The deployment of smart meters worldwide continues to accelerate and we have seen estimates of over 200 million being deployed by the end of 2014. It would probably be an understatement to call this the decade of the smart meter deployments but the question in my mind is whether we can call this the decade that smart meters deliver the promised business value. Certainty we know the promised benefits of smart meters such as improved efficiency and reliability gains, environmental benefits, improved customer service and customer engagement, energy theft reduction and helping to increase energy market competition. We are seeing progress and some Utilities are pushing the envelope to derive business value from the their smart meter assets but we certainly have a long ways to go in realizing all the benefits cited above for the estimated 200+ million smart meters that will be in place this year. Plus, with all of these smart meter assets being deployed Utilities are faced with another challenge: smart meter asset and operations management. As smart meters are deployed they typically become a key piece of an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) which is a large volume of assets which including meters, network communications infrastructure, disconnect/reconnect switches and demand response/load management (DR) system components. When a utility implements AMI, they suddenly have millions of additional assets to manage.
Why am I writing about this? I wanted to highlight two solutions that are helping Utilities derive business value from their smart meter deployments. The first is work that our team has done in in developing a solution which we call Smart Meter Intelligence that allows a Utility to extract value added information from smart metering to help improve smart grid operational efficiency, improve customer service and retain customers in competitive environments. The second solution is from our partner Cognizant and their Smart Metering Management Platform (SMMP) which allows Utilities to optimize the assets their AMI network. You can view videos about Smart Meter Intelligence here and the Smart Metering Management Platform here.
With solutions like these I am betting this will become the decade when we realize the business value of smart meters. Happy New Year! – Jon C. Arnold