News & Commentary
Intelligent Utility Insights
Brought to you by our editorial team.
- Sep 15, 2014 |
- Sep 12, 2014 |
- Sep 11, 2014 |
- Sep 10, 2014 |
- Sep 09, 2014 |
- Sep 08, 2014 |
- Sep 07, 2014 |
- Sep 04, 2014 |
- Sep 03, 2014 |
- Sep 02, 2014 |
Commentary from Industry Pros
The increased integration of machine to machine (M2M) technology is providing the field service industry with excellent opportunities to offer new services and increase revenue, while enhancing the overall quality of the customer experience.
Weather and nature are unstoppable forces but the results of their power are the same - the power is down and getting the lights turned back on is top priority.
Utilities, like other industry sectors in today's technology-driven economy, rely heavily on networked communications to support practically all their business operations. Among the external operations that depend on the network are advanced metering infrastructure, customer billing, home-automation systems and monitoring of gas pipelines or electricity generation/distribution infrastructure.
tasty sandwich. You pull out the turkey, unscrew the mayo jar, and start to slice the tomato. Just as you begin to un-twist the bag of bread, your electricity goes out, leaving you utterly ravenous and perhaps a bit frightened. You should be making your way to check the fuse box, but all you can think is, "Damn you, power companies. I didn't toast my bread!"
Traditional Enterprise Asset Management in asset intensive utilities has grown into much wider dimension with the introduction of networked Smart Grids and installation of intelligent devices on the grid network. Utilities that are in the asset intensive business have the challenging task of maintaining and monitoring their critical assets effectively and efficiently with high availability and reliability.
Utilities face increasing pressure from stakeholders and communities to improve their financial performance and profitability by minimizing write-offs for uncollectible accounts. West Monroe Partners recently benchmarked clients to identify best practices used to improve utility collections performance. While collections performance is highly measurable, visible, and actionable, it is also influenced dramatically by local ordinances and challenges that are unique to each utility. Our benchmarking effort identified six best practices that utilities can employ to improve their collections performance. Some utilities are hesitant to change collections practices, fearing a corresponding drop in customer satisfaction. West Monroe's benchmarking found the opposite to be true -- generally, utilities that implement and strictly enforce collections policies have higher customer satisfaction.
Smart Grid 3.0 (or SG3) is considered a user-centric power grid that allows end-users to hold an active participatory role in the network and potentially in the retail energy market. SG3 will have all the necessary foundations for novel business models and marketplaces. In SG3, prosumers could interact and collaborate at will, by producing, consuming, storing but also transacting energy on a peer-to-peer basis.
Demand Response (DR) has become a strategic program for many utilities in recent years for several reasons, including cost-effective peak load management and the opportunity to build stronger customer relationships by offering money saving programs. The choice of the network on which to run DR programs plays a major factor in operating efficiency, program effectiveness and customer satisfaction.
Even to people with no HVAC knowledge, it is obvious that the large air conditioning units in stores, factories and other large single zone HVAC applications consume massive amounts of energy. It's also intuitive that the more efficient each unit is, the lower the energy cost. However - even among HVAC industry engineers - accurately projecting these savings is a complicated endeavor. It can be done but requires a considerable amount of time and effort.
Innovations in the 20th century drove the fastest and most disruptive transformations in economic history. The automobile devastated the horse-and-buggy industry, railroads consumed large market share from shipping, and airplanes later took passenger and freight business away from railroads. Assembly lines and engines that ran on fossil fuels enabled great leaps forward in manufacturing productivity.