SAP Helps Energy Providers Prepare for Transition to Smart Grids With Intelligent Metering Software

October 14, 2009 by SAP News 0

By Enabling a Clear View of Energy Use, SAP AMI® Integration for Utilities Software Helps Consumers and Utilities Participate in Energy Management and Conservation

MUNICH, GermanySAP AG (NYSE: SAP) today announced that utility companies across the globe are adopting SAP AMI® Integration for Utilities software in 2009. The offering, introduced in May 2009, helps utility companies better integrate their metering processes with their backend systems, providing end-to-end clarity into energy usage patterns and translating into operational cost savings as well as reduced cost of ownership for metering solutions. The software also benefits consumers by providing them more insight into their energy consumption and by enabling them to better manage and conserve energy. Companies that are currently adopting SAP AMI Integration for Utilities span three continents and include Consumers Energy, Middle Tennessee Electric, Reliant Energy, and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, all in the United States, as well as SP AusNet in Australia. The announcement was made at the 7th International SAP Utilities Conference, being held in Munich, Germany, October 14-16.

The push toward smart grids by the utilities industry calls for new technology and IT infrastructure. While the use of smart grids brings cost savings and greater reliability, the deployment of smart meters will impact key utility processes and will require flexible business operations and IT systems that can adapt to changes.

Globally, utility companies are looking to foster greater energy efficiency, reduce costs and increase their service. The modernization of networks through deployment of smart meters comes hand-in-hand with operational challenges. SAP is addressing these challenges by linking metering, backend operations, customer service and billing processes. A specific solution that is fully integrated in SAP® Business Suite software and that can be delivered through SAP’s enhancement package strategy makes this possible.

SAP AMI Integration for Utilities Connects Metering Data With SAP® Business Suite Software
Smart meters provide real-time information about energy consumption and enable communication between a utility company and its customers. A challenge associated with the technology is finding a way to make efficient use of the large amounts of data collected by the meters. SAP AMI Integration for Utilities enables utility companies to integrate the collected data with critical business processes, such as those included in SAP Business Suite, which is made up of enterprise technologies such as the SAP® Customer Relationship Management and Billing for Utilities package, as well as SAP® Customer Financials Management for Telecommunications package and the enterprise resource planning (ERP) application SAP® ERP for financial performance and operations management. As a result, consumers can benefit from quicker responses to outages and real-time information on their energy consumption.

Middle Tennessee Electric Values SAP Ecosystem and Broad Solution Portfolio
U.S.-based SAP ERP customer Middle Tennessee Electric prides itself on being a forward-looking cooperative that provides self-services to its members. It plans to implement SAP AMI Integration for Utilities in 2010. John Florida, vice president of information technology for Middle Tennessee Electric, notes that a broad solution portfolio and a strong network of ecosystem partners were two key reasons for selecting SAP.

“We chose SAP primarily based on the efficiency gains from a seamless AMI intra-application integration with SAP Customer Relationship Management and Billing for Utilities and SAP Enterprise Asset Management for Utilities, as well as SAP’s influential relationship with metering and data management vendors,” said Florida. “Near-future rate changes that included interval readings further contributed to the urgency of finding a solution that could help us use data from our customers’ smart meters.”

Consumers Energy, SAP Lighthouse Council Member, Collaborates With SAP
Consumers Energy, one of the largest combination utilities in the U.S., provides electric and natural gas service to nearly 6.5 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents. The company was one of the first to purchase SAP AMI Integration for Utilities. It is also one of the original nine members of the SAP Lighthouse Council, a group formed in 2007 by SAP and leading utility companies in order to respond to new trends quickly and to help in the development of an efficient smart meter integration approach.

“The success of the SAP Lighthouse Council initiative is reflected in the growing global demand for the SAP AMI Integration for Utilities solution. This new software system offers Consumers Energy a new opportunity to improve and expand customer service,” said John Russell, Consumers Energy’s president and chief operating officer. “We appreciate SAP’s dedication to collaborating with the utility industry in order to provide solutions that address specific industry issues and will help us meet our commitment to customer service.”

AMI Offering Will Help Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative Transition to a Smart Grid Network

Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative in Bastrop, Texas, purchased SAP AMI Integration for Utilities to help with the deployment of a modernized infrastructure for its 80,000 meters.

“The AMI solution from SAP is critical to helping us prepare for the transition to a more energy-efficient grid,” said Mark Rose, CEO, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. “We plan to use the solution to integrate our smart meters with SAP ERP, as well as our customer relationship management and billing system, which we originally implemented in 2005. We view this as a great investment that will modernize the network, benefitting our customers, the economy and the environment.”

Reliant Energy to Use AMI Offering for Competitive Edge
Reliant Energy provides electricity and energy services to more than 1.6 million retail customers—including homes, small and large businesses, manufacturing facilities, government entities and institutions across Texas. As part of NRG Energy, Reliant Energy is backed by one of the nation’s largest power producers. NRG owns and operates more than 24,000 megawatts of generation capacity – enough to supply more than 20 million homes.

“Reliant Energy is committed to giving consumers the tools they need to better manage their energy usage and we are piloting a number of different services to allow customers to benefit from the information provided by smart meters,” said Ken Redding, vice president of Information Technology for Reliant. “Significant changes in business processes and systems are needed to support this new technology. SAP is helping us link metering data, back-office systems, customer service and billing processes. It enables us to give our customers greater insight into their energy consumption and allows them to play a more proactive role in managing their usage.”

SAP International Utilities Conference Offers Education, Networking
“The utilities sector is one of the fastest changing in the world and companies that want to stay competitive cannot ignore the trend towards intelligent metering,” said Klaus Heimann, head of Service Industries, SAP. “SAP is helping address the challenges by engaging in an ongoing dialogue with companies about their needs and by providing the best solutions for smart meter integration on the market.”

Issues related to smart grids, smart metering and its infrastructure will be discussed at the 7th International SAP Utilities Conference 2009 being held in Munich, Germany, from October 14 to 16. The conference will also offer an opportunity to network and discuss the latest industry trends and innovations with the entire utilities ecosystem.

About SAP
SAP is the world’s leading provider of business software(*), offering applications and services that enable companies of all sizes and in more than 25 industries to become best-run businesses. With more than 89,000 customers in over 120 countries, the company is listed on several exchanges, including the Frankfurt stock exchange and NYSE, under the symbol “SAP.” For more information, visit www.sap.com.

(*) SAP defines business software as comprising enterprise resource planning and related applications.

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