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Smart Meter Data Presents New Opportunities for Utility Insight into Real-Time Program Performance

Posted By Brett Feldman, Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A new report from Navigant Researchexamines whether North American utilities can leverage data from advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), or smart meters, to change the way energy efficiency program measurement and verification (M&V) and impact evaluation are conducted.

Many utilities remain unsure about the possibilities of analytic techniques and data granularity, and this uncertainty is compounded by the fact that new firms seem to emerge each year, claiming to provide increasingly deep insights into customers’ energy reduction potential by using little more than consumption data from the utility. However, if broadly available across all customer sectors, AMI data has the potential to enhance the traditional M&V model with respect to quantifying costs and benefits. According to a new report, AMI data presents new opportunities for utilities to gain insights into their programs’ performance in real-time, to make mid-course corrections, and to lower M&V costs by decreasing the frequency of in-depth evaluations.

“Using AMI data to estimate program impacts has the potential to lower evaluation costs by eliminating or reducing the need for field or survey-based verification,” says Brett Feldman, principal research analyst at Navigant Research. “In addition, results can be delivered more quickly than those found through traditional evaluation, as analysis can be performed as soon as data becomes available.”

This data also presents opportunities for existing M&V vendors and new players to provide value-added services to their utility clients. However, while AMI has the potential to change M&V as it is currently known, the transformation is expected to be more of an evolutionary change than a revolution, according to the report.

The report,Utility Strategies for Smart Meter Innovation: Energy Efficiency Measurement and Verification, examines what is realistic in regards to advanced M&V of energy efficiency program impacts using AMI data in the North American utility industry. The study also provides an analysis of the effects that advanced M&V of energy efficiency programs could have on the broader industry and what drivers could change the current and forecast evaluation paradigms. The discussion in this report is primarily applicable to AMI data used for M&V in North American energy efficiency program evaluation, but may apply more to other regions in the future as AMI proliferates. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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