Ontario smart metering with a “DataCo”


Conference: Smart Metering West Coast 2006
Location: San Fransisco
Presenter: Brent Williams
Abstract: Presented by Brent Williams at Smart Metering West Coast 2006. As Ontario transitions to a Smart Metered consumer base, the challenge of managing the data in this unique marketspace will be addressed by a “DataCo”. Still early in its evolution for this market, this centralized Smart Meter data repository addresses many of the challenges the market stakeholders face. DataCo includes key functional components of a traditional Meter Data Repository but extends the definition to include storage of consumer centric data used in the access authentication process.

While storage of the massive interval data volumes associated with ultimately 4.3 million Smart Meters is daunting, managing the many inputs and requests for authorized access to output or change this data presents a greater challenge. Ontario’s Local Distribution Companies (LDCs), competitive Retailers, Consumers, and government agencies each have different requirements to input, change, output or report on Smart Meter data.

Local Distribution Companies, directly or through their agents will input Smart Meter data into DataCo from a variety of Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system manufacturers all of which have different native interchange formats. Results of the subsequent Validation process may raise issues that can only be addressed through direct access to DataCo stored Smart Meter data for manual analysis and manipulation.
As well, the numerous and diverse Customer Information Systems of Ontario’s LDCs will need to interact securely and reliably with DataCo for on and off-cycle billing. Ontario’s competitive Retailers (and Energy Service Companies) will have a wider market from which interval (Smart) data consumption patterns can be used in their marketing analysis, load management and other value-add services. DataCo will need to leverage mechanisms and processes in place today to support the competitive retail market for authorized access to Consumer Smart Meter data.

Smart Metering is intended to create Smart Consumers through awareness of their energy use behaviour. Several technological solutions have been considered to educate consumers using Smart Meter data including the internet, Interactive Voice Response and in-home displays. Each of these solutions will need to integrate with DataCo for authorized access to deliver Smart Meter information to consumers visually or audibly.

Government Agencies including the Ministry of Energy have varied requirements for authorized access to Ontario’s Smart Meter data. Smart Meter data could be used for evaluating the progress and impact of Smart meter deployments as well as rate and load forecasting analysis for future market conditions.

A DataCo alone cannot effectively respond to the demand for access to Smart Meter data. Similar to other marketplaces, the high volume, high frequency transactional nature of Ontario’s Smart Meter DataCo will be best managed by implementating a set of common protocols or standards between functional systems and stakeholders.