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By: Jason Tuck Providence GIS Solutions


Revenues Lost: GIS Recapturing Lost Revenues for Utility Companies

Electrical utilities lose profits due to line loss, outage restoration, utility billing, crews not performing at 100%, wasted fuel, etc. In this ebook we are going to focus on three of the main areas of lost revenue: Line Loss, Outage Restoration, and Utility Billing. We will also show how a Geographical Information System (GIS) can help solve these issues. First lets define a Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS is organizes many different data sources into one location. In essence the GIS becomes of the hub of the all the data sources and the output to the users (the public, employees, and vendors). See Figure 1 below:

Figure 1

You will see this figure again in the chapter on Outage Management and Restoration. Notice how all the data sources feed into the GIS. All the data is matched up through relational databases then output to users (in this figure we reference the dispatcher but the GIS also out flows to engineering, meter department, operations, etc.) inside the utility as well as the customers. Line loss, outages, and utility billing issues are all sources of lost revenue. There are billions of dollars lost over the course of a year due to estimated billing, unplanned outages not efficiently restored, and

just plain electricity loss across the lines as power is distributed from the power plant all the way to the customer. How do we recapture these revenues? How do we become more efficient in the operations of the electrical utility of today's informational age? As we push towards the full implementation of the Smart Grid these are questions which need to be answered. Hopefully you will see how we can use GIS to solve these issues in the coming chapters.

Line-Loss is a constant battle for electric utility companies regardless of their size. What once was an acceptable level for line-losses can no longer be acceptable. According to the Department of Energy1, it is estimated that United States utilities lost 6.6% in 1997 and of 6.5% in 2007. In some cases the percentage of line-loss reaches 10% - 15%. This can result in multi-million dollar losses. In a letter to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Chief Executive Officer Glen English had this to say about distribution system line losses: Resistance to the flow of electrical current in the distribution and transmission system causes a portion of energy, typically 7 percent, to be lost in the form of heat, resulting in higher emissions for the same amount of delivered electricity. Data from the USDAs Rural Utilities Service (RUS) show that cooperative distribution system line losses were consistently around 6% from 1994 to 2000, well below the industry norm. In fact, RUS reported cooperative line losses at 4.96% during 2001. While electric cooperatives serve 12% of all electric consumers, they maintain nearly half (2.3 million miles) of the nations distribution miles of line. With their consumers widely dispersed (6.6 consumers per mile compared to 34 for investorowned utilities and 44 for municipals), cooperatives have maintained a high degree of distribution efficiency under very challenging conditions. 2 The U.S. Energy Information Administration (eia) has created a table of the State Electricity Profiles. The total for the United States is as follows:
Name U.S. Total Average Retail Price (cents/kWh) 9.82 Net Summer Capacity (megawatts) 1,025,400 Net Generation (megawatthours) 3,950,330,926 Total Retail Sales (megawatthours) 3,596,864,866

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration website, Date of Data: 2009, Published: April 2011.

Causes There are numerous issues4 that cause line-loss for utilities including: Inaccuracy of wholesale metering CTs & PTs No-load losses within the electric system Inaccuracy of revenue Meters (calibrations, multipliers, defective, age, sizing, etc.) Energy Thefts Un-Metered Errors, especially street and security lights Billing System account set-up errors Poor power factor Phase imbalance Improper primary/secondary conductor size.

Federal Involvement The federal government began the process of mandating Smart Grid technology with the Bush Administration. The Obama Administration has not missed a beat in their push for Smart Grid technology. On June 13, 2011 the Obama Administration released this press release Administration Announces Grid Modernization Initiatives to Foster a Clean Energy Economy and Spur Innovation 5. There are 4 primary goals mentioned in this press release: 1. Better alignment of economic incentives to boost development and deployment of smart-grid technologies 2. A greater focus on standards and interoperability to enable greater innovation 3. Empowerment of consumers with enhanced information to save energy, ensure privacy, and shrink bills 4. Improved grid security and resilience In an effort to meet these goals the Obama Administration released these public and private-sector initiatives: $250 million in loans for smart-grid technology deployment as part of the US Department of Agricultures Rural Utility Service, which is focused on upgrading the electric grid in rural America. The launch of Grid 21, a private sector initiative to promote consumer-friendly innovations while ensuring proper privacy safeguards and consumer protections. Grid 21 will help consumers get better access to their own energy usage information so that they can take advantage of new tools and services to manage their energy use and save on their utility bills. New commitments by the Department of Energy to focus on improving consumer access to their own energy information, including the development of a crowd-sourced map to track progress, a data-driven competition designed to harness the imagination and enthusiasm of Americas students to encourage home energy efficiency, and new EIA efforts to measure progress. o Consumers deserve access to their own energy usage information in consumer-friendly and computer-friendly formats. The Administration is committed to working with States and stakeholders to ensure all Americans can take advantage of new tools and services to manage their energy use and save on their utility bills. With proper privacy safeguards and consumer protections, a smarter electricity system can benefit all consumers. Expanded partnerships to continue working with States and stakeholders, including an initiative to share lessons learned from Recovery Act smart grid investments, a series of regional peer-to-peer stakeholder meetings, and updated online resources available at: www.SmartGrid.gov The formation of a Renewable Energy Rapid Response Team, co-led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of

Energy, to improve Federal coordination and ensure timely review of proposed renewable energy projects and transmission lines, to ensure that renewable energy can power cities and towns across America, and to increase reliability and save consumers money by modernizing the grid. These initiatives are the focus of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 6 allocation to Smart Grid issues. The Green Energy initiatives involving Wind and Solar power will play a role in replacing the fossil fuel generation of the past as we move forward in upgrading our transmission grid in the United States. Upgrading the transmission grid is a necessary element that should have been started a long time ago. If the transmission is not upgraded then maximum results cannot be achieved by the smart grid. Possible solutions7 for transmission are High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC), Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS) devices, Gas-Insulated Substations, Superconductors, Wide Area Monitoring Systems (WAMS), etc. ABB7 wrote a white paper on these solutions listed above. HVDC has 25% lower line-losses compared to the traditional AC transmission lines while having up to 5 times the capacity of AC lines. The superconductors called HTS (high temperature superconducting) carry a line loss of .5% compared to the 5-8% of the traditional conductors. Distribution Solutions ABB also listed other paths to improved efficiency. Here are those proposed paths: Distributed generation/Microgrids Underground distribution lines Intelligent grid design (smart grids via automation) Reduction of overall T&D transformer MVA Energy storage devices Three phase design for distribution Ground wire loss reduction techniques Higher transmission operating voltages Voltage optimization through reactive power compensation Asset replacement schedule optimization Distribution loss reduction via distribution automation Power factor improvement Load management (e.g., smart metering or price-sensitive load control) Power electronic transformers AMR/AMI systems have been the first to attack the line-loss issue facing the electric utilities. Those utilities who deployed AMR/AMI systems like Aclaras TWACS metering, have seen an increase in revenues due to more accurate meter billing. Solving these issues first will result in the highest Return on Investment. As the Smart Grid matures, more devices will be brought into the fold for monitoring. Transformers

are next on the list and are beginning to be tested. They should be ready in the next 5 years for manufacturing and deployment to utilities. Soon to follow are other protective devices with monitoring systems for the distribution conductors. Data Generated by the Smart Grid Now we have the question, how is the data gathered and organized. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) becomes an essential tool for the organization and analysis of data. Without a GIS in place the analysis of data, creation of reports, and gathering of data becomes difficult. It is important that the data from the different sources is interoperable with each other. The best way to ensure this interoperability is to require that vendors providing the Smart Grid components be MultiSpeak (www.multispeak.org) compliant. If you have not heard of the MultiSpeak standard here is a description from MultiSpeaks About page8: The MultiSpeak Specification is a key industry-wide standard for realizing the potential of enterprise application interoperability. The MultiSpeak Specification is the most widely applied de facto standard in North America pertaining to distribution utilities and all portions of vertically-integrated utilities except generation and power marketing. It is currently in use in daily operations of more than 600 electric cooperatives, investor-owned utilities, municipals, and public power districts in at least 15 different countries. The MultiSpeak Initiative is a collaboration of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), leading software vendors supplying the utility market, and utilities. The Initiative has developed and continues to expand the MultiSpeak Specification for Interoperability a specification that defines standardized interfaces among enterprise software applications commonly used by electric utilities. GIS is the foundation of the organization of data. From this foundation the utility can efficiently perform engineering analysis, outage management (which we will discuss in the next chapter), improve customer service, provide pay via phone or online using credit/debit cards, integrate automated vehicle location (AVL), laptops with distribution system, etc. All of these activities create more efficiency in the utility. Utilities are constantly being bombarded with accusations of rising utility rates from their customers. With the reduction of line-loss those rates could come down. In order to reduce line-loss efficiently the data must be organized, presented and analyzed in such a way that issues on the distribution system are solved in a systematic approach. GIS allows this systematic approach to be developed and shows trends and patterns graphically. If there is no GIS then some patterns/trends could or would be missed. As we move forward with the Smart Grid, the installation and use of GIS is becoming an essential tool that utilities cannot live without. The utilities that see this vision before investing in Smart Grid upgrades that are not interoperable, will have saved not only money but aggravation as well.

Outage Management
The number one area of lost revenue in electrical utilities are outages, planned or unplanned. Outages have been a constant in the past and will continue to be a constant into the future. We can manage these outages more efficiently in the future by utilizing and analyzing the data provided to utilities during the outage(s) from one location. This location is a GIS (Geographical Information System). Data Sources What are the possible data sources for the electrical utility? Customer Information System (CIS) Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) or Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Phone calls from the customers during the outage using an Interactive Voice Recording (IVR)/Auto Attendant or calling into a Customer Service Representative (CSR) Maps (Digital or Paper/Mylar) of the electrical facilities. Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) or GPS in the vehicles SCADA Weather Radar

Figure 1

Notice in Figure 1 the data sources are not connected and have a person next to each source. When data sources are not connected together seamlessly, more employees are needed to manage the data sources. Not all utilities will have all of these data sources but all utilities have at least some of these sources. All utilities have some sort of mapping whether or not the mapping has been converted into a digital format depends on the utility. All utilities have customer information in some form or another. If the utility has Smart Metering (AMR/AMI) then they typically have a CIS. We find that most utilities we

deal with have just the mapping and Smart Metering with a CIS but not much more. These components are typically not integrated together. Integration Integration of data is the key to managing outages efficiently. GIS is the integrator of data sources. For electrical utilities, it is important to note the how critical having all data sources MultiSpeak (multispeak.org) compliant and interoperable. I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure all the software that is accessed by the GIS to manage not only Outage Management Systems (OMS) but as well as the Engineering Analysis, Staking, Billing, Smart Metering, etc. If the interoperability is there from the beginning the marriage of all the data will be seamless in the GIS making the integration easier and more cost effective for the utility in the integration process. GIS joins all the data sources together. It truly is the hub. From this hub the decision makers can make decisions at a high accuracy rate and faster than ever before. The reason for this is because the data is displayed on a map. So the trends and patterns become very easy to discern on the fly.

Figure 2

Notice in Figure 2 GIS is now the hub of the wheel and the data sources are the spokes. The number of employees now allocated to managing the data sources has dropped from 7 to 4, saving money and resources for the utility. Once the GIS becomes the hub creating custom reports for analysis becomes very straight forward and also reduces man-hours in creating the report because the data is brought together in one location. Managing the Outages Dispatchers for utilities process a tremendous amount of information during an outage event. Who is out of power Where are the crews (Tree and Line)

Which crews have been assigned to which areas Are crews clear of a line being re-energized Answering phone calls coming in from customers to report outages Communicating with crews Planning where to send crews as the outage event progresses Without GIS this job can be chaotic at best at the beginning of an outage event. With GIS this job is very hectic at worst. The GIS allows the dispatcher to remain organized resulting in clear decision making, not to mention the correct decisions are usually made because of data being organized in the GIS then being outputted to the dispatcher in a format he/she can easily disseminate very quickly. See how a GIS makes life easier on the dispatcher by bringing together the data sources shown below:

Figure 3

As you can see in Figure 3, IVR and Web applications help in the communications with customers improving the service customers receive from the utility. AVL allows the dispatcher to see where the crews are located at all times to improve safety of the crews. The AMR/AMI and IVR calls also give the dispatcher an accurate picture of the current state of the outage event allowing him/her to leverage utility resources to restore the power to the customers in the most efficient manner. To state the obvious, the less time the customer is out of power the more revenue the utility captures and the higher customer satisfaction. Another benefit to having a GIS with regards to Outage restoration is when it comes time to create statistical reports on the outage, man hours can be decreased as much as 90% - 95% from my experience. This can translate into thousands of dollars in savings to the utility.

Utility Billing (Smart Metering)

Smart Metering started with Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) and has now migrated to Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI). AMR allows for only one-way communication (Meter to the Utility) but the AMI systems allows for the two-way communication between the utilities and the meters. AMR and AMI have same benefits when it comes to getting away from manual reading meters, power outage notification, and power quality monitoring. These metering solutions have been the first wave of the coming Smart Grid technology. They are higher profile and contain highest risk/reward with the customers. If the Return on Investment (ROI) can be proven at the customer level then the next phases of the Smart Grid will be easier to sell to the customers, members, and/or stockholders. Billing the Customer As the smart meters come online the natural progression is for the customer to pay via online bill pay, interactive voice response (IVR) as well as through the mail and customer service reps. Smart meters allow utilities to get readings anywhere from every 24 hours to however often the utility desires to receive the data. Just note the more frequent the meter reading the data server receiving the data will be need to be scaled appropriately. The days of estimating are quickly becoming non-existent. The City of Anderson Utilities have implemented Aclaras Star AMR system for both the Water utility and Electric utility. There are approximately 36,000 customers in Anderson. In conjunction with the AMR system Anderson utilities installed Milsoft Utility Solutions Telelink IVR product in September 2010. In the first 12 months since installation of Telelink $3 million in revenue was collected from customers calling in on the phone. Telelink also allows the utility to reverse call customers who are in danger of being cut-off. Once the automated system connects with the customers, they are given the option of paying their bill via credit card to avoid being cut-off the next day. Telelink takes pressure off of the utility billing office and the customer service reps through providing information to the customers, arranging financing, taking payments, routing phone calls to different departments, and many more functions. Customer Relationship Utilities must address their relationship with the customers. The installation of smart metering affords the perfect opportunity for utilities to bridge the great divide between themselves and the customer. Utilities must address their relationship with the customers. The installation of smart metering affords the perfect opportunity for utilities to bridge the great divide between themselves and the customer. We have seen Google (PowerMeter) and Microsoft (Hohm) come up with products to involve the customer only to give up. Cisco in the last couple of weeks has bailed out of energy management for buildings. IT companies just do not understand the utility industry well enough to make sense of the intricacies. The electrical power industry needs to be the driver and developer of the technology Google, Microsoft, and Cisco are trying to develop. In a world were smart phones are so prevalent customers need a one stop app on their phones which interfaces with the thermostat and the meter data simultaneously, allowing the customers to control the energy use in their homes remotely. Smart meters must also interface with billing systems and the Customer Information System (CIS). To go a step further it would be ideal for the smart meters to be interoperable with the billing system and CIS of the utility, allowing for the customer service cost to drop. The Guardian newspaper in the UK wrote an article explaining how the system works in a house and why it helps the earth.

Customer involvement at the beginning is essential. If they are not involved in the beginning there is a threat of a backlash. In the Jan|Feb 2011 issue of Electric Light & Power, Stuart Ravens has this to say about Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) in their smart meter roll out: PG&E did not plan its customer advocacy program well, which led to many complaints including the accuracy of meters, fears of overcharging, concerns regarding data privacy, the security of smart meters and even health concerns about radio frequency transmitters. Significant and well-organized protests followed, including calls for a government moratorium on PG&E's smart meter deployment until the issues were addressed. To date the utility has spent about $4 per meter on consumer engagement. In more successful projects, however, customer spend can be as low as $1 to $1.50 per meter. Education need not be an expensive exercise, just well-targeted, with early and sensitive implementation and sustained messaging. This example should warn other markets that utilities must be on the front foot with consumers when deploying smart meters to prevent a backlash from destroying potential cash savings. Social networking can be leveraged by utilities to reach out to customers. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, and other virtual communities need to be used by the utilities to offer information on rate increases, outages, events, give-a-ways, etc. to build trust with their customers. Regardless of the size of the utility their customers are heavily involved in the social network world. As the trust is built with the customer the easier it will be for the utility to install the Smart Grid components and request higher rates if need be to afford those components.

Communications The communication pipe line and the security of this pipe line will be crucial in the expansion of the smart meters in the Smart Grid. We are talking about massive amounts of data flowing from the field to the data center in near real-time now and in the future. This is data carrying information about our customers and information which is sensitive in nature as well as vulnerable to cyber attacks. The other item to consider is the interaction of the Smart Meters to the customers' smart phones or tablets through applications. Utilities must improve the two-way communication with the Smart Grid facilities then work on passing this technology on to their customers. Interoperablity has to be required by the utility as different software solutions are brought together to solve the two-way communication issue. Multispeak (multispeak.org) being required is absolutely required to make this interoperablity a reality. We do not have money anymore to spend for software companies to charge the electric utilities for development costs to marry software together initially and every time there is an update to the software or Operating System at the client site. In the rural electrical utilities there is a need to have both RF (Radio Frequency), FTTH (Fiber To The Home), and Wireless. See the case study of Pulaski Electric System as laid out in an article in PowerGrid International Feb 2011: Pulaski Electric System (PES) is a Tennessee-based electric utility that combined the reach of radio frequency (RF) technology and the speed of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) to a customer base that spans both urban and rural service areas. Pulaski implemented a FTTH network in 2007 to provide in town residents and businesses with high-speed Internet access, as well as high-definition video entertainment and high-quality digital phone service. Extending FTTH to remote communities and isolated farms, however, was not practical given the low density of potential subscribers. For this reason Pulaski selected a system that could operate in both wired and wireless worlds. A hybrid approach enables Pulaski to use both its FTTH network and 220 MHz RF for rapid and reliable two-way data transport. The utility gets more value from FTTH by using it for triple-play media and as its AMI backbone. Furthermore, it can quickly and easily bring smart grid functionality to customers on the edges of its service territory via the wireless network, where customer service costs are highest. This minimizes truck rolls, removes high-cost reads and ensures that all customers receive the same high level of service, regardless of location. The wireless RF network provides rural reach and redundancy for the FTTH network, which helps ensure a high system reliability level. Although the system PES chose operates in both Internet protocol and RF environments, at its core it is a single network. This simplifies integration to other critical applications, provides a comprehensive coverage solution and facilitates migration from RF to FTTH as the fiber network is expanded. It also gives PES the freedom to evolve according to its own business goals and operational priorities As a result, PES avoids the costs and complexities that would have resulted from deploying, managing and maintaining two separate AMI networks.

The hybrid network offers the scalability and capacity that will enable PES to implement demand response, energy-efficiency programs and in-home displays to whatever degree is desired without retooling the entire networkor worse still, starting over from scratch. Communication to the smart meters is not only crucial for Outage Management but also for analysis of the current data model of the electrical facilities. Up-to-date readings from the meters allows the utilities to do current day of or the day after load allocations, voltage drops, fault currents, etc. will rely on information coming not from the smart meters but also the SCADA systems, and in the future transformers, reclosers, capacitors, and other elements on the electrical system.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is a powerful tool to have your tool belt. It is the hub of the data wheel. All the spokes of the different data sources reach out from the GIS hub. GIS is essential to the organization, analysis, and distribution of the data whether we are speaking of data in the quantity we are accustomed to now or the amount of data we will be processing in the future.

As you have seen in this book with the 3 issues (Line Loss, Outage Restoration, and Utility Billing), GIS is an absolute must in order to truly reduce the cost and revenues lost across the board in these areas. Without GIS there will be some revenues recaptured but at the end of the day to fully maximize the benefit of the Smart Grid GIS must be implemented and fully functional. By fully functional we mean there being complete interoperablity between all components of the GIS allowing even flow of the data from all the data sources. Without this interoperablity efficiency cannot be accomplished. Providence GIS Solutions is best suited to solve this interoperablity issue which many of the utilities have not been able to solve completely. Providence GIS Solutions is here to serve the electrical utilities as well as water and gas in the implementation and the expansion of their GIS. Each utility is different; each utility has their own

unique challenges. In these unique challenges Providence GIS Solutions thrive in designing and implementing GIS tools to move the utility to a more efficient and stream lined operationally. Contact Providence GIS Solutions at: Phone: 765-734-3001 Email: info@providencegissolutions.com Website: www.providencegissolutions.com Blog: gissmartgrid.com Twitter: @gissmartgrid Thank you for taking the time to read this ebook. As time passes we will be adding and revising as we gather more information and adding more chapters to address the challenges utilities face with lost revenues. Please contact us at Providence GIS Solutions with any comments, feedback, and questions. We would love to hear from you.