United Energy is being engaged in a Smart Meter project in Victoria. The task commences by approximating the benefits of the yet to be rolled-out smart metering project. This report sums up expected results of the project. It accomplishes this goal by conducting a cost and benefit analysis that incorporates estimated merits and demerits of rolling-out a smart metering project. The report explicates advantages of seeking stakeholders views at every stage of the implementation. Comments that stakeholders make help the United Energy Company revise the results of cost benefit analysis. This report provides recommendations to United Energy with regard to functionalities of smart meters (Cavoukian & Dix, 2012, pp. 112-114).
Smart meters are electric meters that measure and record consumption of electric energy in extremely short intervals. These meters are also able to affect two-way communication between controllers and the premise. In this regard, they enable energy suppliers to read and ascertain meter features from remote locations. Smart meters give energy suppliers a chance to benefit from a responsible utilization of electric power. This decreases distribution costs as performance of services is enhanced (Doris & Peterson, 2011, pp. 16-18).
United Energy is energy distributor firm that offers solutions to laying infrastructural groundwork, which facilitates effective transmission of power from stations to consumers. The company offers a wide range of solutions relating to the transmission of power to business enterprises and households in Victoria. United Energy is a company that provides pre-sale consultancy, after-sale implementation, maintenance, project management as well as other associated services.
Companys partnership with other global firms enables it to access expertise and resources from the global market. This helps it to provide services that correspond to global standards. It is a company that is focused on infrastructural improvements of power distribution system. This report discusses the role played by the United Energy in the installation of smart meters, which eliminate unnecessary human intervention, especially where redundant duties and computations are involved. Streamlining of these services reduces problems that were formerly experienced with the previous system. The report goes into depth by describing costs as well as associated benefits that come with the implementation of the project.
The Strategy of Smart Meter Project
Smart meters are expected to facilitate variable pricing depending on the time of the day. The goal of this strategy is to encourages people to save electric power by switching off unnecessary appliances. By doing so, the need for excessive power generation is eliminated, thereby saving the government and citizens of Victoria a significant amount of money. The proposed project will facilitate installation of smart meters that can track the electric use in intervals of 15 minutes. This possibility, as it has been mentioned before, will enable consumers to understand electrical usage in a manner that would enable them to control or reduce their energy costs (Doris & Peterson, 2011, pp. 16; Doris & Peterson, 2011, pp. 17).
Additionally, by linking the cost of electricity to grid demand, it is expected that consumers will shift their consumption to off peak times. This will then help avoid black-outs during hot summer months and other highly demanding periods. The government of Victoria has funded the United Energy Company in its endeavors to replace conventional meters with smart meters in an effort to provide greater control over energy use to concerned |ers (Mannino, 2007, pp. 34-40).
This project has several stakeholders, both within and outside the United Energy Company. These stakeholders include the government of Victoria, which is the sponsor, as well as several other entities, which have interest in successful completion of the project. These entities include the project manager, development team members, the user group, companys top management as well as |ers. Other stakeholders include energy producers and retailers (Doris & Peterson, 2011, pp. 16-18).
These people are active participants as they have personal interest in the development of the project. Their interests are affected by the completion of the project in question as well as by its eventual execution. As such, these are the people that tend to influence outcomes and objectives of the project to a significant extent. For the purposes of effective project development the management team has identified stakeholders with an aim to determine their expectations and requirements. This makes the team to be in a position to manage the influence that these stakeholders have on project development and its completion (Mannino, 2007, pp. 34-40).
The Smart Meter Project’s Prerequisite
Before this new project is developed and implemented, determining its stakeholders will be sought as a prerequisite. Relevance and benefits of this project will have to be explained to all stakeholders since they are expected to make informed decisions. These decisions in their turn can propel the implementation of the project. Seeking the consent of stakeholders, especially of the government of Victoria, is of great relevance. This is because these are the parties that facilitate provision of necessary funding for the project (Biberoglu, 2002, pp.23). Before stakeholders can sponsor funds to the project, they are expected to know what the project is all about and the benefits that the project is supposed to bring. Benefits from implementation of this project will be weighed against expected shortcomings. This is the reason why it is imperative for the stakeholders to stay informed about project development (Elmasri & Navathe, 2011, pp. 12-16).
Stakeholders possess the power to make or break the desired change during the development of the project. Such a rationale has been emphasized by the opinions of John Kotter of the Harvard Business School. Kotter is also a professor of corporate culture and leadership. Kotter argues that in order to ensure effective work of the project team, there must be adequate credibility and connections among stakeholders concerned. With regard to the development and implementation of this project, stakeholders are the proprietors and without them the efforts made by the development team would be futile (Momoh, 2012, pp. 50-51).
The most important element in the communication network is the transceiver as it is the device that facilitates automation and reduces the need for human involvement in the day-to-day billing activities. Smart meters are expected to facilitate electronic measurement of consumption with an aim to communicate that information for the purpose of billing consumers for the usage of electric systems. Smart meters are favored over ordinary ones since they facilitate the collection of the billing data in an accurate manner. Studies have indicated that application of this technology in industrial and commercial enterprises ought to have a level of sophistication that allows for granular billing of electric units (Jepson & Sadasiv, 2000, pp. 30).
Throughout the world there has been an increase in implementation of projects that take advantage of the new smart metering technology. In most instances, the intended timelines relating to a highly aggressive rollout correspond to the rate that is dictated as par various targets. Among the main consequences of introducing smart metering and associated technology is that this strategy results in the flow of data of significant magnitudes. This scenario is significantly different from traditional metering and charging schemes (Mordini & Green, 2009, pp. 33-34; Doris & Peterson, 2011, pp. 18).
The necessity to manage this data as well as its subsequent transformation into actionable business intelligence has been challenging without implementation of smart metering. The need to overcome these challenges has prompted the implementation of metering data management systems in an endeavor to provide consumers with a critical solution that would facilitate data storage, validation, aggregation, and processing of sizable volumes of data. Smart metering is expected to facilitate preparation of billing, account settlements, as well as other reconciliation and reporting obligations. Upon the implementation of the project, there will be a number of requirements that will facilitate the timely delivery of big amounts of aggregated data (Myers, 2009, pp. 89).
Precise architecture of MDMS is determined by the software environment that is availed by vendors as well as by characteristics associated with its deployment. However, MDMS is basically consisted of a number of elements. Most of these elements are common in a significant number of such systems. Indeed, they are designed for the purpose of facilitating a number of predefined functionalities (Keil et al, 1998, pp.76-83). These functionalities consist of a centralized repository of data. These repository will hold meter readings which, together with adapters, will facilitate collection systems that enable raw data to be collected from smart meters through the advanced technology of MDMS. Additionally, this will make it possible to use various controls for the purpose of achieving the desired results (Perry, 2012, pp. 12-13).
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Components in the Meter Database Management system facilitate the validation, estimation, editing (what is commonly referred to as the VEE) as well as application of the utility and regulation specific enterprising logic to the readings. It, therefore, acts as an engine for calculating energy usage, its demand, and a variety of other bill determinants. Various adapters facilitate linking of information to downstream systems, particularly systems that consume such processed meter data as billings, settlements, load forecasting, |er web portals as well as asset management (Johnston, 2010, pp. 90-93; Fong, 2011, pp. 20-21).
Legacy systems is a general term that refers to all existing assets that have been positioned in the infrastructure of Information Technology. Mostly, the amount represented by these assets is significant, in terms of both competitive value and associated cost of leveraging business activities. In this regard, integration of new database management systems and associated tools with legacy saves concerned organizations a substantial amount of resources (Wimberly, 2010, pp. 23; Riehle 2007, pp.50).
Individually, neither new nor old technologies can lead to a complete, flexible, and cost-effective solution while delivering the services required for the satisfaction of consumer needs. During the implementation of this project, qualities such as rapid response, reliability, scalability, extensibility, and security are prioritized. It is for this reason that integration of the old and new is favored since such a strategy enables stakeholders to benefit from the strengths of two systems (Johnston, 2010, pp. 90-93).
With the view of factors discussed above, the integration with the legacy systems is supposed to provide significant value and a platform on which new technologies and applications will be based. In that case, after identifying the right interface upon which the proposed system will be based, there is a need to identify the rest of the systems that facilitate the shift and advancement towards the smart metering (Wimberly, 2010, pp. 20).
Emergent technologies will play a significant role in data management, especially with the introduction of smart meters. For instance, cloud computing is expected to be a key to the management of data that is being collected and channeled by smart meters and associated technologies. Cloud computing is emerging as an important and highly promising solution that facilitates managing of the data that is generated by the new metering technology (Zurawski, 2007, pp. 2-8).
Issues associated with real-time computing, large-scale communication, and transfer as well as with storage of data that is brought forth by the smart grid and meter technologies will be addressed by embracing cloud computing. Cloud computing is among the new phenomena that allow information technology to manage processing and storage capacity of smart meter and grid systems. The importance of cloud computing will be evaluated following the deployment of various intelligent electronic devices and smart meters (Robinson, 2007, pp. 50).
Other technologies, such as the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, are also expected to revolutionize trading of energy between power utilities and consumers. The vehicle-to-grid technology, for instance, will allow using the bi-directional dataflow as well as power exchange between the electric grid and the vehicle. With V2G technology consumers will have an opportunity to store their excess electric power in battery. The energy will then be utilized during low supplies so as to avert black-outs (Elmasri & Navathe, 2011, pp. 12-16).
IT governance, compliance, and risk are disciplines that are closely intertwined. They facilitate saving of monetary resources and time for the purpose of achieving efficient operations. As organizations continue to face an increased level of compliance as well as sophisticated issues relating to security, automating proves to be essential. Technology will automate previously manual chores and will also unify the metrics and scoring for the purpose of managing all controls necessary to intertwine roles. This will lead to a comprehensive view, where the overall risk posture can be analyzed (Robinson, 2007, pp. 50).
IT governance deals with organizational processes and structures that enable an organization such as the United Energy to mesh its obligations with its overall strategy. IT governance will be designed for the purpose of incorporating IT strategy and spending with the overall corporate governance. This guarantees that relevant stakeholders have their input considered during the decision-making processes, especially with regard to the IT implementation and spending (Flick & Morehouse, 2011, pp. 85-89).
The use of smart meters is expected to prove advantageous to the state, households, as well as individual consumers. The meters will allow for prompt detection outrages as well as the restoration of service. This would result in a reduction of the number of disruption and blackouts in homes and businesses (Sauer & Horner 2007, pp. 80-95). Once the smart metering project is implemented, it will provide consumers with an increase control over electric expenditure. The smart meters will also introduce a time-based rating system. There will be an enhanced range of pricing programs that will enable |ers to manage their bills as well as their energy consumption (Elmasri & Navathe, 2011, pp. 12-16).