Smart Grid Solves Many Problems, Introduces Others

GIS can help you answer tough smart grid questions

Smart grid is about four things:

Along with the good of smart grid come the complex questions. These questions are new to utilities, customers, and regulators. How will we differentiate meters that are accurately reporting power failures from those that are faulty? What will happen when a major storm knocks out the electric system and the monitoring system at the same time? What will utilities do if customers don’t want to adjust their behavior, or they revolt over privacy issues? How will utilities maintain more equipment when a bulk of the workforce is retiring soon? How will utilities deal with increased maintenance and capital costs?
These are tough questions.
The first step in finding answers is to accurately assess the situation. Let’s take a look at current and future infrastructure assets—evaluate their condition and relationship to the community. We can do this by creating a complete model of the electric network in a geographic information system (GIS). With all our data tied to location and visible on one GIS-based map, we then use GIS analysis tools to plan and prioritize. Most utilities today have some form of GIS, but few really use GIS to resolve sticky strategic issues.
It is time for utilities to take stock in GIS, to make sure their data and operating picture is ready to drive the smart grid.

How ready are utilities to deal with the opportunities and challenges of smart grid?

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