High-resolution data enables utilities to build a stronger connection with their customers on both sides of the meter, creating opportunities to boost customer satisfaction, take control of energy demand and improve grid reliability.
Traditional energy technology vendors enhance utilities’ grid awareness and management or improve customer experience. While many solutions providers attempt to bridge the gap between utility and end customer, the existing hardware, software, and services remain fragmented as utilities struggle to deal with complex integrations. With Copper Labs’ near-real-time data, utilities can bridge the gap between operations and customer engagement silos.
Copper Labs’ patented technology solutions provide utilities with timely grid-edge insights for both AMR and AMI customers. Using near-real-time data, utilities are able to provide intelligent insight to their customers helping them maintain lower bills while ensuring grid reliability.
The key features of Copper Labs’ solution are:
- Near-real-time meter and voltage data delivered at sub-minute intervals to utilities and their customers.
- Demand-side management solutions for electric and gas utilities designed to engage customers while aligning the balance of energy supply and demand with locational targeting for the distribution grid.
- Wireless solutions access revenue-grade meter data using existing broadband networks for low cost and extensive accessibility without the need for an electrician.
These solutions’ applications vary depending on use by a utility or end customer. Despite the variance in user experience as Figure 1 notes, connecting utilities and their customers empowers utilities to align objectives on both sides of the meter, reducing the cost to serve energy, and boosting customer satisfaction beyond the traditional incentives provided to customers through demand side management programs.
The market dynamics driving utilities include the rapid pace of technological change, new utility business models, and an evolving regulatory landscape. These factors are growing the market in the following ways:
- Technological: Record numbers of DER are connecting to the grid and have differing levels of positive and negative effects on system stability. In DER saturated areas, utilities struggle with several issues related to reverse power flows, voltage balancing, DER intermittency, switching flexibility, and phantom loads. Copper Labs’ solution improves location-based data collection related to grid-edge energy demand, voltage, and power quality to help utilities make real-time decisions.
- Economic: Because of the increased deployment of DER and other cost pressures on gas and electric utilities, the times in which consumers use energy is increasingly important. Time-varying rates and peak rewards programs create a monetary incentive for continuous load shifting and peak shaving in response to momentary price signals. Real-time usage data provides transparency for utilities and consumers, helping both parties make decisions to reduce the cost and risks from large price swings. Instantaneous data also activates strategic use of residential generation, storage, and controllable load, optimizing in real-time based on need as reflected in wholesale prices.
- Regulatory: Utilities face increased risks from stranded assets and extreme weather events. Regulators are asking utilities to consider non-wires alternatives (NWA) or non-pipes solutions over new distribution and network infrastructure – all with an increased focus on driving customer value as we transition into the clean energy future. Copper Labs’ solution provides critical neighborhood-level insights and geographically targeted demand management to support these changing regulatory demands. While many AMI meters offer interval data to help inform these initiatives, the availability of that data across the utility enterprise is extremely limited. Automated meter reading (AMR) only provides the data to utilities and customers with data when it’s read once per month. Utilizing Copper Lab’s patented technologies, even those utilities seeking approval to upgrade their existing infrastructure have a clear path to provide real-time data solutions across the enterprise and to your customers.
Imagining the value that near-real-time information can deliver? Let’s talk about a Copper Labs solution for your utility business. Contact us.