GE’s Grid IQ Solutions as a Service (SaaS) helps utilities deliver grid modernization technologies, while enabling consumers to use energy more efficiently

Grid modernization projects typically come with a sizable capital-investment requirement and a certain amount of risk when making a long-term technology decision. In addition, there are deployment risks with integrating the disparate software applications associated with delivering the desired level of grid automation. Many small- and mid-market utilities that deliver electric utility services or additional water and gas utility services can benefit from GE’s SaaS offering.

GE’s Grid IQ SaaS minimizes upfront capital expense, and it manages the risk quotient by transferring the responsibility for life-cycle management of any long-term technology decisions, while minimizing integration risks through the deployment of pre-integrated systems. Grid IQ™ SaaS solutions are specifically designed to enable utilities to accelerate the deployment of grid automation technology immediately, while harnessing the benefits of advanced capabilities.

SaaS: What It Is

The SaaS technology combines the benefits of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Outage Management Systems (OMS), Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Demand Optimization Systems (DOS) and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) into simple, hosted, subscription-based packages.

Integrated services provide utilities grid modernization capabilities by better managing electricity loads and empowering consumers to make cost-effective and energy-efficient choices. Consumers benefit by engaging through a Web portal, allowing them to make smarter decisions and better manage their electricity, water and gas use. This offering creates unique bottom-line benefits to both end-users and utility providers. For example, grid modernization projects are capital intensive. GE’s SaaS offering allows the utility to modernize their operations on an OPEX basis versus a CAPEX basis. This change can minimize the utilities’ initial project expenses. Grid IQ SaaS replaces IT infrastructure requirements with cloud-based computing and helps utilities manage risks associated with long-term technology investment decisions. SaaS transfers the investment need from the utility to GE by deploying a standard system.

Scalable and Always Updatable

Using near real-time information to optimize power consumption, utilities can improve service quality and end-user satisfaction while simplifying back-room IT and operations processes. With GE, utility providers can select from core packages to provide metering, AMI, OMS, consumer portal and GIS capability with extensive monitoring options. Gas, water and electric providers also can scale up to an advanced package, which provides advanced asset management and mobile mapping application capabilities.

Since every utility is different, GE has developed a “Customer Value Analysis Tool” to assist in quantifying the projected cost savings and benefits for utilities. The tool also addresses the benefits of implementing the solution and return on investment. By ensuring a common understanding between the utility provider and the GE solutions team, utilities gain knowledge and confidence before a purchase is made.

Applying a suite of GE Grid IQ SaaS options expands the capabilities of the offering. GE’s Grid IQ Connect is available with the SaaS package and offers utilities enhanced effectiveness of the AMI systems along with implementation, hosted and managed services. Grid IQ Restore, a higher level application, takes functionality one step further, making OMS much more efficient. Once the base level of the infrastructure has been installed, Grid IQ Respond, a demand-response application, makes it seamless for the utility to continually improve efficiency over time.

Expanding Success

Successful SaaS applications deployed by GE can be cited with utilities in three key regions of Georgia and Florida. In all three cases, each utility expanded its capabilities – offering new services and benefits for the consumer. Among these is the capability to directly manage utility consumption and to actually pay for utility services on the customers’ personal schedules. Customers can manage these activities from any PC or smart phone through the consumer portal application.

Grid modernization programs with current utilities customers and those at other locations across the United States serve as great examples of how GE’s Grid IQ SaaS delivers advanced capabilities to utility providers – without the high cost of ownership. By implementing GE’s Grid IQ services today, utilities can better manage assets and benefit their consumers with a more productive and efficient grid.

Todd Jackson is SaaS Product Line Leader for GE Digital Energy. For more information on GE’s Grid IQ SaaS offering and how it is helping utilities to develop a more modern grid, please click here.