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Utility Companies See Business Benefits With Advanced Metering Infrastructure Solution From SAP
The implementation of the SAP AMI Integration for Utilities software is planned to allow utility companies to perform on-demand reads of a customer's meter through a call center, manage remote disconnects and reconnects to support the dunning process and outage reporting, and implement time-of-use rates. Additionally, the software shall provide integration of processes between the meter and the back-end systems in the intent to reduce a company's total cost of ownership for AMI infrastructure.
In August 2007, SAP and seven participating utility companies formed the SAP AMI Lighthouse Council to address AMI from the back office to the meter, with the objective of integrating the SAP(R) for Utilities solution portfolio to market-leading AMI systems (see April 21, 2008 press release, titled "SAP Utilities Customers Lead the Charge Toward Integrated AMI"). During the last 15 months, the SAP AMI Lighthouse Council has been shaping the integration of SAP solutions with AMI solutions for business processes, including customer relationship and billing and enterprise asset management. The council also includes several strategic vendors including eMeter, Itron and OSIsoft. These vendors offer meter data unification and synchronization solutions that act as a powerful hub for meter and event data between AMI systems and the downstream SAP solutions. With AMI technologies and their integration with SAP, utility companies can improve energy efficiency and increase service reliability, optimize asset utilization and improve service to their customers.
"Beyond the IT integration issues, there is an operational technology aspect of AMI which is being driven by energy efficiency initiatives in North American and Asia Pacific-Japan markets and market restructuring initiatives in the European Union," said Zarko Sumic, vice president and distinguished analyst, Gartner. "AMI also serves a role as a bridge to integrate consumers in energy markets and as an enabler for inclusion of consumer technology such as appliances into the overall utility technology space."
"AMI is part of a trend that will change the conventional business model of a utility company and mark a giant step forward for the utilities industry," said Jeroen Scheer, member of the SAP Advisory Customer Council for Utilities (ACCU) and manager of IT Strategy & Architecture for Nuon, a Dutch energy company serving more than 3 million private and business customers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. "This is a trend that has only just begun, and by taking the lead, SAP has once again demonstrated its commitment to a high level of innovation."
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