Welcome to Electsolve

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


FAQs re: Meter Data Management

How would you define meter data management?  
Meter Data Management (MDM) has been traditionally defined as a repository for meter data collected from diverse meter collection systems as well as providing Validation, Estimation and Editing functions, and providing integration with Customer Information Systems (CIS). It is the primary source for meter analysis and load profiling. However, leading MDM system providers now broaden the definition to be a data repository for Operation data which surpasses early generation MDMs by integrating all collection endpoint data such as SCADA, Outage Management System Data, and GIS Mapping Data.

Please give me a brief summary of the meter data management system and or customer interface you offer.
ElectSolve offers a core MDM system that includes all the traditional MDM functions and goes beyond by comprehensively giving an operational view of utility data. This is not restricted to AMI and CIS, but rather any field endpoint or operational system to include IEDs and AMI Meters, SCADA history, CIS, and Outage Management Systems.

What new options are out there that can help smaller utilities take advantage of AMI systems and meter data management systems? 
The MDM platform serves as the integration point for current and future data collection technologies such as AMI. MDM is well-suited to utilities that have already implemented AMI and find themselves with “data overload” and need a strategic methodology to efficiently manage and utilize the vast amounts of data they are collecting from multiple data streams from multiple systems such as: drive-by, fixed wireless, mesh, PLC, etc. into a single data platform. However, utilities that have not yet implemented AMI will also find that it makes sense to have MDMS in place before moving forward with these projects.

Is this the way utilities will integrate the consumer with the smart grid?
Absolutely. These “next generation” MDM systems have the potential to immediately meet utility’s short-term system integration and data management needs in a way that will enable a fully-integrated solution that will meet utility’s future business needs and national Smart Grid imperatives.

What other things need to be in place to take advantage of meter data management?
Data. And utilities have plenty of it. Unfortunately, most of the data is just hidden away in disparate data bases and silos where it is not easily accessible or reportable. Fundamentally, utilities need to make a decision to change how they leverage the data they have now and the new data streams that they anticipate having in the future. It is not a technology issue but rather a business decision to either leverage or not leverage the data already in existence at the utility.

How can utilities easily integrate this with other technologies?
Leading system MDM system providers include integration capabilities with the baseline system. Integration is critical since data aggregated together is not useful unless it can be shared. Sharing the MDM data with Business Intelligence applications and other measurement and reporting platforms is the ultimate goal of deploying an MDM system.

What mistakes should utilities avoid during implementation?
Utilities should implement their MDM system in phases. Once MDM is deployed, system integration can be phased in. System management dashboards, the MDM utility portal and the MDM customer portal can be extended later once the core system has been deployed. Utilities can set the pace of their phased implementation based on the level of customer sophistication.

What kind of payback can utilities expect? 
There are hard and soft paybacks. For example, ElectSolve offers a Line Loss Analysis module that can identify where losses are occurring on system and when loss targets are corrected hard savings are directly measurable. For consumers using the MDM Customer Portal, soft paybacks are harder to measure. Consumers will use these tools to learn more about their energy use habits that will ultimately lead to a reduction in power use that will lead to lower system demand.

What is the biggest objection to doing this? What are the barriers and what is your answer to this? 
The traditional barriers are cost and the perception that AMI is required. Although the growth of AMI is a driver in utilities adopting MDM, operational data analysis is cost beneficial with or without AMI. As for cost, system providers that target smaller utilities overcome the cost barrier to entry by promoting a phased pay-as-you-go approach to implementing the MDM.

What are some of the unexpected benefits? 
Utility analysts of commercial customers have always known the value that comes with increased granularity of data. What’s unexpected is how residential customer are embracing the opportunity to better understand how they use energy and the empowerment that comes with identifying opportunities to save… or at least choose the cost-vs.-benefit of individual energy use decisions.

Can you give me some examples of how a utility has used this? 
Early adapters of ElectSolve’s MDM actually started out without AMI. These early users implemented MDM for the Line Loss Analysis and Reporting Module and used the Line Loss reduction savings to justify their investment in AMI. Advanced data analysis and field corrections targeted and prioritized the most lucrative line loss correction “opportunities” and AMI was eventually deployed in the areas of highest losses first to maximize the opportunities to solve line losses in parallel with deploying AMI.

Could you recommend some utilities I could contact: name, person, title, phone, email?
Several utilities are on the forefront, but we will have to get authorization from them to pass along their contact information. We have been providing MDM-related technical services for over 10 years and have excellent reference accounts.

What questions should utilities ask vendors? 
What are your goals and expectations from an MDM project? How do you envision MDM as the gateway to AMI and a Smarter Grid?

Tell me something most people don’t know or understand about meter data management?
We’ve observed, consistently, that once utilities and their customers get a “taste” of the meter data management and reporting capabilities, the adoption of MDM as standard business practice grows exponentially.

Any last words of advice to utilities?
Dive in, but with a phased approach that includes not just meter but all operations data and considers how the data will be viewed and used by all stakeholders throughout the utility and their customers.