Share This:

As per reports, close to 75 percent of US households have smart meters installed in their homes. The numbers are all set to increase in the coming years due to the vast number of benefits of smart meters. Some of the major ones are increased energy efficiency, better savings, and intelligent management of personal energy consumption. 

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) can be considered as the soul of the smart metering ecosystem. It is a two-way communication system comprising of communication systems and IMS (Information Management Systems) for remotely monitoring customer usage (e.g. water, electricity, etc.) in real-time. 

Analytics in smart meters provides customers insightful information related to outages, consumption patterns, etc. that help them save more in the long run! Though smart meter customers are able to reap benefits from smart meters, utility companies should leave no stone unturned to cater to the threat of power outages due to natural disasters like wildfires, storms, etc. Adoption of smart meters results in reduced field visits to customer’s site. Receipt of meter reads, disconnection, and re-connection is possible by sending the device commands to Head End systems. Varied device events like power outages, power restoration, etc. are now communicated back to the MDM (Meter Data Management) systems. 

NPS in smart utilities segment is still an area of concern and utility providers need to step up their game for converting existing customers into customer evangelists. One of the ways to step up the NPS is by helping customers save more on electricity bills :). 

Consider the case of the US where a majority of the utility customers have to witness blackouts owing to outages because of natural disasters (majorly storms). Storms are more frequent from October to March, and the percentage of affected customers depends on the severity of the storm.  

Picture this – Close to 350K homes and businesses from Texas to Ohio lost power for a couple of days owing to the freezing rains and snow in the region. 

Utility companies came up with different storm-proofing measures for ensuring that customers are not billed when there is zero consumption of electricity due to the outage. The first & foremost action item was to eliminate the activities that involved manual intervention (e.g. Manual correction of reads, manual correction in bills, increased number of customer complaints). To top it all off, it is imperative to not bill the customers during the outage period. 

We, at TekGeminus, have helped a number of E&U (Energy & Utility) enterprises transform their CX (Customer Experience), thereby helping them stay ahead of the competition. A US-based utility major was on the lookout for a scalable solution to tackle the issues posed by natural disasters like storms, floods, etc. The overall intent was to improve the customer satisfaction score by ensuring the customers do not bear the financial brunt of the storm. 

Our team evaluated Outage Storm Mode from Oracle which offers an out-of-the-box outage processing solution to improve estimation accuracy during major outages. However, we had to go the extra mile to cater to the business requirements of the utility customer. 

The tailor-made solution from TekGeminus was based on the ‘Paired Device Event’ design provided by Oracle. The solution in the Oracle MDM (Master Data Management) was configured for smartly detecting any power outage on a device. The HE (Head End System) creates Device Events in Oracle MDM, which in turn creates an Outage Activity for the device. 

TekGeminus Oracle Offerings

The Oracle MDM-based Smart Meters monitor batches and  create Zero reads for the outage period based on the active Outage Activity. This essentially boils down to zero charges imposed during the outage duration. On restoration of power, the Head End System creates Power Restore Device Event which results in stoppage of the outage activity. 

As the power is restored, the Oracle MDM starts receiving regular reads from the Head End system. This results in long-term savings for the customers of the utility company along with an increase in the customer retention rate. 

Conclusion 

Smart meter customers can make the most of the intelligence offered by meters, helping them save more $$ on their electricity bills. Power outages from natural disasters like storms have nearly doubled up in the last 20 years

As there is zero power consumption during the blackout, utility companies are using innovative billing & restoration mechanisms to minimize inconvenience to the customers. This is where TekGeminus’s Paired Device Event design based on Oracle can be leveraged by smart utility companies to transform the Disaster Outage Management experience. 

Intrigued to know more about the advancements in the smart utility industry?

Subscribe to our newsletter

We don’t spam 🙂

Share This:

Leave a Reply