BY Capgemini
This page was produced by FT2, the advertising department of the Financial Times. The news and editorial staff of the Financial Times had no role in its preparation.


IT trends spotted and checked by experts


What happens

Utility Distribution Network Operators (DNO) must stop focusing on smart metering as a compliance programme and recognise the huge potential that the data offers, according to Capgemini's new whitepaper Smart metering for Distribution Network Operators.

so what?

Vice President of Capgemini Consulting

Alain Bollack's role within Capgemini Consulting draws on his more than 25 years of technical and consulting experience and sees him lead the firm?s Smart Energy Services Centre of Excellence team.

Before joining Capgemini Consulting in 2016, Bollack worked as a director at EY after joining the firm in 2006 as a senior manager. Prior to this he joined IBM in 2003 as a management consultant and before that he worked as a consultant at PwC from 1997. Between 1991 and 1997, Bollack worked as a management consultant for CSC. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from ISG and started his career at PAA as a consultant in 1989.

What are the benefits of smart metering to DNOs?

What is interesting is the DNOs will have access to the meter and consumption data, which will allow them to do three major things.
One, is to be more efficient. User data from the smart meter can assist in understanding how the network is operating, including supply interruptions, voltage complaints, network reinforcement requirements, and the collection of additional load. We can be much more efficient in dealing with these issues.
Number two is to improve the reliability of the network and reduce interruptions. DNOs will have a better understanding of the changes in network loading and ensure that the network capacity is not exceeded. So you have a much better understanding of supply and demand and so can balance supply and demand on the network.

The third element is improving customer service, especially when you have an interruption in supply. [With smart meters] DNOs will detect interruption much more easily, so you don't have to wait for a call from the customer to figure out there is an interruption. It will come directly from the meter data. Hopefully, we will be able to be much more proactive in restoration of supply before the customer has even called to complain.

What are the business opportunities for DNOs as far as smart meters are concerned?

DNOs are evaluated on three components; efficiency, reliability, and customer service. So the better they are at reliability, efficiency and customer service, the better they will be paid by the regulator. So there is a direct impact on the bottom line.

With better service, DNOs will be better perceived by customers. With smart meters they should be able to offer much better customer service. The only real problem a customer has is an interruption of supply, and if you can resolve that quicker, it will have an impact on the perception of DNOs by customers.

Also, there is quite a business opportunity [for DNOs] when you know that at stake are 53 million meters to be managed over the next twenty years or perpetuity. That's a revenue stream, not to mention the fact that these 53 million meters will need to be installed at a cost of around three or four billion pounds. So this is quite an opportunity for the DNOs who are looking at it in terms of both the management of the asset and the installation of the asset.  

How is analytics the key to all this?

Apart from what we just talked about around installation, meter owner asset, or repair, the rest is linked to data. The DNOs will have access to the meter consumption data from the end consumers. And will have the ability to look at the content of that data and analyse patterns of consumption, change of consumption, interruption of supply, etc. They will receive alarms from the data communication company (DCC), react to it, analyse it, and transform that into actions for them, combining that with current processes to do something about it.

It is a big transformation for the DNOs. They have never had the visibility of all that data and being able to deal with that is a big change.

What do DNOs have to do to prepare themselves for smart metering and the infrastructure it needs?

At one level, there needs to be a change in mentality. It is the now time for the DNOs to stop looking at smart meters from just a pure compliance perspective and start looking at their value and how to exploit that value. Now the data is coming, [the DNOs] can exploit it as much as possible. 

The second is laying out the detailed plan and its timings. This is because there are things you can do now, and there are things that you will be able to only in a few years' time when the coverage of smart meters across the country is higher. You need density of smart meters in some regions in order to properly carry out analytics and evaluations. 

The third element is building capability in data management. There will be a lot of data coming from smart meters and that combined with existing data will impact on DNOs' operations. You need to build the capability, the competence, recruit the right people, so you can analyse the data and the infrastructure that goes with it. 

Who cares?

  DNOs will be able to gain great visibility of power consumption patterns, demand levels and revenue flows by exploiting data from smart meters.

- Key organisational capabilities like scheduling and dispatch or grid control should be enhanced to take advantage of greater network visibility. As smart meter coverage increases towards saturation points in some areas, the data can be used alongside smart grid technologies and IoT to move towards automated asset control.

- In order to get the best out of real-time smart meter information, and to ensure successful integration and functioning of future analytics enhancements, DNOs should develop a full smart meter data strategy.

- DNOs can exploit smart meter data to better identify and justify capital investment decisions. To do this, you need enhanced asset management capability enabling the capital asset team to carry out research & development and to evaluate asset pilots based upon their impact on the grid.
Innovators Race

As Capgemini turns 50, we give early stage start-ups the opportunity to jump-start their business and win equity-free funding of $50,000.

For more information:

Innovators Race

As Capgemini turns 50, we give early stage start-ups the opportunity to jump-start their business and win equity-free funding of $50,000.

For more information:

Do you think this is a major trend ?

Nigel Lewis, Meet Nigel Lewis, expert in Business Analytics.
Nigel Guy, Meet Nigel Guy your SI Delivery Excellence, BI & Analytics expert..
John Parkinson, Meet John Parkinson, your Data Governance, Data Quality, Data Strategy, Data Management expert.
Subhinder Dhillon, Meet Subhinder Dhillon, your Financial services, Banking and Insurance expert.