This webcast features perspectives from operational technology (OT), information technology (IT) as well as the general industry outlook, to provide attendees insight into the challenges utilities are facing today as well as a holistic view into smart grid strategies to more...
Grid threats increase daily - from foreign foes, terrorists, criminals and hackers. Utilities are tasked with guarding against a rising tide of potentially disruptive intrusions into their power grid and electronic networks. What will it take to keep the power more...
Monday Jun 24, 2013
- Tuesday Jun 25, 2013 -
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - USA
Data Informed´s Marketing Analytics and Customer Engagement provides marketing, sales, and customer support managers with the information they need to create an effective data-driven customer strategy. more...
Warren B. Causey is vice president of Energy Central's Research & Analysis Division. Previously, he was the founder, president and CEO of Warren B. Causey, Ltd., a utility research, analysis and consulting firm headquartered in Dallas, GA. He has been a researcher/writer/analyst for more than 30 years, and is the author of more than two-dozen published books and hundreds of magazine articles. He has worked with technology for more than 25 years and in utilities for more than a decade. He has been on the Internet since it was a top-secret military operation called ARPANet in the 1970s. He is retired from the U.S. Army Reserve, a decorated veteran of the First Persian Gulf War, and is a part-time United Methodist Pastor.
Warren Causey can be contacted at email@example.com
With the federal government issuing $787 billion in stimulus money and pushing hard for a remaking of the industry, to what extent is stimulus funding speeding up deployment of smart meters and other smart grid elements? Maybe there will be some acceleration, but it hasn't yet started and the stimulating effect is likely to be relatively minor when it does get under way.
Utilities have been managing assets for a long time -- lots of assets. Utilities have millions of parts, supplies, wires, capacitors, trucks, tools, laptops, screws, bolts, gloves and goggles. One problem facing them is that in the past, they weren't very good at managing all of those assets.
It once was fairly easy work to map trends in the utility industry and anticipate future directions. The industry was stable and slow-moving for many years. Since October and November, however, all of that ease, along with the stability, has gone out the window.
Many people don't realize that despite the tremendous hype of the past couple of years, and the push toward advanced metering infrastructure and home automation, utilities have actually been adding intelligence to their distribution and transmission grids for a number of years. And they are making good progress. Several examples exist, such as the one at We Energies.
Substations are a fascinating and ubiquitous feature of the American landscape. They are where most of the work gets done in the process of distributing electricity to the approximately 160 million homes and businesses in the country.
Development of more intelligent utility enterprises (IUEs), Smart Grids, Demand Response, all wholly or partially enabled by advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart meters, is on everyone in the U.S. utility industry's "to do" list. It has been for the last three or four years.
The U.S. utility market has been difficult for CIS vendors since the turn of the century. Although the results from the recently published CIS & Outsourcing Report from Sierra Energy Group do not differ much from where they have been for the last several years, the fundamental drivers in the industry are changing and doing so rather dramatically.
Only a few years ago, it wasn't uncommon to see articles about the climb from basement data processing centers toward the executive suite by utilities' top information technology (IT) staffers, or chief information officers (CIOs). At most utilities today -- although there still are exceptions scattered around the country -- they have arrived.
The next 10 to 15 years will see major changes - perhaps even classified as upheavals by future historians - in the distribution of electricity to businesses and households throughout the United States. The exact nature of these changes and their long-term effect upon the economic well-being and security of the country are difficult to predict.
North American Energy Reliability Corp. Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC-CIP) standards are a product of the Northeast blackout of 2003 and the terrorist attacks of 2001. Following those events, politicians were clamoring for something to be done to guarantee more reliability for the grid, and protection for the software systems that monitor and today increasingly control the transmission and distribution grids, along with generation and everything else utilities do.
It is probably (definitely!) a bit if a stretch to suggest that utility field workers now have a wealth of spare time on their hands thanks to technology. It is arguable, however, that the emergence of utility technologies like mobile workforce management and related mobile technologies have created new opportunities for the more effective use of field crew time and resources.
Chief Information Officers are very near the center of all challenges, triumphs and failures of modern business. As automation has permeated most aspects of life over the last 25 years or so, CIOs who manage those systems have taken on an increasingly more important role.
Most people are aware that the electric distribution and transmission systems are aging and subject to periodic failure -- with some of those failures being rather spectacular. But that's just one side of the coin.
Although its roots go back more than 20 years, IT Performance Management (ITPM) still is a relatively new concept, especially among utilities. It is a process, a theory, a technique, and sometimes a system supported by software designed to improve the overall management of IT software and systems within a given organization.
As utilities gradually emerge from the shocks delivered on the industry in the first few years of the 21st Century, they are once again turning their attention to a myriad of business and regulatory challenges. As they do so, they are once again beginning to envision a technological future that will enable them to meet future challenges more effectively and more rapidly.
Utilities in the U.S. and Canada, and elsewhere in the world, continue to build-out mobile capabilities as electric, natural gas and water companies work to integrate computing capabilities across their enterprise and into the field, where most of the work is done. In fact, the mobile market appear to be heating up as more utilities are looking to install systems and more vendors are bring new products to market.
"Your assignment, should you choose to accept it is..." Keep your utility operationally sound, financially viable, and at the forefront of developing and implementing technology, improve your bottom line and customer performance.
U.S. utilities say they will spend an estimated $3 billion on enterprise systems including work management, outage management, field force automation, geospatial information systems and others over the next three years.
As deregulation and competition loomed on the horizon in the late 1990s, utilities realized that they did not have many of the major software systems they would need to face a more competitive, more business-oriented (rather than government-structured) future.
Major utilities, particularly IOUs, have shifted their software emphasis dramatically since all the turmoil of 2000-2001. A major part of that shift has been away from large-scale systems, including CIS/CRM, toward smaller, incremental approaches. CIS/CRM isn't dead. It cannot die. It is fundamental to what utilities do. But the old IT models for tracking, billing and caring for customers may be on life support.