Utility Data — The Struggle Is Real

Amy Hou  |  October 17, 2017   |  Energy & Sustainability  


On a daily basis, one of the biggest headaches an energy manager has to face is organizing utility data. Every utility, meter, and tariff uses a disparate data format, structure, content, and semantics. Simply getting data in one standard format poses a huge challenge — the struggle is very real.

At the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) National Key Accounts Workshop last week, Urjanet VP of Sales Erik Becker and Cox Enterprises Energy Procurement Manager Andres Vargas gave advice on tackling the struggles of utility data. Their session was part two of EEI’s three-part “Big Data” series. If you weren’t able to attend, we’ve got you covered with a snapshot of their key talking points:

Why invest in better data management?

Integration of datasets drives a greater understanding of costs and enables real-time command and maintenance of the system. Without automated integration, employees can spend nearly two hours a day gathering and integrating data.

Cox Enterprises customers have seen proven results from automation. As Andres shared, one customer who used automation to generate a streamlined workflow saw a 44 percent efficiency gain over the course of one year.

On the other hand, getting data without automated integration raises daunting risks. According to information provided by Groom Energy, “data acquisition can represent up to 50 percent of the overall energy or sustainability management project’s costs.”  

Scalable architecture is key.

The spectrum of demands for utility data is widely varied. Some customers want their data in real time, while others want it at scheduled intervals. Some want it through an API on their own interface, while others want to use Urjanet’s portal interface. A scalable system can meet dynamic demand and handle peak loads at any time of the day.

So, what does scalable architecture look like? One example is a platform with a self-learning system. A self-learning system gets smarter as it processes more data, removing the necessity of building a new template every time a bill format or utility website changes.

Managing data the old way is no longer viable.

Automation is key to a cost-effective and scalable data acquisition solution. Building an automated platform allows for better and faster decisions, minimized risk, and maximum opportunity.

Cox can attest to the benefits of an automated solution; after integrating Urjanet’s customizable data feed, the added visibility has translated into faster and better decisions in a highly complex environment. Says Robert Fairey, Senior Director of Energy Procurement and Waste Diversion at Cox: “Right off the bat, we found $4,000 in rate savings by moving a handful of accounts to an alternate rate. Now extend that kind of scrutiny across all utilities, and you are looking at substantial cost savings potential.”

It’s no secret that utility data can be complex and difficult to manage. After solving the initial issue of collection and standardization of utility data, companies like Cox Enterprises can reap the full benefit of utilizing data more efficiently. From cost savings and understanding consumption to proving ROI for further projects, automated utility data can streamline sustainability efforts.

Have further questions about how automated utility data can help your business? Contact us today to speak with one of our experts.

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About Amy Hou

Amy Hou is a Marketing Manager at Urjanet, overseeing content and communications. She enjoys writing about the latest industry updates in sustainability, energy efficiency, and data innovation.

Tags   Data & Technology   |   Energy Management   |   Urjanet   |   Utility Data   |