The data challenge of smart metering

Smart meters are often referred to as the next generation of gas and electricity meters given their ability to offer consumers a range of “intelligent” functions. The end consumer can simply view a display that tells them how much energy is being consumed in the household.

This kind of real-time information on energy usage is extremely valuable as it enables consumers to more effectively manage energy usage and ultimately save money. Today, this kind of transparency simply doesn’t exist.

While adoption levels vary, experts agree that most households will have smart meters installed by their energy company between 2015 and 2020. However, there is a lot of work that needs to be done in preparation for those rollouts.

To make smart metering a reality, energy companies will need to rely on their customer and asset data in order to effectively provision customer care and asset management. Establishing a foundation of trustworthy data is also critical as firms comply with existing regulatory demands and prepare for future regulations.

In order to make the shift to smart meters, energy companies recognize that their business operations and processes must change in tandem. As such their ability to manage critical information assets becomes even more challenging. Data integrity issues exacerbate problems with customers and operations.

For customers in particular the impact of poor quality can be downright maddening.  For energy firms those ramifications can not only have devastating effects on the firm’s reputation, but cause implementation costs to skyrocket as projects are started, halted, scrapped and recalibrated time and time again.

Addressing these data-related challenges upfront ensures that businesses can remediate and minimize impact to the enterprise’s smart metering program. In order to set the foundation for such initiatives, several organizations are turning to data quality assessments as a way to get a measure of hidden data issues and identify ways to address them.

For example, audits of this nature can help businesses determine if the data required to support a massive new smart data program is ready for business use. Is the data accurate? Is it trustworthy? Are there data deficiencies? Can it deliver the results needed for the intended business objectives?

Smart metering is a business-altering program of change that requires a high degree of information exchange and cross-system communication. The smart metering Data Assessment should be the first step for any energy company as it delivers vital insights into the firm’s ability to trust core attributes that are critical to the design and execution of all major operational steps in the program. Such a project will also help them to gain valuable business insight into the data foundation they will rely upon to support the massive development ahead. 

While smart meters are a smart option for customers, utilities need to be prepared to execute seamlessly from the get go. Given consumers can now switch suppliers with relative ease, businesses need to ensure that the customer is getting the service they deserve — free of errors, issues and breakdowns.

By uncovering key data quality issues that may impact costs, generate additional requirements or impact specific business objectives (for example, regulatory compliance), energy firms will be better prepared to perform successfully.

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