Utilities eye data warehousing for smart grids

Smart grids will increasingly have a data warehouse attached to them. A Teradata deal with a California utility likely presages a bevy of similar deals.

Teradata on Thursday said that Southern California Edison is using its data warehouse platform for its smart meter implementation.

The news previews what's likely to be the first of many similar announcements as utilities go public with their smart grid/meter rollouts. Teradata has a bevy of utility customers, but public references have been few and far between.

In a nutshell, smart grids and metering systems result in a flood of data that needs to be analyzed. With proper analytics, utilities can better adjust to demand and give customers more ability to delve into their power consumption. Simply put, smart grids will increasingly have a data warehouse attached to them.

As for Southern California Edison (SCE), the utility has deployed nearly 5 million smart meters. The meters collect energy use data hourly for residential customers and 15 minute increments for small businesses.

This data then goes through Itron's meter data management software en route to an upload into the Teradata Active Data Warehouse. The data warehouse implementation was completed late last year.

The next steps for SCE will be to integrate the data warehouse with billing and weather information. A dashboard will roll out to SCE customers in mid-2011.

You can see where this smart grid is heading. Via various data points, SCE will be better able to monitor variables and energy usage. A weather forecast could better prepare SCE for peak loads and produce alerts so customers can be more aware of their energy consumption.

David Erickson, director of IT for Edison SmartConnect, said the aim is to create a "feedback system" so customers can make better conservation decisions.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com