Professional Services 

Working at the forefront of digital innovation, Util-Assist offers strategic solutions for tomorrow’s challenges.

Smart Grid Services

 

Smart Grid Portfolio Services

Unlock the full potential of smart grid investments. With expertise gained on over 100 smart grid projects, our consultants can guide you through the complete lifecycle, from business case development though implementation and change management.

Customer Experience

Customer Experience for Utilities

See through your customers’ eyes. Improve the customer experience to boost customer loyalty, enhance the brand image, and gain a competitive advantage.

Systems Integration (SI)

Systems Integration for Utilities

Streamline repetitive, time-consuming tasks through automation to increase productivity, improve accuracy, lower costs, and deliver faster and more responsive customer service.

AI-Powered Predictive Analytics

AI Powered Predictive Analytics

Extract maximum value from your data to solve your business challenges and drive growth. 

Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation

Streamline repetitive, time-consuming tasks through automation to increase productivity, improve accuracy, lower costs, and deliver faster and more responsive customer service.

Service Provider

With knowledge and expertise at the forefront of the AMI industry, Util-Assist is the trusted consultant of choice. 

Smart Grid Consulting Services

Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning

As the marketplace becomes inundated with new technologies, utilities today are looking for new approaches to save costs, conserve energy, and fulfill customer needs. Util-Assist can help you prioritize business opportunities and formulate strategic plans to pursue these goals and achieve your company’s vision.

Util-Assist’s expertise is regularly sought in utility strategic planning and enterprise solutions. Util-Assist provides strategic planning services to help utilities navigate new landscapes and develop plans for future state initiatives. In moving to smart grid,  Util-Assist helps our utility clients position themselves as utility leaders in customer experience, operational efficiencies and best practices.

Util-Assist’s strategies unlock the value of Smart Grid investments:

  • Deployment of outage and restoration functionality, including developing “OMS Lite:” a low cost solution that employs systems already in place to streamline restoration processes
  • Transformer loading reporting which improves asset management by locating potential transformer failures, both overloaded and underloaded, and identifies theft and losses
  • Green energy programs and Home Area Network (HAN) strategies to augment conservation efforts
  • Distribution automation
  • Privacy, security and meter safety
  • 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
  • Enterprise information management (EIM) studies:
    • Data exchange strategies to improve data management
    • Systems integration studies to identify opportunities for operational efficiencies
    • AMI resource planning
  • 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
    • Network analytics studies to monitor systems, applications, and devices
Project Management

Util-Assist’s Project Management Department is dedicated to ensuring your projects remain on-track, on-time and within budget.

Our project managers roll up their sleeves to support you through the full project life-cycle from requirements definition through to project execution. And, because our managers are intimately familiar with every step of a project, you can feel confident that we possess the deep knowledge to ensure your success. We develop detailed project plans and track issues and risks, keeping all parties fully informed through Web-based tools for project planning, project execution and document storage.

Util-Assist project managers endeavor to stay one step ahead of project timelines in order to anticipate challenges, reduce risks and to improve the performance of both the project and the overall welfare of the organization.

Systems Integration and Implementation
Project Management

Util-Assist understands that new solutions must complement your business processes and integrate seamlessly with existing systems to function as a coordinated whole.

We work to understand your goals and minimize disruption to your business operations. Through sound methodologies and best practices, we have successfully managed the implementation and integration of AMI, WAN, WFM, MDM, OMS, GIS, ADMS, and CIS and financial systems, across varying terrains and configurations.

In terms of CIS conversions, Util-Assist offers the experience to ensure a seamless transition to the new platform. With senior CIS specialists to guide the data migration process, Util-Assist has completed dozens of successful conversions and upgrades. This experience and expertise allows us to get our customers up and running in a timely fashion.

For many projects, the integration of systems can be the most difficult and most expensive components. As systems are coupled, risk is introduced that future changes will impede the ability for systems to communicate and that more cost will be required to enable the systems to continue to communicate the data.

Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) technology is a solution that Util-Assist often suggests to mitigate the risk that is associated with this integration work. An ESB acts as the broker of information, publishing data to the bus so that authorized systems can subscribe to it.

In summary, with Util-Assist’s breadth of knowledge and strong vendor relationships and partnerships, we can efficiently integrate any solution and scale it at an accelerated pace.

Utilities Technology Education and Training
Training and Education

With the accelerated pace of change in the industry, the success of a utility is dependent on ensuring all employees have the required skills, training, and information.

Whether your training needs are MDM, AMI, HAN or any other smart grid application, you’ll find Util-Assist’s subject matter experts passionate about the subject.

Through formal or informal sessions, our highly skilled staff can provide stimulating and enriching learning experiences. And, we listen to your specific needs to ensure customized education that motivates your employees to achieve real-world outcomes.

Utilities RFP Development and
RFP Development and Procurement

Util-Assist transforms business and technical requirements into comprehensive RFP documents that elicit high-quality responses from potential vendors.

Over the years Util-Assist has developed a solid procurement process that ensures clients’ needs are clearly represented and that the selection process is efficient and fair.

Since Util-Assist continually monitors the industry for emerging trends and products, we are in a prime position to help you evaluate the different technologies. We have deep knowledge to ensure your needs are met with the best solutions and tools to evaluate RFP responses and reach a consensus. With our established relationships with key technology providers, we also facilitate contract negotiations and ensure best pricing.

Having assisted over 70 utilities with the selection and integration of AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) networks that represent millions of smart meters, Util-Assist is well-positioned to provide leadership in leveraging technology to turn your vision into reality.

Utilities Architecture Design
Architecture Design

In this changing information age, utilities need to think long-term to plan for their infrastructure needs.
Util-Assist’s services include designing secure, high-performance technical solutions for smart grid applications.

With our understanding of utility data flows and integration points, we can design the top-down structure of your data, applications and technology, and address enterprise-level objectives like security, integration, conversion and compliance. Once a realistic, workable plan is in place, we can effectively communicate the technical architecture, design considerations, benefits, and risks to your business stakeholders.

Organizational Change Management
Organizational Change Management

With the utility industry experiencing constant change, it is a challenge for utilities to keep pace.

Util-Assist’s subject matter experts can tune and update your workflow processes to keep you one step ahead.

Following a full gap analysis, we apply best practices to draft processes and recommend technology that optimizes your business. We employ collaborative software tools so that we can work as a team with your resources.

Once business processes are up-to-date, Util-Assist offers the implementation expertise to ensure a smooth transition. We facilitate the change management process, and, to assist employees in embracing change, we provide effective communications on the benefits of successful implementation. Using dynamic Web-based tools, we make it easy to train and certify staff, and to ensure compliance.

At Util-Assist, we are continuously innovating to find the most effective methods to transform the efficiency of your business.

Application Testing and Quality Assurance
Testing and Quality Assurance

With sound testing strategies and optimized test plans, we enable our clients to achieve quality results.

Util-Assist is the only consultant to have performed standardized testing on 11 leading AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) systems, as well as 8 MDM solutions, with results of our comprehensive testing distributed to more than 60 utilities.

Util-Assist services include testing of all new releases of AMI, MDM and CIS. Our library of test scripts captures all business processes and is organized systematically day-by-day, making it easy to meet timelines. We offer proven methodologies and disciplined approaches, tailored to your needs, in order to provide the best possible service to your customers. Whether you need to perform acceptance testing of a new system, test software upgrades, or integrate a new application, Util-Assist delivers the results.

Utilities Technology Business Case Development
Business Case Development/Feasibility Testing

Util-Assist builds compelling business cases for presentation to utility stakeholders.

For utilities and municipalities considering moving to new technology, Util-Assist helps unlock the full potential, ensuring a clear return on investment. The implementation of a new solution could enable the utility to transform its business by capturing strategic information, leading to improved decision-making and optimized operations.

Feasibility Studies

Util-Assist develops a comprehensive analysis and financial model for each option and assesses the feasibility of each based on both short term and long term costs, benefits, and risks in addition to budget, resources, and capacity.

Business Case Development

Util-Assist has extensive experience developing AMI business cases and budgets from the ground up, incorporating complex data including multi-year capital and operating expenditures, benefits, revenues and utility financials. Through a comprehensive technical and financial analysis, we will develop an effective business case that justifies the benefits, alerts you to any risks, and forecasts potential gains.

Smart Grid Areas of Expertise

Electricity, Water, and Gas
Electricity, Water and Gas

Electricity, Water, Gas

Whether your needs are related to your electric, water or gas distribution services, Util-Assist can provide leadership and support.

Metering infrastructure considerations differ for each service. With an electric AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure), the utility may consider operational efficiencies, such as outage and restoration management, voltage monitoring, and transformer loading.

Implementation of a water AMI involves analysis of how to better manage the water distribution system through reduced water losses, potential leak detection, and water conservation options. Finally, for gas AMI, pressure monitoring and remote shut-off are important considerations.

Because of fundamental differences, it is important to choose a consultant with subject matter expertise and relevant experience: Util-Assist’s in-depth knowledge and best practices can help guide you through any stage of your project, from strategy planning through to implementation.

We can also help you explore synergies across electric, water, and gas through shared infrastructure.

Utilities Customer Information Systems
Customer Information Systems (CIS)

A Customer Information System (CIS) is critical to ensure customer satisfaction and meet complex billing requirements.

A CIS manages account, consumption and billing data, and provides a single solution for tracking all interactions with your customers.

Util-Assist offers exhaustive knowledge of CIS functionality and can analyze your needs to develop a comprehensive list of requirements. We can help transform these requirements into an RFP (Request for Proposal): we have developed a solid procurement process that ensures clients’ needs are clearly represented and that the selection process is efficient and fair.

We also have extensive experience in project managing CIS implementations. As a leader in CIS systems integration, we’ll have you achieving high performance in no time.

Conservation, Demand Management and HAN Solutions
Demand Management and Home Area Networks

As utilities struggle to manage peak energy demands, conservation and demand management are key components in delivering value from a smart grid deployment.

Util-Assist offers years of experience in assisting utilities with interpreting, planning, and implementing various government energy efficiency directives. Moreover, we are retained by many utilities to facilitate these conservation programs, from marketing to handling customer registrations to providing maintenance and support of HAN (Home-Area Network) devices. We have in-house program management, technical, and administrative staff to guide and support you through any conservation-related initiatives.

As HAN solutions become more prevalent, empowering customers to manage their own energy usage through demand-side management, you can depend on Util-Assist to help you implement a successful HAN program.

Leveraging our AMI expertise, we are now able to fully support two-way HAN devices using metering and ZigBee® protocols. This includes IHDs (In-Home Displays) and load control devices, such as switches and thermostats.

We have assisted over 20 utilities with their demand response initiatives, and installed thousands of devices in customers’ homes. With our strong relationships with the major HAN and load control vendors, we can keep you advised on industry and conservation trends as well as impart “lessons learned” from other utilities.

ADMS COnsulting
Advanced Distribution Management Systems (ADMS)

An Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) is a comprehensive solution that unifies OMS, EMS, SCADA, and DMS functionality to manage and optimize the distribution and transmission network.

Many utilities have deployed independent systems from different vendors or have developed customized solutions, thereby limiting integration. However, the technology is now evolving such that the boundaries between different smart grid applications are becoming blurred.

By deploying an integrated ADMS, a utility can modernize the distribution system by implementing the most efficient architecture for monitoring, analyzing, controlling, and planning. An ADMS achieves efficiencies through a single database, data model, operational environment and user interface, resulting in seamless dispatch workflows and consistent data across systems.

Yet, there are risks involved in this significant investment. ADMS systems are relatively new, and many utilities are proceeding with caution for now. Because an ADMS represents a big step in terms of business processes, a utility considering a move to ADMS requires strong governance and change management practices. Util-Assist understands the ADMS drivers and marketplace and can help you understand which product and deployment approach yields the greatest benefits and identify the associated costs and risks to make an educated business decision.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

An AMI system forms the foundation of operational efficiencies for the entire utility: all departments benefit from accurate meter reading, enhanced customer service, improved outage capabilities, and conservation management opportunities.

Util-Assist has been involved in AMI since the very beginning. When the Ontario government first mandated smart meters for every Ontario home, Util-Assist got involved by assembling utilities to form the OUSM (Ontario Utilities Smart Meter) working group.

Util-Assist headed this group to evaluate products and present recommendations to both utilities and government bodies. Util-Assist also worked with Ontario’s Independent Electric Systems Operator (IESO) on the creation of VEE rules for the centralized repository (MDM/R) for the smart meter marketplace.

Util-Assist currently manages AMI portfolios for over 70 utilities. We have assisted these utilities through the selection, installation, and integration of AMI networks, totaling over two million smart meters. These projects are complex: for each utility we are confronted with a unique combination of technology and related business processes.

Having gained this early experience, Util-Assist’s knowledge is now in high demand throughout the world. We have consulted on large AMI projects in Alberta, Arkansas, British Columbia, Guam, Florida, Michigan and Ontario. We assist with everything from strategic planning and business case development through to implementation, training, and business process re-engineering.

Let Util-Assist share lessons learned and deploy best practices to successfully guide you through your AMI decisions and projects.

GIS Consulting for Utilities
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide a common platform for storing, analyzing and displaying geographic information. They are powerful decision-making tools for utilities.

By deploying a GIS system, the utility can expect operational efficiencies and improvements in data quality and accuracy. For example, armed with GIS data, the utility can use outage flags to pinpoint which consumers have lost power as well as determine the full extent of the outage. Similarly, the utility can improve asset management by locating overloaded and under-loaded transformers.

Util-Assist can educate you on current GIS technologies and help you develop an overall data strategy for your GIS information.

Utilities Web Billing Presentment
Web Presentment Solutions

A Web presentment tool enables customers to view their consumption patterns over the Internet, and empowers them to make informed decisions about energy conservation.

Utilities can choose from a wide variety of options, with features ranging from online bill inquiry to automatic customer alerts. With our industry insight and deep knowledge of all the major vendors and their solutions, Util-Assist makes it easy to evaluate and procure a robust system that drives down service costs and increases customer satisfaction.

Utilities Master Data Management
Meter Data Management Solutions

An MDM is a critical building block to enable utilities to understand their customers’ usage, the health of their assets, and the state of their metering system as a whole.

The Meter Data Management system (MDM) (also known as an Operational Data Store (ODS) in some markets) is used for meter data manipulation and storage, and integrates the AMI network with utility applications, such as CIS, GIS and OMS.

An MDM is a critical building block to enable utilities to understand their customers’ usage, the health of their assets, and the state of their metering system as a whole. In the AMI environment, increased data volume and complexity as well as the need for more involved data analysis have introduced the need for an MDM to address the efficient storage, auditing and processing of large quantities of meter data.

MDM systems vary greatly in design and functionality. Because Util-Assist has helped many utilities select and procure MDM systems, you can count on us to have the knowledge and experience to ensure your needs are met with the best possible solution. With Util-Assist’s industry insights and close relationships with the leading MDM vendors, we are well-equipped to help with implementation, training, and change management to realize your MDM roadmap.

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