Smart Meter automation powers customer service at Jersey Electricity

Although Jersey is not a part of the UK Smart Meter roll out, Smart Meters are a central part of a large-scale government project to upgrade the UK’s energy system, replacing around 53 million existing gas and electricity meters by 2020, allowing consumers a more accurate view of their energy consumption. Designed to provide ‘near real-time’ information on energy use, smart meters will enable consumers to manage their energy use, allow supplier switching to take place more easily and remove the need for suppliers to read meters and provide estimated bills.

The challenge

As the sole supplier of electricity across the island, Jersey Electricity decided to proactively rollout smart metering ahead of the rest of the UK, aiming for installation of up to 45,000 meters for domestic and commercial customers by the end of 2018.

Planned as a three-year project, Jendev, its subsidiary utility software development business, examined a variety of options to deliver key components, including the smart meters themselves and the critical data warehousing technology to gather, store and analyse the data provided by every smart meter.

This data collection and analysis presented an important challenge. In every property, the smart meter needs to take a daily consumption read as well as 48 half hourly reads, 365 days a year – an eventual total at the end of the project rollout approaching 1 billion reads per year. This data is passed from each property to a data concentrator in its local substation, which are all polled daily to collate data in the central data warehouse for processing and analysis.

The solution

Gary Parsons, business manager at Jendev said. “We wanted to automate the entire data warehouse lifecycle from design and planning through to implementation and operation. Our evaluation process led us to WhereScape and its RED data warehouse application which we chose because of its proven power and flexibility. We were also impressed by the ability of the WhereScape team to build data warehouses rapidly and cost-effectively.”

WhereScape RED has been designed as an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to help build data warehouses faster in SQL Server, Teradata, DB2, Greenplum and Oracle. It supports agile as well as traditional project approaches including live prototyping for user reviews and feasibility testing. The data warehouse was built, documented and released into production in just 22 development days, delivering an automated smart metering network for Jersey Electricity that will see large-scale installation from July 2015. “We have 9,000 legacy smart meters already installed and collecting data, which helped us to design and test the WhereScape Red data warehouse automation tool,” explained Parsons. “Red is a highly versatile tool, offering very rapid development cycles and powerful reporting – it’s an excellent solution.”

Benefits

“The information we are providing will also enable customers to identify potential problems in their home or workplace which can lead to increased consumption,” said Parsons.

The project also signals the end of the road for both manual meter readings and estimated bills, with Jersey Electricity much more effectively engaged with all its customers. “We are very well positioned to provide our customers with an informative, highly responsive and effective supply service which offers them greater value for money at a time when the utilities industry is under increased scrutiny and going through a great deal of change.”

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