Site loading image

Part 2

Managing the Future of Electric Utilities

The future of electric utilities depends on how companies harness IT/OT convergence to ensure operational success. Along with the technologies, utilities should ensure that processes and departments are as integrated as possible. As a wave of digitalization hits the industrial control systems, the future is meeting the power industry's present head-on. Whether a company's operations are successful is related to how efficiently its IT interacts with its OT.

Leveraging Analytics and Artificial Intelligence

Many electric utilities are looking for solutions for digital power grids. Utilities collect a significant amount of data from their operational systems. If utilities want to extract business value from this data, it needs to be accessible and high-quality. This requires combining disparate datasets, analyzing this data and processing it into actionable intelligence.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics are critical for maintenance and help keep costs down and increase efficiency. Analytics and AI allow utilities to predict what assets need maintenance or will potentially fail and react quickly to prevent losing capacity. With AI analytics, utilities can plan for outages and increase the efficiency of their turnaround. Data science and analytics are considered some of the most important skills in the industry, second only to skill in traditional engineering.

As utilities and customers increasingly adopt distributed energy resources and smart meters, utilities employ digital mapping and analytics to allocate resources appropriately. All initiatives should correlate with increasing operational excellence and plant efficiency. For maintenance, predictive analytics is key to keeping costs down and improving efficiency.

At TRC, we tackle the challenges facing the electric utility industry. We can drive insights in various areas, from asset maintenance and performance management to profiling and network planning and customer usage. We drive insights by leveraging our technology partners, analytic platforms and expertise in utility networks and operations.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) is an example of IT/OT convergence. AMI combines communication protocols, data management systems and smart meters. Initially, utilities only leveraged smart meter data to calculate monthly energy usage and issue bills to customers.

Utilities can also use smart meter data more fully and combine it with other systems’ data by implementing advanced use cases. Advanced use cases include:

  • Theft
  • Outage isolation
  • Tamper detection
  • Voltage monitoring
  • Remote connect and disconnect

TRC understands the AMI continuum and how AMI data can best be integrated and leveraged to improve decision-making and increase operational efficiency. We provide our clients with best-in-class solutions to solve business problems by bringing our industry experience, expertise and leading technology to the issue. We utilize our strategic partner network to create innovative solutions that match and overcome our clients’ problems.

Distributed Energy Resources (DERs)

In the power industry, a wave of digitalization is hitting the industrial control systems that are decades old. How well a company operates depends on how efficiently its IT interacts with OT. The increase in distributed energy resources has demonstrated a need for more sophisticated interconnection efforts and planning. The industry needs a functional, centralized and secure solution for managing distributed energy resources (DERs) and exploiting collected data from these devices.

With expertise in resource management processes and DER planning, TRC has established partnerships with leading software vendors specializing in distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS). TRC can help a utility make the best IT/OT decisions, including implementing a demand response program or developing a peer-to-peer transaction energy solution.

Grid Measurement and Operational Awareness

A utility control room operator is inundated with notifications, alarms and data from multiple software systems that control and monitor the grid. With the myriad control and measurement devices being added and the proliferation of DERs, this inundation will continue to intensify.

At TRC, we understand digital power solutions. We have partnered with technology firms developing innovative methods for presenting and processing data to operators in ways that allow utilities to increase their efficiency and responsiveness. 

Learn More from TRC

Reach out to our experts today.

Part 3: Challenges of IT/OT Convergence

Many utilities face challenges, including security concerns, technology issues and cooperation within the organization.

Read More →

Learn More from TRC

Reach out to our experts today.

By clicking "Accept", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Read our Privacy Policy.