T&D World Magazine

New Research Report Underscores Rising Utility Investments in Automation

InfoNetrix has released a new market research report depicting planned and existing investments in automation and information technology projects by North American electric utilities. The report is based on surveys conducted with utilities across the United States and Canada between March 2006 and December 2006.

The foundation for the report is based on telephone surveys with a large cross section of large investor-owned, municipal, federal, state, district and cooperative electric utilities operating in the United States and Canada to ask about their project plans across 16 areas of automation and information technology. The findings, based on detailed information from hundreds of survey respondents, underscores a rising level of utility investments in automation/IT since passage of the 2005 Energy Policy Act and the ongoing return of utilities to traditional business areas.

“After more than two decades of deferring investments in T&D, rising concerns about declining grid infrastructure and an aging workforce coupled with reliability and security concerns, utilities now seem ready to step up investments in automation/IT,” said Michael A. Marullo, InfoNetrix president and director of research and consulting.

“Utilities are increasingly realizing that investing in automation/IT is a good way to extend the useful life of critical assets and partially offset the staggering equipment and human resource losses they are facing over the next ten years,” Marullo added. He went on to point out that the Northeast Blackout of August 2004 and other grid incidents have also contributed to the current rise in spending for automation/IT projects as a hedge against reliability concerns.

Findings of the research upon which the report is based include:

  • 5,873 Planned & Existing Projects Valued at more than $1.8 Billion
  • 1,567 Planned Projects Valued at more than $333 Million
  • 7,275 Planned RTU/PLC Procurements
  • 18,618 Planned Substation Device Procurements
  • 1,249 Planned Workstation/Viewstation Procurements
  • 4,854 Planned Substation HMIs (Human-Machine Interfaces)
  • 3,034 Planned Field Computing Devices (Laptop Computers, PDAs, etc.)
  • 1,118 Planned Substation Routers, Switches & Hubs

The report summarizes market drivers, issues and trends as well as project activity, spending patterns and key supplier preferences for each of 16 market/application categories all across the utility automation/IT spectrum.

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