Data Management Software & Utility Analytics
Author: Meir Shargal
This story illustrates the kind of wasted opportunities utilities will face if they don’t employ utility business analytics to leverage all the utility data that will come from the smart grid. Now is the time for utilities to do more than merely collect such data. They must improve their utility data management infrastructure to be able to process all the incoming information or transactions. In this effort, utilities should employ an integrated smart grid data management software that delivers actionable insight from systems and processes.
Not long ago, I heard a utility-savvy friend grousing about her electricity provider. She wasn’t upset about the rates or the service reliability. She was upset about postcards. “Why does the utility keep sending me postcards and letters about their air conditioner load control program?” she asked. “They send me four or five of these marketing pieces every year. Can’t they tell by my summer bill that I don’t have an air conditioner? What a waste of their advertising budget!
My friend assumed her utility understood that she didn’t have an air conditioner because of the rates she was being charged. At her utility, a two-tiered rate structure goes into effect from June 1 to September 30. For residential customers who use less than 500 kWh, summer rates are the same as winter rates. For usage over 500 kWh, the rate essentially doubles. My friend asked why the utility meter marketing team didn’t simply send the promotion to those who got hit with the higher rates, as those were the people most likely to have air conditioning.
That’s a good question. Why don’t utilities use metering, billing and other demographic utility analytics to target likely prospects for their energy efficiency programs? In this case, the customer didn’t have a smart utility meter, but since monthly consumption tripped the rate increase, the utility didn’t need smart meters to make its marketing smarter.
What the utility needed was business analytics and smart utility data management software. The data were there, but my friend’s utility wasn’t using it to guide marketing decisions.
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