The Smart Energy Alliance has announced today the launch of six new offerings designed to help utility customers achieve and maintain a competitive advantage in their distribution operations.
The six offerings, announced at the DistribuTech conference, include:
- Distribution Roadmap Workshop: The Smart Energy Alliance will offer a series of workshops over a week to help a utility company determine if it has a solid view on the future of distribution. The workshop, based on five years of innovation by the Canadian Electric Association Technology Inc. (CAETI) Distribution Roadmap project, also helps a utility company start down the path to a “smart grid,” develop a broad cross-section of the engineering and planning required to implement the idea of a smart grid, and foster a full understanding of the capabilities of the SEA.
- Smart Metering Solution: With this solution, SEA implements a two-way network to automatically collect data from energy meters. Data are transferred to a central database over a common network. This can enable more advanced capabilities such as pre-paid metering, distribution Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), and smart meter agents. The Smart Metering Solution can help reduce cost of meter reads, eliminate “hard to read,” “missed reads” and inaccurate reads, improve theft detection, provide faster and accurate billing for rate payer and utility, and improve tax and government reporting.
- Workforce Management Solution: The SEA Workforce Management Solution provides the leading tools and methodology to manage a unified workforce of contracted and utility owned crews. This solution helps drive better crew retention, lower operations costs, improve emergency response times, and provide greater flexibility of crew\task assignments.
- Forecasting Solution: As manufacturers today are building equipment to the nameplate specifications, the grid is becoming less forgiving of being overloaded. The SEA Forecasting solution addresses this issue through a unique “bottom up” forecasting approach. The solution builds to the unique characteristics of each piece of equipment on the grid to provide visibility into problem areas in the grid before equipment breaks and customers are without power.
- Distribution SCADA Solution: Using automated meter reading (AMR) and other grid agent data points, SEA’s Distribution SCADA solution enables improved awareness of the distribution grid health and operational management (O&M). With the two-way communication data from meters and agents provide a near real-time view of the distribution grid. Distribution SCADA is a key building block of the SEA distribution management and control system (DMCS). Working together, SEA partners can help utilities provide faster response to network outages, reduce O&M costs, increase network reliability and reduce regulatory penalties.
- IP to the Field Solution: In today’s utility industry, the field work force can have as many as six handsets with which to communicate. The SEA IP to the Field Solution consolidates multiple handsets into a single device, enabling more efficient and cost-effective communication between the field and other locations. The solution is based on a single IP data communications foundation. Many utilities are struggling to move beyond the current environment which limits growth and flexibility, and results in greater operational costs. North American utilities are taking advantage of this solution as they plan for the move to Voice-Over-IP solutions and comply with looming NERC cyber-security standards. Recent global weather tragedies highlight the importance of inter-utility communication capabilities, and the SEA IP to the Field Solution can vastly improve inter-utility communication during such crises.
The Smart Energy Alliance was created in February 2006 to focus on solution development, field services engagement and industry marketing around a business vision of “next-generation” distribution based on a services-oriented enterprise and a technological vision of open, standards-based solutions. SEA brings together the combined strengths of leading business and technology solution providers to accelerate adoption of new technologies in the utility industry worldwide.
“Based on its experience the past two years, Hydro One has seen-first hand how several technology companies can work together to provide more complete solutions to issues that are forward-looking and relevant to the distribution grid of tomorrow,” said Rick Stevens, director of development strategy, Hydro One Networks. “For instance, the Distribution Roadmap workshops have proven to be very valuable for the purpose of identifying which technologies would work in the future with our existing systems and we strongly believe the workshops would work for other utilities grappling with the same issues on the grid.”