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10 posts categorized "Smart Meter"

2010.04.12

CSC study foresees more opportunity as grids get smarter

FALLS CHURCH, Va. --(Business Wire)-- A study released today by CSC found that business and IT executives at the top 20 utilities and retail energy providers worldwide are finding opportunities for growth as new smart utility and meter-to-cash advancements are unveiled. Participants of the 2010 Smart Utility and Meter-to-Cash Study reveal that there is optimism in the utilities sector about implementing new technologies to support the “smart grid,” but that the business processes to support them are just beginning to take shape.

The study, commissioned by CSC and conducted by leading analyst firm, IDC Energy Insights, in the winter of 2009-2010, queried business and IT executives from leading utilities from Australia, China, the United Kingdom and the United States about their major initiatives, objectives, expected payback, readiness and challenges. IDC Energy Insights is a division of International Data Corporation (IDC), the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets.

Responses indicate that smart utility and meter-to-cash technologies are creating significant amounts of data and analytics for customer intelligence, which allows utilities to study consumer reaction to pricing, identify potential revenue leakage, forecast customers’ ability to pay and limit unbilled usage through move-in/move-out disconnections. Despite these advantages, less than half of the top 20 utilities are currently applying analytics to energy consumption, but utilities executives across all regions believe that with the proper planning, organizations can achieve desired profitability goals in a relatively short amount of time.

“Smart meters and a diversity of transmission and distribution grid sensors are generating volumes of data, and this has the potential to have a profound effect on the business,” said Jill Feblowitz, practice director, IDC Energy Insights. “Surprisingly, utilities executives indicated that they are not yet at a point where they’re making full use of this data.”

The study also showed that utilities recognize that they must do more to adopt new meter-to-cash processes to drive the bottom line. New remote connect and disconnect services can send an automated notification to customers of possible shut off, which creates a more open lines of communication with the customer and enhances their service experience. The availability of new data through updated meter-to-cash systems tells providers more about customer credit history, payment history and consumption will support improved approaches to credit and collections.

“A critical component of successful planning is a comprehensive, long-term roadmap for the smart enterprise that takes into account changes in technology, business processes and customer interactions,” said Robert E. Welch, president, CSC’s Chemical, Energy and Natural Resources Group. “CSC is working with its clients to ensure they are prepared to implement smart technologies and keep their business moving forward.”

More key findings from the interviews conducted for the study include:
  • Smart grid investments are strong across all surveyed regions regardless of whether or not utilities have received stimulus funding
  • Utilities embracing a comprehensive network strategy will benefit from scalability capabilities as new application deployments increase
  • Short-term planning will result in overspending, thus a long-term vision of enterprise architecture that considers changes in business processes and customer interactions is essential
  • Smart grid security will be a major focus for utilities and this provides a huge opportunity for security services outsourcing
“The move to smart energy provides utilities with the opportunity to improve competitiveness, profitability and customer satisfaction. ROI can be realized more quickly than many utilities recognize. The average payback for investments in smart metering/Advanced Metering Infrastructure is just six years. The average ROI period for dynamic pricing is even faster, just three years,” added Welch.

For more information, visit visit www.csc.com/2010SmartStudy.

2010.04.08

Home Automation Systems global revenue may approach $12 Bil by 2015


According to ABI Research, the home automation market is approaching an inflection point beyond which its growth rate will increase significantly.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Revenue from shipments of home automation systems will exceed $11.8 billion in 2015, according to a new study released by ABI Research. That number includes all four categories of home automation: Luxury, Mainstream, DIY and Managed. The luxury segment will deliver the greatest revenue.

In addition to quantitative market measurement, ABI Research also sampled US consumers’ attitudes with a September 2009 survey. Nearly half of the 1001 respondents did not know what “home automation” is. A further 43% understood the concept but had no system installed.

According to practice director Sam Lucero, “Our survey results show that a major challenge is simply lack of awareness on the part of mainstream consumers. Other issues for consumers were the expense, and a perceived lack of need for home automation.”

Nonetheless, Lucero believes that for several reasons the home automation market is approaching an inflection point beyond which its growth rate will increase significantly.

·        Vendors are taking advantage of standards-based wireless and powerline technologies to drive down costs and expand the addressable market.

·        Companies in related home systems markets are increasingly targeting home control and monitoring functionality in their devices.

·        Home security service providers view home monitoring and managed home automation services as a means of accelerating growth.

·        Telco and cable broadband service providers see managed home automation services as a way to increase revenue.

·        Utilities can use home automation technologies to help homeowners reduce power usage.

Abiresearch_homentwkchart_2 How do these drivers mesh with consumers’ intentions? An average of three quarters of the 39% of survey respondents who intend buy a home automation system within three years rated three functions as the ones they would expect to use most: energy management, home control, and security. Sam Lucero concludes, “The home automation market is clearly at an inflection point and poised for significant growth over the next few years.”

ABI Research’s “Home Automation and Control” study provides qualitative and quantitative analysis of home automation and control system markets through 2015. The data and forecasts are divided by region and by major market segments.

For more information, visit www.abiresearch.com.

Goal Setting, Real-Time Feedback and Social Engagement Key Drivers for Smart Grid Adoption

GroundedPower Submits Behavior-Focused Recommendations for California Smart Grid Initiative

NEWTON, Mass. --(Business Wire)-- GroundedPower, creator of the interactive customer engagement system (iCES) for consumer-driven energy management and efficiency, has urged the California Public Utilities Commission to encourage utilities to adopt web-based technologies that appeal to self-identified consumer motivations beyond price signals. According to GroundedPower’s formal comments, consumer acceptance and adoption are among the top challenges utilities face with moving to the Smart Grid. This is especially true in California, where consumers in some areas are already rebelling against what they perceive to be higher costs related to the technology.


In response to the California Public Utilities Commission’s request for commentary on the state’s Smart Grid deployment plans and the best methods for providing access to electricity prices and usage, GroundedPower writes that “while price is an important motivator, it is just one of a number of factors that encourage consumers to save energy.”

GroundedPower argues that consumer engagement is fundamental to the next generation of energy efficiency and demand response applications, particularly in a Smart Grid environment. The Company notes that price as a lone motivator may overlook the significant potential of other factors, such as improving the environment, competition, cooperation, peer comparisons, learning and recognition and rewards.

Additionally, GroundedPower recommends that the Commission provide flexibility to utilities to encourage adoption of new and innovative technologies, including those related to web portal and other communications vehicles. In pilot applications, GroundedPower has found that consumers who are engaged, motivated and empowered to achieve energy efficiency goals will have greater recognition of the importance of demand side management. This is displayed in both the level of savings being achieved and in anecdotal information showing increased favorability toward the program sponsor or utility.

For example, the Company points to a pilot project on Cape Cod, Mass., for which monthly savings are averaging close to 10 percent without an in-home display, plug level monitors, time differentiated pricing or direct load control. Participant interest for this pilot program was high, with 90 percent of participants indicating they were interested in keeping the system after the pilot period. With 80 percent of participants logging on to the dedicated site weekly, it is clear that ongoing engagement is imperative to adoption of Smart Grid initiatives.

“The recognition that consumers are motivated by behavior that goes well beyond price signals is crucial to the success of the California Smart Grid. In fact, focusing solely on dollars can lead to user resistance rather than interest and cooperation,” said Dr. Paul Cole, CEO and founder of GroundedPower. “Environmental concerns, competition, community cooperation, peer comparisons, rewards and recognition and learning are proven motivators for changing behaviors related to energy use. Offering technology that enables consumers to tap into their motivations will ensure that California utilities provide users with all the right tools—technological and behavioral—to become habitually more energy efficient, and to feel favorably about electricity providers.”

For more information, visit www.groundedpower.com.

2010.04.05

Nearly $4 bil from DoE giving US Smart Grids a boost, for now

Chairman of IEEE's P2030 Smart Grid Interoperability committee sees enormous potential, and a long road ahead

Dick DeBlasio, IEEE Smart Grid & Interoperability Expert

Title
TE_AudioCast_2010_DeBlasio

Description
Dick DeBlasio, IEEE Life Member and IEEE Smart Grid Liaison to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)



We recently talked to one of the leading smart grid and interoperability engineers in the U.S., Dick Deblasio.

DeBlasio holds a long string of titles and recognitions within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Last May, the Life Member after 40 years of professional engineering service became chair of P2030, a "Guide for Smart Grid Interoperability of Energy Technology and Information Technology Operation with the Electric Power System (EPS) and End-Use Applications and Loads;" in conjunction with this role, he serves as IEEE Smart Grid Liaison to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

He admits that this and several other responsibilities for organiziing committee activity at IEEE keep him quite busy these days. Meanhile DeBlasio holds down a day job as Principal Laboratory Program Manager for Electricity, Research and Development at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado.

The  next meeting of the IEEE P2030 working group will happen May 25-28
at Connectivity Week in Santa Clara, Calif. Or, if your plans bring you to Louisiana on April 21, you may find DeBlasio and other leading technologists in New Orleans for what was recently declared "Smart Grid Day at IEEE PES T&D Conference." IEEE recently announced this expansion of purpose in the New Orleans Local organizing committee. The announcement included the following food for thought:

"A Smart Grid, as defined by the US Department of Energy, integrates advanced sensing technologies, control methods and integrated communications into the existing electricity grid. Although Smart Grid technology presents opportunities for utilities and consumers to benefit from the efficient management of energy, significant challenges need to be addressed to integrate and deploy these innovative technologies."

Please listen to this informative Audiocast with DeBlasio for the inside story on these efforts.

For more infomation about P2030, DeBlasio, or IEEE's interoperability programs, visit smartgrid.ieee.org. More information about the New Orleans Smart Grid Day is available at www.ieeet-d.org/smartgrid.html.

2010.03.19

GridWise Alliance, Embassy of Canada co-host Energy Event

Source: GridWise Alliance

Following in the spirit of President Obama and Prime Minister Harper’s agreement to work bilaterally on several energy issues, including smart grid, the Embassy of Canada and GridWise® Alliance co-hosted an event at the Embassy on March 17, 2010.

Several government officials gave presentations, including Eric Lightner and Dan Ton, US Department of Energy; Shannon Fraser, International Trade Administration US Department of Commerce; Michael Tita, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and Marc Lepage, Special Advisor, Climate Change and Energy, Embassy of Canada.

A panel of utilities representing both countries discussed their smart grid efforts to date. These utilities included Ralph Zucker, BC Hydro and David Curtis, Hydro One representing Canada; and Wayne Harbrough, BG&E and Michael Maxwell, PEPCO representing the US.

Jayson Myers, President and CEO, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters delivered a keynote address stressing collaboration and innovation between the two countries.

Companies from Canada had the opportunity to showcase their technologies, including: Hydrogenics, Aztech, Corinex, GE Digital Energy, KinectSolutions, Redline Communications, and Schneider Electric.

The GridWise Alliance has undertaken several international efforts. Agreements have been signed with Korea Smart Grid Association, SmartGrid Ireland, and Smart Grids Australia. Several other such associations are in the works.

2010.03.17

e-KNOW Addresses Broadband, Smart Grid Potential

How does the FCC's new broadband plan relate to a consumer's right to monitor their personal electricity use? It doesn't ... not directly. But a U.S. Congressman is introducing a bill that would allow the newly broadband-accessed to get -- well, access.

The Electricity Consumers' Right to Know Act (e-KNOW), filed Tuesday by U.S. Representative Ed Markey, would allow consumers to access smart metering information and other data, using a wired Internet connection or mobile device, to track their electricity use in real time, for free, the Boston Globe reports.

Markey is one of the chief proponents of the national broadband movement. He's a senior member (and former chairman) of the Energy and Commerce Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee, and more significantly, he added the mandate that the FCC complete its broadband plan as part of the federal broadband stimulus legislation Congress passed last year.

He sees the legislation as important in guaranteeing that Americans have access to information on energy use. And he's optimistic about the other applications that can spring from this level of connectivity -- such as being able to control air conditioning and heating, or turn off an appliance, remotely.

e-KNOW does address one important aspect of anytime-online data access: making sure consumers' information is secure and that their privacy is protected. It follows the National Broadband Plan's recommendation that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission develop national standards for consumer energy data access.

More information on the bill can be found here.

Sprint and Axeda Announce Alliance for Global M2M Solutions

Alliance Provides Customers with Integrated Solution to Quickly Build and Deploy Connected Products

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. & FOXBORO, Mass. --(Business Wire)-- Mar 17, 2010 Embedded wireless broadband chips are expanding functionality across a vast range of devices beyond just mobile phones. Sprint (NYSE:S) and Axeda Corporation announced today an alliance to make it easier, faster and more cost-efficient for businesses to take machine-to-machine (M2M) solution ideas from concept to completion and deliver connected products using the Sprint 3G network and the Axeda® Platform.

Connected products such as e-readers, security devices, utility meters, and patient health monitors are already driving new business models and significant revenue streams across a variety of industries. According to ABI Research, it is predicted that revenue from these products in markets such as consumer, government, energy and utilities, and healthcare could grow 250% by the year 2013.

Sprint and Axeda help businesses take advantage of these opportunities by providing a highly secure, scalable and communication-optimized platform to build applications - allowing companies to focus on providing a business solution, not the enabling technology. Easy deployment through cloud-based services provide for faster time to market with no infrastructure costs.

“Over the last 12-months, we have seen a significant increase in enterprise-scale projects to create new products and services based on connected devices,” said Josh Holbrook, director, Yankee Group. “The challenge they face is managing the sheer volume of information coming from these devices - they need to build applications that make sense of this data and turn it into actionable information.”

For over a decade, Sprint has collaborated with customers and partners in a variety of industries to help develop deliver and support innovative M2M solutions. Sprint boasts that millions of embedded/M2M devices are running on the Sprint Network and partners benefit from the ability to certify devices on the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network through the company’s Open Device Initiative. For more information, visit www.poweryourideas.com/m2m.

“Partnering with Axeda enables Sprint to take advantage of the limitless business opportunities presented by connecting the rapidly expanding number of embedded and non-traditional mobile devices,” said Wayne Ward, vice president of Emerging Solutions, Sprint. “The Axeda Platform already powers some of the most advanced M2M applications on the market and our relationship will give our customers proven, enterprise-class technology with which to build critical business applications.”

Over 100 major organizations, including Abbott, EMC, Diebold, and NetApp rely on the Axeda Platform today to get value from their connected products. A Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution, it reduces complexity and costs and provides key capabilities such as: condition monitoring, content management, location-based services, business rules, secure communication, and enterprise system integration that speed the creation of connected products.

“Our platform is built to manage hundreds of millions of interactions between products, people, and businesses on a daily basis,” said Dale Calder, president & CEO, Axeda. “Our alliance with Sprint allows for the cellular transmission of communications to be optimized for minimum cost to customers, while enabling them to take advantage of the reliability and speed of the Sprint 3G network.”

2010.03.10

IRS Will Not Tax Smart Grid Grants to Corporations: GridWise

Source: GridWise Alliance

Washington – The GridWise® Alliance today welcomed the determination by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that smart grid grants to corporations will not be subject to taxation. Thanks to the hard work of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) General Counsel and Recovery Act Team as well as letters from industry groups like the GridWise Alliance, EEI and NARUC, nearly all of the smart grid projects funded by DOE can now commence.


“We are thrilled that the IRS has made this decision and that our advocacy efforts played a positive role in their decision,” stated Katherine Hamilton, President of the GridWise Alliance.

“Now these smart grid technologies can be deployed and begin doing what they are intended for — stimulating the economy. These projects will make our electric grid more reliable, flexible and efficient, while creating much needed jobs in utilities, manufacturing and across the energy value chain.”

In an effort to move this decision forward, the GridWise Alliance sent letters to the General Counsel at DOE, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and had responded to substantive and technical questions throughout the process from Congress and the White House. “This is one issue on which we all agree; we are very pleased with the outcome,” concluded Hamilton. “We eagerly await the results of smart grid implementation so that we can demonstrate the success of these technologies.”

Australia's Western Power Awards Multi-Million Dollar Contract to Mincom


BRISBANE, Australia --(Business Wire)-- Mar 08, 2010 Mincom, a leading global provider of software and services for asset-intensive industries, today announced a significant new agreement worth $7 million with Western Power, which serves the electricity needs of nearly one million homes and businesses in Western Australia and maintains an electricity network comprised of nearly 88,000 km of power lines. Through its adoption of Mincom Mobility solutions, Western Power will enable 1,600 operational field employees to access real-time data about the state of every company asset – such as power poles and street lights – remotely from their mobile devices.

“The deployment of Mincom Mobility represents a major step forward for our organisation, helping us shift from disparate inspection systems to a solution that fully integrates inspections with the corporate asset-management system, enabling a more proactive asset-maintenance program,” said Leigh Sprlyan, chief information officer at Western Power. “Detailed information needed to manage company assets – from their location and structural composition, to worker availability and required skills – will help us optimise scheduling decisions and, in doing so, even more cost-effectively manage our workforce and contractors. And advanced features, such as Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping, will further enhance our visibility of both the state of our assets and the work plan, ultimately improving our ability to manage the network.”

For more than 10 years, Western Power has successfully streamlined its asset infrastructure with Mincom Ellipse, the leading solution for Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) for asset-intensive industries. After a substantial re-evaluation of applications supporting the company’s core business processes, Western Power decided to further extend its use of Mincom Ellipse to improve productivity, seamlessly meet regulatory standards, and reduce operating costs.

Under the new contract, Western Power will upgrade to the current release of Mincom’s EAM platform, Mincom Ellipse 6.3. In addition, Western Power has licensed Mincom Mobility, a suite of end-to-end, fully integrated mobile applications for automating field-force operations using mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and PDAs. The company has also licensed Mincom Critical Inventory Optimisation (MCIO), software that helps analyse and adjust stock levels and reordering requirements on an ongoing basis. Western Power will also use Mincom Axis B2B, a hosted solution providing business-to-business integration and Web applications to optimise business processes between trading partners.

“Asset-intensive organizations with mobile workforces often have to operate without technology support in the field,” said Greg Clark, CEO of Mincom. “By augmenting its proven-successful deployment of Mincom Ellipse with Mincom Mobility solutions, Western Power can now efficiently streamline asset management directly where it happens – in the field. We are pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with one of the true leaders in the utilities industry as it further evolves its best-practices application of technology for business benefit.”

Western Power is an electricity-networks corporation responsible for the transmission and distribution of electricity in the southwest region of Western Australia. Consisting of nearly 88,000 km of power lines, its electricity network is one of the largest isolated networks in the world. Every day, the company powers nearly a million homes and businesses and approximately 150,000 streetlights. For more information, visit http://www.westernpower.com.au/.

About Mincom

Mincom Pty Ltd is a global software and services provider with nearly 30 years experience in providing business solutions to asset intensive industries such as mining, utilities, transport, defence and government in more than 40 countries across North America, South America, Australia, South East Asia, Africa, and Europe. Mincom Inc. operates in North America and is a subsidiary of Mincom Pty Ltd. Mincom is owned by Francisco Partners. For more information about Mincom, visit www.mincom.com.

On-Ramp Wireless and NURI Telecom Team to Provide Connectivity for the Next-Generation Smart Grid

Solution Will Target Elusive Hard-to-Reach Meters, Resulting in 100 Percent Connectivity, Saving Energy and Costs

SAN DIEGO --(Business Wire)-- Mar 09, 2010

On-Ramp Wireless today announced that it has joined forces with NURI Telecom, a leading global provider of utility IT and end-to-end Smart Grid infrastructure solutions, to develop a cost-efficient single technology wireless network metering solution. The solution will enable connectivity for hard-to-reach meters, which can represent up to 10 percent of a single Smart Grid meter deployment, to help Smart Grid suppliers ensure 100 percent connectivity.

Presently, there is no cost effective method for connecting to hard-to-reach meters. More problematically, the issue becomes apparent only after live deployment. On-Ramp’s Ultra-Link Processing™ (ULP) system alleviates these costs for providers, and ultimately consumers, as it is the first system to demodulate signals below the noise floor while effectively maintaining high network capacity. Overall, the ULP system provides a significant network coverage and capacity advantage compared with competing free-spectrum systems.

“The hard-to-reach meter is one of the biggest challenges for providers in achieving a complete communication system within the Smart Grid,” said Mr. Choong Seon Hwang, vice president of engineering for NURI Telecom. “On-Ramp’s ULP technology has clearly demonstrated wireless connectivity in some of the most challenging environments. It has connected successfully in underground locations, many floors above the target and several kilometers away, which is simply impossible with any other single technology available today.”

NURI Telecom has pursued the Smart Grid comprehensively in hopes of powering its future growth and ultimately increasing energy efficiency. Its smart metering solution, AiMiR™, provides simultaneous automatic meter readings of electricity, water, gas and other measurements, to help consumers manage their resource consumption.

“NURI Telecom has demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of the extensive connectivity needs for the Smart Grid and for smart metering,” said Jeff Gray, senior vice president of sales and marketing for On-Ramp Wireless. “Furthermore, we have been exceptionally impressed with the advanced system and environment solutions NURI Telecom offers, particularly in regards to its network management system solutions, which promote an extremely cost efficient, consumer-friendly business model.”

On-Ramp and NURI Telecom will be showcasing integration of the ULP technology with a NURI Smart Meter solution at DistribuTECH from March 23-25 in Tampa, Florida.

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