By: Jason Tuck Providence GIS Solutionshttp://providencegissolutions.com/
Revenues Lost: GIS Recapturing Lost Revenues for Utility CompaniesElectrical utilities lose profits due to line loss, outage restoration, utility billing, crews not performingat 100%, wasted fuel, etc. In this ebook we are going to focus on three of the main areas of lostrevenue: Line Loss, Outage Restoration, and Utility Billing. We will also show how a GeographicalInformation System (GIS) can help solve these issues.First let’s define a Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS is organizes many different data sourcesinto one location. In essence the GIS becomes of the hub of the all the data sources and the output tothe users (the public, employees, and vendors). See Figure 1 below:Figure 1You will see this figure again in the chapter on Outage Management and Restoration. Notice how allthe data sources feed into the GIS. All the data is matched up through relational databases then outputto users (in this figure we reference the dispatcher but the GIS also out flows to engineering, meterdepartment, operations, etc.) inside the utility as well as the customers.Line loss, outages, and utility billing issues are all sources of lost revenue. There are billions of dollarslost over the course of a year due to estimated billing, unplanned outages not efficiently restored, and
just plain electricity loss across the lines as power is distributed from the power plant all the way to thecustomer. How do we recapture these revenues? How do we become more efficient in the operations ofthe electrical utility of todays informational age? As we push towards the full implementation of theSmart Grid these are questions which need to be answered. Hopefully you will see how we can use GISto solve these issues in the coming chapters.
Line-LossLine-Loss is a constant battle for electric utility companies regardless of their size. What once was anacceptable level for line-losses can no longer be acceptable. According to the Department of Energy1,it is estimated that United States utilities lost 6.6% in 1997 and of 6.5% in 2007. In some cases thepercentage of line-loss reaches 10% - 15%. This can result in multi-million dollar losses.In a letter to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, National Rural ElectricCooperative Association (NRECA) Chief Executive Officer Glen English had this to say about distributionsystem line losses: Resistance to the flow of electrical current in the distribution and transmission system causes a portion of energy, typically 7 percent, to be lost in the form of heat, resulting in higher emissions for the same amount of delivered electricity. Data from the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) show that cooperative distribution system line losses were consistently around 6% from 1994 to 2000, well below the industry norm. In fact, RUS reported cooperative line losses at 4.96% during 2001. While electric cooperatives serve 12% of all electric consumers, they maintain nearly half (2.3 million miles) of the nation’s distribution miles of line. With their consumers widely dispersed (6.6 consumers per mile compared to 34 for investor- owned utilities and 44 for municipals), cooperatives have maintained a high degree of distribution efficiency under very challenging conditions. 2The U.S. Energy Information Administration (eia) has created a table of the “State Electricity Profiles”.The total for the United States is as follows: Average Retail Net Summer Total Retail Net Generation Name Price Capacity Sales (cents/kWh) (megawatts) (megawatthours) (megawatthours) U.S. 9.82 1,025,400 3,950,330,926 3,596,864,866 TotalSource: U.S. Energy Information Administration website, Date of Data: 2009, Published: April 2011.CausesThere are numerous issues4 that cause line-loss for utilities including: Inaccuracy of wholesale metering CT’s & PT’s No-load losses within the electric system Inaccuracy of revenue Meters (calibrations, multipliers, defective, age, sizing, etc.) Energy Thefts Un-Metered Errors, especially street and security lights Billing System account set-up errors Poor power factor Phase imbalance Improper primary/secondary conductor size.
Federal InvolvementThe federal government began the process of mandating Smart Grid technology with the BushAdministration. The Obama Administration has not missed a beat in their push for Smart Gridtechnology. On June 13, 2011 the Obama Administration released this press release “AdministrationAnnounces Grid Modernization Initiatives to Foster a Clean Energy Economy and Spur Innovation” 5.There are 4 primary goals mentioned in this press release: 1. Better alignment of economic incentives to boost development and deployment of smart-grid technologies 2. A greater focus on standards and interoperability to enable greater innovation 3. Empowerment of consumers with enhanced information to save energy, ensure privacy, and shrink bills 4. Improved grid security and resilienceIn an effort to meet these goals the Obama Administration released these public and private-sectorinitiatives: $250 million in loans for smart-grid technology deployment as part of the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Service, which is focused on upgrading the electric grid in rural America. The launch of Grid 21, a private sector initiative to promote consumer-friendly innovations while ensuring proper privacy safeguards and consumer protections. Grid 21 will help consumers get better access to their own energy usage information so that they can take advantage of new tools and services to manage their energy use and save on their utility bills. New commitments by the Department of Energy to focus on improving consumer access to their own energy information, including the development of a crowd-sourced map to track progress, a data-driven competition designed to harness the imagination and enthusiasm of America’s students to encourage home energy efficiency, and new EIA efforts to measure progress. o Consumers deserve access to their own energy usage information in consumer-friendly and computer-friendly formats. The Administration is committed to working with States and stakeholders to ensure all Americans can take advantage of new tools and services to manage their energy use and save on their utility bills. With proper privacy safeguards and consumer protections, a smarter electricity system can benefit all consumers. Expanded partnerships to continue working with States and stakeholders, including an initiative to share lessons learned from Recovery Act smart grid investments, a series of regional peer-to-peer stakeholder meetings, and updated online resources available at: www.SmartGrid.gov The formation of a Renewable Energy Rapid Response Team, co-led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of
Energy, to improve Federal coordination and ensure timely review of proposed renewable energy projects and transmission lines, to ensure that renewable energy can power cities and towns across America, and to increase reliability and save consumers money by modernizing the grid.These initiatives are the focus of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 6 allocation toSmart Grid issues. The Green Energy initiatives involving Wind and Solar power will play a role inreplacing the fossil fuel generation of the past as we move forward in upgrading our transmission gridin the United States.Upgrading the transmission grid is a necessary element that should have been started a long timeago. If the transmission is not upgraded then maximum results cannot be achieved by the smart grid.Possible solutions7 for transmission are High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC), Flexible AC TransmissionSystems (FACTS) devices, Gas-Insulated Substations, Superconductors, Wide Area Monitoring Systems(WAMS), etc.ABB7 wrote a white paper on these solutions listed above. HVDC has 25% lower line-losses comparedto the traditional AC transmission lines while having up to 5 times the capacity of AC lines. Thesuperconductors called HTS (high temperature superconducting) carry a line loss of .5% compared tothe 5-8% of the traditional conductors.Distribution SolutionsABB also listed other paths to improved efficiency. Here are those proposed paths: Distributed generation/Microgrids Underground distribution lines Intelligent grid design (smart grids via automation) Reduction of overall T&D transformer MVA Energy storage devices Three phase design for distribution Ground wire loss reduction techniques Higher transmission operating voltages Voltage optimization through reactive power compensation Asset replacement schedule optimization Distribution loss reduction via distribution automation Power factor improvement Load management (e.g., smart metering or price-sensitive load control) Power electronic transformersAMR/AMI systems have been the first to attack the line-loss issue facing the electric utilities. Thoseutilities who deployed AMR/AMI systems like Aclara’s TWACS metering, have seen an increase inrevenues due to more accurate meter billing. Solving these issues first will result in the highest Returnon Investment.As the Smart Grid matures, more devices will be brought into the fold for monitoring. Transformers
are next on the list and are beginning to be tested. They should be ready in the next 5 years formanufacturing and deployment to utilities. Soon to follow are other protective devices withmonitoring systems for the distribution conductors.Data Generated by the Smart GridNow we have the question, how is the data gathered and organized. Geographic Information Systems(GIS) becomes an essential tool for the organization and analysis of data. Without a GIS in place theanalysis of data, creation of reports, and gathering of data becomes difficult. It is important that thedata from the different sources is interoperable with each other. The best way to ensure thisinteroperability is to require that vendors providing the Smart Grid components be MultiSpeak(www.multispeak.org) compliant. If you have not heard of the MultiSpeak standard here is adescription from MultiSpeak’s “About” page8: The MultiSpeak Specification is a key industry-wide standard for realizing the potential of enterprise application interoperability. The MultiSpeak Specification is the most widely applied de facto standard in North America pertaining to distribution utilities and all portions of vertically-integrated utilities except generation and power marketing. It is currently in use in daily operations of more than 600 electric cooperatives, investor-owned utilities, municipals, and public power districts in at least 15 different countries. The MultiSpeak Initiative is a collaboration of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), leading software vendors supplying the utility market, and utilities. The Initiative has developed and continues to expand the MultiSpeak Specification for Interoperability a specification that defines standardized interfaces among enterprise software applications commonly used by electric utilities.GIS is the foundation of the organization of data. From this foundation the utility can efficientlyperform engineering analysis, outage management (which we will discuss in the next chapter),improve customer service, provide pay via phone or online using credit/debit cards, integrateautomated vehicle location (AVL), laptops with distribution system, etc. All of these activities createmore efficiency in the utility. Utilities are constantly being bombarded with accusations of rising utilityrates from their customers. With the reduction of line-loss those rates could come down. In order toreduce line-loss efficiently the data must be organized, presented and analyzed in such a way thatissues on the distribution system are solved in a systematic approach. GIS allows this systematicapproach to be developed and shows trends and patterns graphically. If there is no GIS then somepatterns/trends could or would be missed.As we move forward with the Smart Grid, the installation and use of GIS is becoming an essential toolthat utilities cannot live without. The utilities that see this vision before investing in Smart Gridupgrades that are not interoperable, will have saved not only money but aggravation as well.
Outage ManagementThe number one area of lost revenue in electrical utilities are outages, planned or unplanned. Outageshave been a constant in the past and will continue to be a constant into the future. We can manage theseoutages more efficiently in the future by utilizing and analyzing the data provided to utilities during theoutage(s) from one location. This location is a GIS (Geographical Information System).Data SourcesWhat are the possible data sources for the electrical utility? Customer Information System (CIS) Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) or Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Phone calls from the customers during the outage using an Interactive Voice Recording (IVR)/Auto Attendant or calling into a Customer Service Representative (CSR) Maps (Digital or Paper/Mylar) of the electrical facilities. Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) or GPS in the vehicles SCADA Weather RadarFigure 1Notice in Figure 1 the data sources are not connected and have a person next to each source. When datasources are not connected together seamlessly, more employees are needed to manage the data sources.Not all utilities will have all of these data sources but all utilities have at least some of these sources.All utilities have some sort of mapping whether or not the mapping has been converted into a digitalformat depends on the utility. All utilities have customer information in some form or another. If theutility has Smart Metering (AMR/AMI) then they typically have a CIS. We find that most utilities we
deal with have just the mapping and Smart Metering with a CIS but not much more. These componentsare typically not integrated together.IntegrationIntegration of data is the key to managing outages efficiently. GIS is the integrator of data sources. Forelectrical utilities, it is important to note the how critical having all data sources MultiSpeak(multispeak.org) compliant and interoperable. I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sureall the software that is accessed by the GIS to manage not only Outage Management Systems (OMS)but as well as the Engineering Analysis, Staking, Billing, Smart Metering, etc. If the interoperability isthere from the beginning the marriage of all the data will be seamless in the GIS making the integrationeasier and more cost effective for the utility in the integration process.GIS joins all the data sources together. It truly is the hub. From this hub the decision makers can makedecisions at a high accuracy rate and faster than ever before. The reason for this is because the data isdisplayed on a map. So the trends and patterns become very easy to discern on the fly.Figure 2Notice in Figure 2 GIS is now the hub of the wheel and the data sources are the spokes. The number ofemployees now allocated to managing the data sources has dropped from 7 to 4, saving money andresources for the utility. Once the GIS becomes the hub creating custom reports for analysis becomesvery straight forward and also reduces man-hours in creating the report because the data is broughttogether in one location.Managing the OutagesDispatchers for utilities process a tremendous amount of information during an outage event. Who is out of power Where are the crews (Tree and Line)
Which crews have been assigned to which areas Are crews clear of a line being re-energized Answering phone calls coming in from customers to report outages Communicating with crews Planning where to send crews as the outage event progressesWithout GIS this job can be chaotic at best at the beginning of an outage event. With GIS this job isvery hectic at worst. The GIS allows the dispatcher to remain organized resulting in clear decisionmaking, not to mention the correct decisions are usually made because of data being organized in theGIS then being outputted to the dispatcher in a format he/she can easily disseminate very quickly.See how a GIS makes life easier on the dispatcher by bringing together the data sources shown below:Figure 3As you can see in Figure 3, IVR and Web applications help in the communications with customersimproving the service customers receive from the utility. AVL allows the dispatcher to see where thecrews are located at all times to improve safety of the crews. The AMR/AMI and IVR calls also givethe dispatcher an accurate picture of the current state of the outage event allowing him/her to leverageutility resources to restore the power to the customers in the most efficient manner.To state the obvious, the less time the customer is out of power the more revenue the utility capturesand the higher customer satisfaction. Another benefit to having a GIS with regards to Outagerestoration is when it comes time to create statistical reports on the outage, man hours can be decreasedas much as 90% - 95% from my experience. This can translate into thousands of dollars in savings tothe utility.
Utility Billing (Smart Metering)Smart Metering started with Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) and has now migrated to AdvancedMeter Infrastructure (AMI). AMR allows for only one-way communication (Meter to the Utility) butthe AMI systems allows for the two-way communication between the utilities and the meters. AMR andAMI have same benefits when it comes to getting away from manual reading meters, power outagenotification, and power quality monitoring. These metering solutions have been the first wave of thecoming Smart Grid technology. They are higher profile and contain highest risk/reward with thecustomers. If the Return on Investment (ROI) can be proven at the customer level then the next phasesof the Smart Grid will be easier to sell to the customers, members, and/or stockholders.Billing the CustomerAs the smart meters come online the natural progression is for the customer to pay via online bill pay,interactive voice response (IVR) as well as through the mail and customer service reps. Smart metersallow utilities to get readings anywhere from every 24 hours to however often the utility desires toreceive the data. Just note the more frequent the meter reading the data server receiving the data will beneed to be scaled appropriately. The days of estimating are quickly becoming non-existent.The City of Anderson Utilities have implemented Aclara’s Star AMR system for both the Water utilityand Electric utility. There are approximately 36,000 customers in Anderson. In conjunction with theAMR system Anderson utilities installed Milsoft Utility Solution’s Telelink IVR product in September2010. In the first 12 months since installation of Telelink $3 million in revenue was collected fromcustomers calling in on the phone. Telelink also allows the utility to reverse call customers who are indanger of being cut-off. Once the automated system connects with the customers, they are given theoption of paying their bill via credit card to avoid being cut-off the next day. Telelink takes pressure offof the utility billing office and the customer service reps through providing information to thecustomers, arranging financing, taking payments, routing phone calls to different departments, andmany more functions.Customer RelationshipUtilities must address their relationship with the customers. The installation of smart metering affordsthe perfect opportunity for utilities to bridge the great divide between themselves and the customer.Utilities must address their relationship with the customers. The installation of smart metering affordsthe perfect opportunity for utilities to bridge the great divide between themselves and the customer. Wehave seen Google (PowerMeter) and Microsoft (Hohm) come up with products to involve the customeronly to give up. Cisco in the last couple of weeks has bailed out of energy management for buildings.IT companies just do not understand the utility industry well enough to make sense of the intricacies.The electrical power industry needs to be the driver and developer of the technology Google,Microsoft, and Cisco are trying to develop. In a world were smart phones are so prevalent customersneed a one stop app on their phones which interfaces with the thermostat and the meter datasimultaneously, allowing the customers to control the energy use in their homes remotely.Smart meters must also interface with billing systems and the Customer Information System (CIS). Togo a step further it would be ideal for the smart meters to be interoperable with the billing system andCIS of the utility, allowing for the customer service cost to drop. The Guardian newspaper in the UKwrote an article explaining how the system works in a house and why it helps the earth.
Customer involvement at the beginning is essential. If they are not involved in the beginning there is athreat of a backlash. In the Jan|Feb 2011 issue of Electric Light & Power, Stuart Ravens has this to sayabout Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) in their smart meter roll out: PG&E did not plan its customer advocacy program well, which led to many complaints including the accuracy of meters, fears of overcharging, concerns regarding data privacy, the security of smart meters and even health concerns about radio frequency transmitters. Significant and well-organized protests followed, including calls for a government moratorium on PG&Es smart meter deployment until the issues were addressed. To date the utility has spent about $4 per meter on consumer engagement. In more successful projects, however, customer spend can be as low as $1 to $1.50 per meter. Education need not be an expensive exercise, just well-targeted, with early and sensitive implementation and sustained messaging. This example should warn other markets that utilities must be on the front foot with consumers when deploying smart meters to prevent a backlash from destroying potential cash savings.Social networking can be leveraged by utilities to reach out to customers. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,Google +, and other virtual communities need to be used by the utilities to offer information on rateincreases, outages, events, give-a-ways, etc. to build trust with their customers. Regardless of the sizeof the utility their customers are heavily involved in the social network world. As the trust is built withthe customer the easier it will be for the utility to install the Smart Grid components and request higherrates if need be to afford those components.
CommunicationsThe communication pipe line and the security of this pipe line will be crucial in the expansion of thesmart meters in the Smart Grid. We are talking about massive amounts of data flowing from the field tothe data center in near real-time now and in the future. This is data carrying information about ourcustomers and information which is sensitive in nature as well as vulnerable to cyber attacks. The otheritem to consider is the interaction of the Smart Meters to the customers smart phones or tablets throughapplications.Utilities must improve the two-way communication with the Smart Grid facilities then work on passingthis technology on to their customers. Interoperablity has to be required by the utility as differentsoftware solutions are brought together to solve the two-way communication issue. Multispeak(multispeak.org) being required is absolutely required to make this interoperablity a reality. We do nothave money anymore to spend for software companies to charge the electric utilities for developmentcosts to marry software together initially and every time there is an update to the software or OperatingSystem at the client site.In the rural electrical utilities there is a need to have both RF (Radio Frequency), FTTH (Fiber To TheHome), and Wireless. See the case study of Pulaski Electric System as laid out in an article inPowerGrid International Feb 2011: Pulaski Electric System (PES) is a Tennessee-based electric utility that combined the reach of radio frequency (RF) technology and the speed of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) to a customer base that spans both urban and rural service areas. Pulaski implemented a FTTH network in 2007 to provide in town residents and businesses with high-speed Internet access, as well as high-definition video entertainment and high-quality digital phone service. Extending FTTH to remote communities and isolated farms, however, was not practical given the low density of potential subscribers. For this reason Pulaski selected a system that could operate in both wired and wireless worlds. A hybrid approach enables Pulaski to use both its FTTH network and 220 MHz RF for rapid and reliable two-way data transport. The utility gets more value from FTTH by using it for triple-play media and as its AMI backbone. Furthermore, it can quickly and easily bring smart grid functionality to customers on the edges of its service territory via the wireless network, where customer service costs are highest. This minimizes truck rolls, removes high-cost reads and ensures that all customers receive the same high level of service, regardless of location. The wireless RF network provides rural reach and redundancy for the FTTH network, which helps ensure a high system reliability level. Although the system PES chose operates in both Internet protocol and RF environments, at its core it is a single network. This simplifies integration to other critical applications, provides a comprehensive coverage solution and facilitates migration from RF to FTTH as the fiber network is expanded. It also gives PES the freedom to evolve according to its own business goals and operational priorities As a result, PES avoids the costs and complexities that would have resulted from deploying, managing and maintaining two separate AMI networks.
The hybrid network offers the scalability and capacity that will enable PES to implement demand response, energy-efficiency programs and in-home displays to whatever degree is desired without retooling the entire network—or worse still, starting over from scratch.Communication to the smart meters is not only crucial for Outage Management but also for analysis ofthe current data model of the electrical facilities. Up-to-date readings from the meters allows theutilities to do current day of or the day after load allocations, voltage drops, fault currents, etc. will relyon information coming not from the smart meters but also the SCADA systems, and in the futuretransformers, reclosers, capacitors, and other elements on the electrical system.
ClosingGeographical Information Systems (GIS) is a powerful tool to have your tool belt. It is the hub of thedata wheel. All the spokes of the different data sources reach out from the GIS hub. GIS is essential tothe organization, analysis, and distribution of the data whether we are speaking of data in the quantitywe are accustomed to now or the amount of data we will be processing in the future.As you have seen in this book with the 3 issues (Line Loss, Outage Restoration, and Utility Billing),GIS is an absolute must in order to truly reduce the cost and revenues lost across the board in theseareas. Without GIS there will be some revenues recaptured but at the end of the day to fully maximizethe benefit of the Smart Grid GIS must be implemented and fully functional. By fully functional wemean there being complete interoperablity between all components of the GIS allowing even flow ofthe data from all the data sources. Without this interoperablity efficiency cannot be accomplished.Providence GIS Solutions is best suited to solve this interoperablity issue which many of the utilitieshave not been able to solve completely.Providence GIS Solutions is here to serve the electrical utilities as well as water and gas in theimplementation and the expansion of their GIS. Each utility is different; each utility has their own
unique challenges. In these unique challenges Providence GIS Solutions thrive in designing andimplementing GIS tools to move the utility to a more efficient and stream lined operationally.Contact Providence GIS Solutions at:Phone: 765-734-3001Email: email@example.comWebsite: www.providencegissolutions.comBlog: gissmartgrid.comTwitter: @gissmartgridThank you for taking the time to read this ebook. As time passes we will be adding and revising as wegather more information and adding more chapters to address the challenges utilities face with lostrevenues. Please contact us at Providence GIS Solutions with any comments, feedback, and questions.We would love to hear from you.