Smart Grid Billing Focus Will Shift in 2012 to Better Use of Meter Data for New Services

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A new report from Innovation Observatory says billing systems and customer information systems (CIS) used by electricity utilities and retailers will begin to change during 2012 to enable better use to be made of data collected from the smart meters now being deployed in large numbers around the world.

Smart grid billing vendors

Vendor type positioning

This year we expect to see the emphasis change towards making use of the large volume of smart meter data

Billing systems and customer information systems (CIS) used by electricity utilities and retailers will begin to change during 2012 to enable better use to be made of data collected from the smart meters now being deployed in large numbers around the world according to a new report from Innovation Observatory. The analyst company estimates the market for new installations of smart grid billing systems will be worth USD440 million in 2012, growing to USD1.2 billion in 2016.

In a new report – “Smart Grid Billing Outlook 2012-2016” – author Danny Dicks says, “While smart meter deployments have been growing steadily over the last 3-4 years, utilities' IT system priorities have been focused on preparing for how to deal with large volumes of smart meter data. This year we expect to see the emphasis change towards making use of that data – to develop innovative tariffs and new services, including for charging of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. All this will require changes to traditional billing systems and CISs.”

The report also highlights the potential for vendors of billing systems developed initially for telecoms services to win business in the power sector, both from established utilities and new entrant electricity retailers. Examples of such contracts include those won by vendors Convergys (with E.ON), LogNet Systems (with First Utility) and MetraTech (with OnStream).

Billing challenges posed by the smart grid can be addressed in different ways. Utilities and electricity retailers may go for a “big bang” change or choose to deploy an adjunct system for either meter data management (MDM) or billing. The level and nature of retail competition and the extent of legacy IT infrastructure will influence the decision that an individual provider will make.

Innovation Observatory’s report assesses both the demand for smart grid billing systems/ CISs, and the supply-side of the market. It identifies and characterises four types of supplier and profiles ten example vendors. It additionally provides five-year market forecasts for capex and maintenance spend on billing systems and other IT infrastructure globally, and the regional split of this spend in 2012 and 2016.

More information can be found at http://innovationobservatory.com/?q=/reports/latesttitles
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