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UTILITIES: Enabling Business Value for Utilities

 





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The term "smart grid" represents significant technology projects underway at many utilities today. Utilities are not only implementing new meters at homes and businesses, but also installing new devices along the power lines and transmission networks. The capabilities that these new technologies enable – such as time-of-use energy pricing, sophisticated outage management, and theft detection – are intended to help meet growing energy demands and extend the life of an antiquated power grid. However, none of these benefits can be realised without the application of analytics.

“The quiet industrial giant of the mid- 20th century is no longer. Deregulation, globalisation and sustainability have changed the operating landscape for electric utilities. Just as the optimist seeks a silver lining to every dark cloud, leading utilities are taking advantage of the confluence of market forces to modernise the data management and analytical capabilities of their organisations,” says Gerald Naidoo, CEO of Logikal Consulting. “Smart meters and smarter grids in themselves do not bring actionable insight or competitive differentiation. If new meters make a utility smart, it is through business intelligence (BI) and analytics that a utility becomes intelligent."

While Logikal Consulting has employed its world-class BI solutions at utilities across Africa, the company is also helping these corporations improve their carbon footprints and optimise their sustainability. Through its partnership with SAS, the global leader within the analytics market, Logikal Consulting has implemented comprehensive sustainability management solutions, allowing utilities across the continent to balance financial, engineering, social and environmental considerations to align resources with strategy and optimise organisational performance.

“We are pleased to be partnered with Logikal Consulting in this space and look forward to working closely in the African market together,” says Kroshlen Moodley, Regional Head of Utilities at SAS. “The future breed of analytics solutions being driven by SAS within the utilities market is through high performance analytics (HPA) solutions that support grid, appliance and cloud architecture. Logikal Consulting’s expertise in these areas, and its longstanding partnership with SAS, made the company a good fit to partner with us in this arena.” SAS has implemented technology solutions in global utilities to improve performance in the areas of predictive asset maintenance, forecasting, energy trading and risk management.

“By following a fragmented IT model that is inflexible and ultimately very costly, utilities are faced with high resource costs and inefficient IT infrastructure. Our vision of Green IT is not just about virtualisation, cloud computing, hardware or software, but a 360 degree integrated approach to ensure full utilisation of resources in the most cost-effective way, thereby reducing their measurable bottom line and carbon footprint,” says Mahesh Chavan, CTO at Logikal Consulting. He explains that while going green is about reducing power, reducing carbon emissions and driving energy cost out of the IT infrastructure, it is by interweaving many relevant technology strategies the utilities can aim to achieve a smooth green operation.

Naidoo adds that the first step is for utilities to be aware of current performance and understand opportu-nities to improve. “Today, data about sustainable perfor¬mance is disparately tracked in multiple operational systems or rudi¬mentary accounting files. The increas¬ing frequency of reporting exacerbates this pain. Often, utilities do not have the enterprise tools to gather and manage this important data and derive real value from improvement projects.”

The company therefore provides a solution which allows clients to efficiently capture and organise their information and derive real value from it by applying the power of advanced analytics: predic¬tive modelling, forecasting and optimisation. In addition, Logikal Consulting’s expertise in this sector has provided utilities with applied analytics to determine the best-case scenario for delivering reliable power to end consumers.

“Data analytics drive down costs and improve service delivery quality for telecommunications providers, and can do the same for utilities managing similarly complex networks. Utilities often underestimate the ability to use vast resources of new data to optimise their daily business activities. As a result, valuable information remains trapped in silos and utilities continue to underperform in critical areas such as meter data quality, asset management and customer service. Our approach is aiding a new generation of energy practitioners to enable f transformation and deliver business value from IT investments,” Naidoo concludes.


 
 
 
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