The energy business is highly dependent on the accuracy of the data that is transferred across the value chain. The consumption and demand statistics drive the whole process from generation to payment. All the parties involved in the value chain need timely and accurate data to plan, produce, transmit the electricity, collect payments and forecast the demand. Additionally, accuracy plays a prominent role while balancing the payments and reconciling the accounts, where even a minute level of inaccuracy might result in heavy losses. To understand the impact and importance of data accuracy, let us first decode each process involved in the electricity value chain with the help of the below infographic.
Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) manages the electricity and gas systems and markets across Australia, helping to ensure Australians have access to affordable, secure, and reliable energy. AEMO’s work includes managing operating the systems that allow energy to be generated, transmitted, and distributed, and the financial markets that allow energy to be sold and bought. As depicted in the infographic, AEMO receives the consumption data from the retailers and helps generators to plan and provide uninterrupted, highly secure, and highly cost-optimized electricity.
Intermittent and Continuous energy generators take the incoming commercial and domestic electricity demand information from AEMO and produce the desired amount of electricity without overloading the grid or underserving the demand. Each generator has its own cost and based on operation and infrastructure costs, and plant mechanics the cost of electricity also varies.
The produced electricity then passes through transmitters and distributors which route the electricity to the retailers while maintaining their margins. The retailers partner with energy metering service providers which provide a continuous stream of consumption statistics. The consumers pay to the retailers based on the units of power consumed and the retailers in turn pay and send the consumption statistics to AEMO, thus completing the entire cycle.
Hence, to produce the right amount of electricity at the right time and prevent losses due to overproduction or underproduction, data accuracy is important. Any inaccuracy in data will have a ripple effect and amplifies as it reaches from the consumer to the generator or vice-versa. Also, data inaccuracy creates mistrust and jeopardizes the reputation of generators and retailers alike. Since electricity is the lifeline to key sectors of the economy like defence and healthcare, maintaining a high level of security and data accuracy holds a key to provide an uninterrupted and quality service.
In recent times, to improve the accuracy and to bridge the gap between the demand predicted and the actual energy being produced, electricity generators are deploying special meter data management systems to estimate and forecast demand on their own. Also, they are trying to replace their legacy systems with newer systems to have better control over the entire process.
Though these are welcome changes, the adoption is not progressing in tandem with the changes in the Australian energy market. With AEMO planning to increase the frequency at which it receives the consumption statistics and to make the accuracy norms much more stringent, all the key stakeholders involved in the electricity value chain have to focus on upgrading their systems which provide access to high-quality accurate data.
How to start and not stop at the end of this article piece?
I would recommend starting simply by just taking this approach, which has negligible risk, simple and yet an amazingly effective positive step towards our goal of a proactive strategy
A) Take pen -paper or manual method (start now)
Start measuring the data flow accuracy using your existing technology resources for a known and low-risk segment of customers within your Utility value chain business to find out the accuracy of the data. Indeed, this causes efforts, but this will pave the way for better clarity around unknown risks.
B) Take help from technology
Work towards making it unattended, assisted by using Super-fast digital solution such that it works autonomously without losing its efficacy by engaging a solid, affordable Business and Technology solution partner.
If you are a CEO/COO/CIO/Managing Director/General Manager who is spending more time in reactive/preventive mode than future-facing, please reach out for an exploratory conversation.
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Pradeep Mishra (Director and Co-founder)
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