Though, most of the attention of Smart Grid is focused on improving infrastructure for power generation, distribution, transmission and retailing networks, IT modernization can hold the key to realize business benefits.
In India, APDRP programme is supporting Smart Grid equivalent initiaitves in power industry. APDRP initiative has two parts. First part is related to establishment of IT applications for energy accounting, auditing, and consumer service centers. Second part is supposed to include regular distribution strengthening.
Most of the APDRP related projects had centrlization of ERP applications and enhancement of CRM applications as major requirements. These projects are supposed to help in improving customer service by supporting billing-to-collection processes, and ensure better fiscal discipline.
Comparatively, many utilities in developed countries are seen to have gone for rolling out Smart meter infrastructure first. Later, this is supported by meter data management systems, and integration with other back-end systems. Therefore, they will need to wait a little longer, before demonstrable efficiency improvement is shown to the investors.
As the business case for leveraging Smart meter data is evolving, there are many thoughts about the architecture of communications network. Also, success of data usage for improving energy consumption efficiency is in early stages. Many of these scepticism and bottlenecks have led to approach Smart meter roll-out as a pilot implementation, followed by complete roll-out.
From return-on-investment perspective, it is advisable that IT modernization should precede modernization of power infrastructure to leverage the benefits and show demonstrable improvement in efficiency early.