Utilitys Gas Forecasting System Honored by Smithsonian Institution

Utility`s Gas Forecasting System Honored by Smithsonian Institution

An innovative use of information technology by Plum Street Enterprises employee Dick Van Valkenburgh was one of six category finalists cited at the 1997 Computerworld Smithsonian Awards, held in Washington D.C. The technology demonstration`s primary focus is to reduce natural gas users` costs by more accurately forecasting daily demand for the commodity.

The technology application model–developed by Electronic Data System and implemented through a research and development project by Van Valkenburgh while working as a gas supply planning supervisor for Plum Street`s parent company, Niagara Mohawk Power Corp.–utilizes neural network technology to provide daily forecasts of gas demand.

“The neural network system is an extremely accurate alternative for forecasting short-term demand for natural gas,” Van Valkenburgh said. “It requires less development and daily monitoring time than previously utilized regression models.”

Dr. David Allison, chairman of the National Museum of American History`s Division of Information Technology and Society, said, “Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. and its affiliate, Plum Street Enterprises, are using information technology to create remarkable strides toward social improvement in the environment. We are delighted to have this model added to our permanent research collection, as it is a prime example of how information technology is being used to improve our global society.”

Based in Syracuse, N.Y., Plum Street Enterprises is a Niagara Mohawk company that markets energy and energy-related services to wholesale and retail customers throughout the northeastern United States and Canada. The case study, which was a finalist in the Environment, Energy and Agriculture category, is accessible along with all current and past nominees at www.innovate.si.edu.

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