The utility industry is seeing a revolution in the 21st century. For years, utility providers have relied on the same customer information systems (CIS) infrastructure, as the services they provided required little change.
That’s all changing in the 21st century
- Stimulus Dollars. Smart Grid and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) initiatives have been encouraged through government stimulus programs. These changes are introducing a whole new set of requirements that existing legacy CIS systems simply cannot handle.
- Regulatory Influences. New regulatory pressure and “green” initiatives are forcing utility providers to reduce carbon emission footprints.
- Technology. Advances in technology facilitate new opportunities for energy conservation and customer service. Two-way networks, Smart Meters, and smart appliances are the key to helping consumers take a more active role in personal energy management.
- Economy. Economic conditions, increasing energy prices, and mounting customer issues are making utility providers’ jobs more difficult.
Utility providers must be armed with a system that is proven to operate in a world driven by Smart Grid technology. Your CIS must be smart—it must handle both batch (month-end) and flexible billing options; scale to process millions of transactions in a day; and understand real-time, two-way interactions with the customer. It also must handle intelligent, dynamic products and pricing; and add intelligence to every customer interaction. Perhaps the most fundamental change within the utility industry is the metric of “bytes per BTU.” This refers to the amount of data generated for each unit of energy delivered, and has remained fairly constant since the days of Thomas Edison. However, the impact of the Smart Grid and the Intelligent Utility exponentially changes the amount of data needed. “What was the source of the energy I consumed? What was the price for it at the specific time I consumed it? How did I respond to the changes in price?” Unfortunately nearly all utilities are grappling with how to collect, manage, and utilize this data since most use outdated tools from previous eras.