To learn more about how Bidgely can help utilities demonstrate the full value of their AMI investments, download the latest AMI Insights Report.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure — including the smart meters, communication networks, and data management systems — is a key element of grid modernization that, according to the Edison Foundation’s most recent Electric Company Smart Meter Deployments: Foundation for a Smart Grid report, has grown to serve an estimated 80 percent of U.S. households as of the end of 2020. 

Figure 1 Source: Edison Foundation

AMI Potential Still Underexploited

This growing nationwide deployment has been made possible by billions of utility investment dollars. However, despite the significant resources allocated to AMI technology, ACEEE’s 2020 Leveraging Advanced Metering Infrastructure To Save Energy report asserts that most utilities have so far vastly underused AMI’s potential. Most utilities have focused only on AMI’s operational benefits — such as reduced costs for metering and billing and faster responses to outages — while the value of AMI for customer energy efficiency programs, lower bills, support dynamic rates and realize other forms of market enablement has been underexploited.

ACEEE says that “this creates two forms of potential risk for utilities. First, utilities with AMI that are held accountable for customer benefits and do not deliver may risk regulators’ denying cost recovery for existing investments. Second, for those utilities without AMI, or for those that seek to invest further in grid modernization, the industry’s poor performance in delivering customer benefits (or articulating how they will do so) may undermine these utilities’ ability to gain approval for these large future infrastructure investments.”

To change this paradigm, utilities and program administrators would be wise to break down traditional operational silos to leverage AMI to benefit both customers and system operations to the fullest potential. 

Diverse AMI Use Cases

The ACEEE report identified seven essential use cases for AMI data in support of customer energy savings — especially through energy efficiency and demand response:

  • Feedback
  • Pricing
  • Targeting for program design, marketing, and technical assistance
  • Grid-interactive efficient buildings
  • Procurement and P4P
  • M&V 2.0
  • Conservation voltage reduction

Though ACEEE and others advance the narrative that utilities have been slow to realize AMI potential, Bidgely’s utility partners are challenging the stereotype with tangible, data-driven use cases for utility-wide program innovation that deliver full-scope customer and operational benefits. These utility leaders are backing up the value of their AMI investments by turning theory into practice with programs that rival the customer experience standards established by big tech in a completely different regulatory environment. 

Using UtilityAI as the AMI-data-analytics foundation, our partners are making the most of their AMI investment by leveraging it to plan programs and rates; target & recruit customer participants; communicate with customers to foster meaningful engagement; refine program delivery; and measure impacts to support a continuous AMI-data-driven optimization loop. This approach demonstrates advantages across operational areas, including in connection with Time of Use rates, EV adoption, PV deployment, Demand Side Management, Non-Wires Solutions and more.

Demonstrating AMI ROI

As one example of many, looking more closely at an AMI-informed approach to Non-Wires Solutions reveals the potential of AMI data to deliver the full spectrum of operational-to-customer benefits that ACEEE highlighted as critically important to securing and maintaining regulatory approvals. In the NWS context, AMI data allows utilities to:

  1. Identify Grid Sectors in Need of a Non-Wires Solution. Utilities are regularly engaged in assessing grid function to determine which sectors are coming under strain, and can evaluate a non-wires solution to shed load.
  1. Assess Appliance Ownership by Region. With grid requirements identified, utilities are able to leverage AI-powered disaggregation to quantify appliance ownership across a specific geographic area. This insight reveals which programs have the greatest energy saving potential and how such programs can be optimally targeted.

  2. Develop A Load Shifting Program. Using AI to analyze aggregate customer behavior over a geographic area, utilities are able to fine tune load shifting programs to optimize outcomes. For example, by examining lower 10%, upper 90% and average EV charging per hour in a given region, a utility can determine how much EV charging is occurring during peak times and whether an EV charging load shifting program is a wise investment.

  3. Target Precisely the Right Customers. With AI-informed disaggregation, utilities can pinpoint what time each customer is powering an appliance or activity. Knowing when a customer runs a pool pump, for example, and for how long, reveals a highly targeted list of customers who run their pumps during peak times and who are therefore ideally suited for load shifting programs. Customers who demonstrate greater than 40% of pool pump consumption during peak times would be the ideal customers to target with pool pump load shifting programs.

  4. Collect Customer Feedback and Reinforce Load Shifting Via Ongoing Two-Way Communication. Disaggregation allows for the delivery of a 100 percent itemized bill, allowing customers to understand how much energy is used by each of their appliances and activities and how to use that knowledge to reduce energy consumption and costs. They can also see the impact of load shifting behaviors to provide consistent reinforcement of good behaviors and course correction when additional behavioral changes are required. 

Download the Powered Energy Disaggregation to Streamline Non-Wires Solutions infographic.

According to the ACEEE, energy usage-monitoring or usage reduction rewards can reduce customer bills up to 8%, moving customers to new rates can reduce usage up to 7%, and improved system efficiencies can reduce overall usage up to 4%. These meaningful gains are a win-win for utilities and consumers alike.

How Bidgely Can Help

UtilityAI enables utilities to realize full AMI ROI by identifying 90% of the possible savings opportunities from AMI data and recommending personalized, customer-specific actions to reduce bills while also identifying which customers are likely to adopt new technologies like EVs or solar energy to allow utilities to proactively prepare distribution systems.

Bidgely partner NV Energy is recognized by ACEEE as one of the few major IOUs to have unlocked most of AMI data’s potential. NV Energy Demand Side Management Program Manager, Adam Grant says Bidgely’s Analytics Workbench and UtilityAI platform have allowed the utility “to identify and engage with high-end customers that want to lower their bills” through the utility’s peak demand management programs. Grant emphasized that “our regulators think progressively and have encouraged us to explore new technologies and new AMI data-driven opportunities.” 

To learn more about how Bidgely can help utilities demonstrate the full value of their AMI investments, download the latest AMI Insights Report.


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