The five biggest challenges in obtaining consumption data from utility companies

The five biggest challenges in obtaining consumption data from utility companies

The rollout of remote reading by utility companies is increasingly allowing municipalities to obtain consumption data directly from utilities. But obtaining data is not without challenges. We have listed the five biggest challenges you, as a municipality, need to be aware of when obtaining data from utility companies.

 

Data integration is not always possible

The primary driver for utility companies to collect metering data is to ease settlement with consumers. Therefore, their systems are not necessarily set up to provide data to other professional systems.

Establishing a connection between the utility company's meter data collection system and your own systems therefore requires technical skills in both data integration and data security. In addition, in many cases your own systems also require customization.

The systems do not speak the same language

When you receive data from the utility companies, they must be decoded and "unpacked" so that they are understandable and adapted to your own system. The challenge is that your system does not necessarily speak the same language.

It places great demands on you in the field of data, as you must be able to set the right requirements in terms of resolution, delivery frequency and formats in order to make a successful integration. It complicates and, at worst, prevents integration between the systems.

Access to data requires resources

Your buildings are most often scattered over a larger geographical area and thus served by several utility companies within the various types of utilities. Therefore, it is a very time-consuming process to obtain data due to the sheer number of utility companies you must negotiate with. Each of which have different approaches and methods for handling meters, data retrieval and delivery.

It is further complicated by the fact that the various utility companies often use different IT systems, which makes the negotiation and integration between the different systems even more difficult.

Avoid spending resources on data collection. Learn more on how this works. 

Delays, lack of speed and periodization reduce the value of data

The utility companies offer data in various resolutions and intervals from hourly to monthly readings or in even longer intervals. The resolution of data is of great importance for the use of data, as a low resolution and/or long intervals may hamper the ability to evaluate and use data for monitoring and optimizations.

Particularly in the water supply, low resolution and long intervals between readings can have major consequences as a leak can cause widespread destruction if not detected in time. 

Read: Horsens Municipality spends time using data rather than collecting it.

No guarantee of data monitoring

The utility companies do not necessarily monitor data. Therefore, it requires that you continuously validate the received data to ensure the quality. It can be a time-consuming process as utilities need to be involved in data outages as they are the ones that collect and deliver data.

Data loss can be caused by many things and it can be difficult to ensure the stability of data as both employees and IT systems need to be prepared for it. In addition, collecting and delivering data to third parties is not the primary task of the utility companies. Therefore, there may be an increased risk that data outages will not be prioritized and rectified.

Do you need to retrieve data from utility companies? Let CITYFACTS make it easy and simple for you.

Further information

Peter Bamberg Jensen
Senior Account Manager

T: +45 4270 0355

M: peje@insero.com

If you would like to hear more about our data collection, you are welcome to contact our Senior Account Manager, Peter.