-party applications
  • Connection to smart streetlighting (for example, to identify outages, monitor voltage levels, control and flash/brighten lights and better manage assets)
  • Real-time visibility into transportation networks (for example, to optimize vehicle traffic and reduce congestion, monitor occupancy of parking spaces, reduce emissions, and generate insights to inform long-term planning)
  • Convergence of the AMI network with the SCADA network for field devices to reduce the cost of separate communications infrastructures

Strategies to Benefit from the Explosion of Data Available from Smart Meters:

  • Data analysis for rate design
  • Operational analytics studies, including load trends and forecasts, asset health, operational effectiveness, etc.
  • Customer analytics studies of consumption patterns, demand profiles, and demand response behavior
  • Targeting customers in areas where assets are approaching end of life with conservation programs to delay capital projects
  • Network analytics studies to monitor systems, applications, and devices

 

Util-Assist’s proven best practices and in-depth industry knowledge enable us to develop simple solutions to transform efficiency, placing utilities firmly on the path of smart grid success.

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