January 2012 - Energy & Utilities Newsletter
A Message from West Monroe Partners
Date : January 11, 2012
With all the change underway in our industry, it’s easy to lose sight of the overarching goals that smart grid and enhanced utility infrastructure projects are designed to achieve.
Industry:

As we move into 2012, I think it is important to step back and reflect on our vision as an industry and review what we believe are some best practices for achieving these goals.

Ultimately, a smart grid will help make our country more secure, more self-sufficient, and less reliant on foreign oil by enabling the growth of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) like the Volt and electric vehicles (EVs) like the Leaf.  In fact, my colleagues and I have published a new whitepaper summarizing how smart grid helps our local and national economies as well as improving our national security.  I invite you to click here to read the article and download the whitepaper.

Some utilities, however, have encountered resistance from well-organized and passionate customers that are against the installation of smart meters.  For customers who have resisted receiving the new meters, some utilities have developed “opt-out” plans, allowing the customer to keep their existing meter.  Other utilities have created “opt-in” plans to provide customers with a non-wireless communicating smart meter.  These non-wireless smart meters are read manually or with an alternative communication technology.    As with anything there are many things to consider as a utility plans for and executes these options. 
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As we undertake these projects, I believe it’s important to take stock of both the “evolutionary” and “revolutionary” developments in the smart grid transformation of our industry.  While the technology to implement smart grid has been around for some time, the approach, the skillsets, and the data challenges remain top-of-mind for utility executives. 
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Having a smart grid is not enough. Utilities also need a staff that is capable of operating it and realizing the benefits that a smart grid can offer. This means ensuring that the proper skill sets are in place to implement and run the new systems and address the new challenges that utilities face.  With baby boomers retiring and limited resources at your disposal, developing the utility workforce of the future is imperative.
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Likewise, implementing a smart grid means integrating both new and legacy systems.  It’s my pleasure to introduce West Monroe’s Grid Integration Platform, or GrIP™.  Based on IEC Common Information Model (CIM) standards, this platform enables pre-integration of any number of vendor systems.  Above all, it provides a useful integration platform to simplify and decrease the time to deploy your systems.
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Happy New Year from West Monroe Partners.

Best regards,

Tom Hulsebosch

Some utilities are encountering resistance from well-organized and passionate anti-smart meter customers. There are many things to consider as your utility plans for and executes in the light of this negative cutomer reaction.
One of the most challenging and costly steps in implementing a smart grid is integrating new software applications from multiple vendors, including meter data management systems, automated meter infrastructures, load control management systems, and e-portals. Read how West Monroe GrIP helps utilities overcome these costs and challenges.
The massive industry-wide investment in intelligent equipment and communications networks, the proliferation of new information system applications and data, and the new demands of customers have converged to create a truly transformational pressure on the industry. Read about West Monroe's approach for a utility workforce of the future.
Ultimately, a smart grid will help make our country more secure, more self-sufficient, and less reliant on foreign oil by enabling the growth of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) like the Volt and electric vehicles (EVs) like the Leaf. Read the full article and download the whitepaper here.
While the technology to implement smart grid has been around for some time, the approach, the skillsets, and the data challenges remain top-of-mind for utility executives.
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