Utilities avoid capital costs with ASP host bypass

Paul Yarka, Convergent Group

Small to mid-sized utilities need the benefits of Web-based solutions for energy delivery and energy market management but are often not in a position to deal with the huge upfront capital costs of building their own IT architecture and networks. Smaller utilities could benefit from subscribing to a non-customized technologies that do not require on-location support. Some application service providers (ASPs) in the market offer single point solutions for small companies instead of an integrated suite of applications. META Group Energy Information Strategy Service indicates that ASP offerings which provide a pre-integrated suite of relevant applications and data models will be attractive to the small-to-medium sized utility market.

In response to clients and municipal utilities and energy co-ops feedback, Cinergy Ventures LLC and Convergent Group formed emPowerNET, a new ASP offering Internet-hosted, transaction-based technology for utilities who previously could not afford to purchase market leading software applications and services.

emPowerNET integrates and acts as host for the solution encompassing energy delivery resource planning (EDRP) for distribution operations and an Electronic Energy Market Management (E2M2), eValue portal, offering load management, supply management and energy market information management. The first of the EDRP ASP-hosted energy technologies, scheduled for release in summer 2001, will include GIS/asset management, and outage and distribution management.

Mobile workforce management, distribution planning, and work tracking and reporting, Work management and executive information system technologies will be released in the subsequent phases of ASP offerings.

Convergent Group’s Model Office will be the technology and integration platform for the offerings. Utility customers will be able to subscribe to selected individual components or license the total EDRP or E2M2 suites.

E2M2, also slated for a summer 2001 release, will provide energy control device and communications networking via the Web, metering information through fixed wireless networks, buy/sell functionality for end use customers and price discovery data to perform analysis of real-time energy options.

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