GTM Research recently published the Utility Smart Grid Outlook in North America 2013 report, which provides 40 in-depth profiles of leading North American utilities, including detailed descriptions of the smart grid deployments of today, as well as plans for the future.

The report provides a list of common trends and pain points at these and other utilities that are driving purchasing decisions. In addition, it rates the 40 utilities on overall maturity of smart grid efforts, as well as maturity within five categories: smart grid portfolio, communication networks, data management and analytics, enterprise management and integration, and consumer engagement. The report identifies the top ten utilities by maturity, as well as providing a detailed and comprehensive maturity framework that can be used to measure the maturity of any utility’s smart grid project against those included within this sample.

Below is an excerpt from Oklahoma Gas & Electric’s profile in this year's edition of the report. OG&E Energy is actively deploying a number of smart grid technologies and was named one of the Top 10 Utilities by Maturity in this year's report.

To learn more about this report and purchase a copy, please visit:


FIGURE: Smart Grid Maturity Ranking at OG&E

Source: Utility Smart Grid Outlook in North America 2013

Company Background

  • Regulated investor-owned utility
  • 766,886 retail customers, plus a number of wholesale customers
  • 30,000-square-mile service territory in Oklahoma and western Arkansas
  • 6,800 megawatts of capacity, including natural gas, low-sulfur Wyoming coal and wind
  • Received a DOE grant of $130 million ($366 million total project cost) for smart meters

Smart Grid Initiatives

A total of 670,000 of 775,000 smart meters in Oklahoma installed and operating. Full deployment planned by 2014.

  • Planning dynamic pricing by 2014
  • 23,000 of 58,000 meters deployed in Arkansas.
  • Automated billing
  • Remote disconnect/connect
  • Outage notification
  • Fraud and theft detection
  • Customer web portal

OG&E has 6,200 residential and small commercial customers in a DOE pilot for variable peak pricing, TOU, CPP using programmable communicating thermostat and in-home displays. It is also conducting several pilots testing other visual displays; it has completed distribution of in-home devices to almost 6,000 customers.

Communication Networks

  • GE meters with Silver Spring Networks module
  • Silver Spring Networks RF mesh network to access points for AMI
  • Alcatel-Lucent built a multi-tiered IP/MPLS communications WAN that includes Motorola’s 3.65 GHz WiMAX point-to-multipoint backhaul layer, as well as a 6 GHz point-to- point microwave backbone system
  • Cellular supplements AMI backhaul where WiMAX coverage is limited
  • Also using fiber in backbone
  • WiMAX and microwave network provide substation and DA connectivity
  • ZigBee-controlled thermostats
  • Corix Utilities is installing meters; Structure Group helped deploy smart grid technology
  • Networks have sufficient bandwidth; the utility has experienced no problems handling the amount of data generated
  • The utility encountered extreme weather and geographic difficulties during deployment; it advises other utilities to schedule flexibility in deployment schedule to account for these types of situations.

Smart Grid Management

  • Silver Spring Networks UIQ serves as AMI network management system to manage the communications network, schedule and collect meter reads, collect end point alarms and events, and connect to home area network devices.
  • SSN Smart Energy Platform enables demand response capabilities, including back-end demand management software, the secure energy management website, and in-home devices.
  • There are two full-time operators and a full-time analyst that manage UIQ alerts and alarms.
  • Built automated dispatching system
  • The utility achieved savings due to the elimination of 120 full-time meter readers (cost of approximately $8 million annually) and a reduction in service calls by field representatives (it currently handles 500,000 service calls per year).

Data Management and Analytics

Information architecture includes a data warehouse as Layer 1, improved and expanded data integration and data management as Layer 2, and new analytics and presentation capabilities as Layer 3.

  • The utility is preparing to receive data from 52 million meter reads per day and 2 million event messages per day in its new integrated operations center, which combines data from AMI, data networks, meter alarms and outage management systems.
  • MDMS is going to be the primary data store. The utility plans to use MDMS for revenue protection, load research and forecasting, distribution engineering, system operations.
  • Teradata’s enterprise reporting and analytics solution will provide the backbone for smart meter data, and will help the utility gain a clearer understanding of customer behaviors and preferences from an enterprise perspective.
  • The utility is planning for the data integration and management layer to provide real-time messaging and near-real-time views of data for employees.
  • Analytics are in an early stage of development, but plans include geospatial and visual analytics for centralized view of multiple systems.
  • Consumer analytics and customer segmentation will be used to gain visibility into individual customers’ responses to price signals, identify the best customers to target with specific marketing campaigns, and to develop and offer the most optimal rate structures.
  • The utility is currently detecting theft and fraud. Experiencing a new challenge to detect it when it bypasses the main transformer, as there are no longer meter readers to identify it.

Customer Engagement

  • Provided information to call centers to address customer concerns during deployment
  • Met with city and community leaders in advance of deployment to explain benefits
  • Uses a web-based customer portal to provide historical usage information, tools to analyze consumption and to evaluate rate programs. The web portal provides hourly usage information, customizable text alerts, and comparisons to neighbors or similar buildings.
  • Remote disconnect/connect
  • Online outage reporting and maps