Sandra Gittlen

Weathering the Storm

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Ariella
User Rank
Blogger
Re: IT analytics
Ariella   11/9/2012 10:08:00 AM
NO RATINGS
@Beth The decision was probably along the lines of, let's just keep what we have rather than spend our profits on upgrading equipment. Rates go up every summer, not because the utility is spending more but because demand increases with the use of air conditioning. They drop in winter when the price of gas goes up. The thing is that when so many people are counting on these things, you'd better not rely on just shuffling through in a best case scenario but on holding up in a worst-case scenario. 

ConEd, which had far better response than LIPA and much more detailed maps of outages, still came under fire in this blog: http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/11/07/when-customers-are-angry-how-do-companies-justify-shareholder-payouts/

BethSchultz
User Rank
Blogger
Re: IT analytics
BethSchultz   11/9/2012 9:52:13 AM
NO RATINGS
Ariella, I think Cordaro captured the issue with the quote on providing cheap electric power to customers. I'd love to see the ROI work the utility has done on infrastructure upgrades, assuming it's done those exercises in determining not to upgrade. Can it deliver service to customers more cheaply on old infrastructure than it can with upgraded infrastructure and automated systems? How did storm damage play into those assessments? Was the risk of not being prepared outweighed by the low cost of the current infrastructure? (Because, let's not forget, when rates increase so do customer complaints.) I'm certainly not justifying the utlity's shoddy infrastructure -- just wondering how it was making its decisions!

 

Ariella
User Rank
Blogger
Re: IT analytics
Ariella   11/9/2012 9:05:51 AM
NO RATINGS
@Sandy related to this is the question of the slow response on the part of the utlilities. LIPA has drawn particular attention to itself in this regard. Today's Newsdsay has an article, Why LIPA failed: Utility ignored warnings it wasn't ready for major storm Primarily it was because they just didn't bother to upgrade what needed to be replaced. But there was also very poor analytics involved. While ConEd could show detailed maps of outages, LIPA's didn't.  As the article recounts: 

 "a Newsday reporter at the Hicksville headquarters of National Grid — the company contracted by LIPA to oversee operations — saw engineers who were using highlighters and paper maps to track thousands of outages, as ratepayers banged in frustration on the building's locked front doors."

Of course, the area got a double whammy with the nor'easter: "Ten days after the superstorm battered the region, more than 170,000 Long Islanders were still without power. The nor'easter on Wednesday piled on with another 90,000 outages."

 

My understanding is there was a similar scenario for PSE&G in NJ, though they do serve more customers overall. 

But to get back to the infrastructure:

Antiquated infrastructure

The utility's infrastructure has changed little since Gloria, said Matthew Cordaro, who served as vice president of engineering at LIPA's predecessor, the Long Island Lighting Co., when that hurricane struck.

"I think somewhere along the way they lost sight of what the primary mission of a utility is," Cordaro said Thursday, "and that is to provide cheap electric power to customers."

Alexandra von Meier, the co-director of electric grid research at the California Institute for Energy and Environment, said other utilities face similar challenges.

"I don't think it's very unusual to have very old and clunky technology in their power distribution context," she said. "If they were more modern ... restoration could be faster, and we all want that."

More than a half-million residents lost power for a week after Irene. Cuomo — who said that "at a minimum, LIPA did a terrible job of communicating" following that tropical storm — requested a review of the Uniondale-based utility.

The resulting report concluded that LIPA and National Grid did not meet industry standards in dozens of aspects concerning planning and recovery in major storms.

To survey storm damage, engineers used spotty equipment, including expired Internet aircards for their laptops, the state inspectors found. Their computers used COBOL, a basic decades-oldcomputer programming language, and some lacked electronic mapping for outages and used a"rudimentary damage prediction model."

Even fax machines and other basic office equipment were unavailable or broken at substations, the facilities that transfer power to thousands of homes, hindering communication. One substation coordinator reported having to run to a local office supply store to purchase a printer.

 

BethSchultz
User Rank
Blogger
Re: IT analytics
BethSchultz   11/8/2012 3:33:02 PM
NO RATINGS
Hi Sandy, I guess the good news is that with each disaster the necessity of thorough and continued network/security analysis gets more and more evident. Not that I'd wish this lesson on anybody...

sgittlen
User Rank
Blogger
Re: IT analytics
sgittlen   11/8/2012 2:44:28 PM
NO RATINGS
Beth, it's hard to say whether the tools out there are the tools that are most needed in a situation like Sandy. In fact, I'd venture to say you'll most likely see some technology and training tweaking in the wake of this storm.

I think that as cloud computing (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, etc.) takes hold, IT has to go back to its core values of network monitoring, traffic analysis, server analysis and all that good stuff that is supposed to be standard practice. This might have been the wake-up call on that score.

As for the necessary investments, hard to say. I'm sure it varies according to the architecture of the data center, age of the company and other factors. I do believe that everyone should be revisiting their own capabilities and that this should eliminate any remaining "it's not going to happen to me" attitudes.

Let's not forget shortly before Sandy, the West Coast, including Hawaii was under watch for a tsunami. It can happen anywhere.

 

 

BethSchultz
User Rank
Blogger
IT analytics
BethSchultz   11/8/2012 11:30:44 AM
NO RATINGS
Sandra, do you think IT vendors are doing enough to deliver products that enterprises can use to analyze how well their network infrastructures, application performance, security, etc. are doing? And, I should add, that allow customers a way to absorb the analysis easily (for example, via interactive data visualizations on network management, app performance, or security dashboards)? And, if so, do you think enterprise IT execs are taking these types of tools seriously and making the necessary investments in them?

Noreen Seebacher
User Rank
Blogger
Ugly truth
Noreen Seebacher   11/8/2012 9:11:18 AM
NO RATINGS
The storm revealed some ugly truths for businesses who are using third-party vendors -- and discovered after the fact that some of them lacked geographically dispersed backup systems and/or redundant power sources.

Information Resources
More Blogs from Sandra Gittlen
You don't need big data if you have "great data," says Fred Kirsch, vice president of content and publisher for the New England Patriots and Kraft Sports Productions.
Think twice before taking on data irrelevant to your big-data project.
Combining loyalty program data with restaurant performance feeds, Panera Bread finds the optimal mix of menu items and in-store display ads.
A regional medical center discovers significant savings after retiring unused and redundant apps.
The uncertainty around big data is fading as concrete definitions, use cases, and success stories come to the fore.
Radio Show
Radio Shows
UPCOMING
James M. Connolly
Analytics: Your Defense Against Cyber Threats


5/27/2015   REGISTER   0
ARCHIVE
James M. Connolly
Big Data & Big Pharma: How Analytics Might Save Your Life


5/19/2015  LISTEN   37
ARCHIVE
James M. Connolly
Live Interviews From SAS Global Forum


4/28/2015  LISTEN   11
ARCHIVE
James M. Connolly
How to Hire Great Analytics Talent


4/23/2015  LISTEN   51
ARCHIVE
James M. Connolly
Sports Analytics Mean Fun and Business


3/24/2015  LISTEN   4
ARCHIVE
James M. Connolly
Secure Your Big Data in the Cloud


2/26/2015  LISTEN   114
ARCHIVE
James M. Connolly
Make It Big As a Data Scientist in 2015


2/11/2015  LISTEN   106
ARCHIVE
James M. Connolly
Big Data, Decisions & the Simulated Experience


2/3/2015  LISTEN   87
ARCHIVE
James M. Connolly
A Chat About Big Data, Machine Learning & Value


1/15/2015  LISTEN   125
ARCHIVE
Curtis Franklin Jr.
An Infrastructure for Analytics


12/18/2014  LISTEN   63
ARCHIVE
James M. Connolly
Prepare for the Internet of Things Data Blitz


12/16/2014  LISTEN   51
Information Resources
Quick Poll
Quick Poll
Infographic
Infographic
It Pays to Keep Insurance Fraud in Check
While 97% of insurers say that insurance fraud has increased or remained the same in the past two years, most of those companies report benefits from anti-fraud technology in limiting the impact of fraud, including higher quality referrals, the ability to uncover organized fraud, and improve efficiency for investigators.
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Like us on Facebook
About Us  |  Contact Us  |  Help  |  Register  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  RSS