How Energy is Tackling Big Data and the IoT

Anne-Lindsay Beall, Editor, SAS Customer Intelligence Knowledge Exchange

Anne-Lindsay is the editor of the Customer Intelligence Knowledge Exchange at SAS, editor-in-chief of sascom magazine, and editor of SAS Retail News. She has developed a comprehensive portfolio of business and marketing communications during her career spanning 14 years of magazine and marketing work.

3 Ways Retailers Are Modernizing With Analytics

While "modernizing" can mean a retailer adopts new analytics technologies, it can also mean taking small steps toward looking at your data in new ways.

No Happy Holiday for Hackers: 5 Steps Retailers Must Take to Beef Up Cyber Security

Going into the holidays, what can retailers do to beef up cyber security and regain consumer trust?

Re: Uncooperative energy customer behavior
  • 9/23/2015 9:53:06 AM

@Lyndon. Good point about reducing air conditioning's draw on energy when it is needed most. That seems to make as much sense as turning off your lights when everyone else has theirs on -- when it's dark.

Actually, cutting back on the energy draw at peak times does make sense when it's done right. However, the motivation on the part of the utilities isn't to make the world a greener, happier place. Meeting the growing demands at peak periods would mean adding more generating capacity and upgrading the grid overall; which wouldn't be great for the environment but also would add to the utilities' costs. 

That's why some utilities and big corporations sign on with energy management companies like EnerNOC, which provides big energy customers with what amounts to rebates on their energy bills if they allow EnerNOC's systems to step down their energy usage at key periods. That cutback in energy is relatively minimal: You might walk through a building and it isn't dark but for a short period of time the lights aren't quite as bright as usual, and the AC still works but maybe at a degree or two off the ideal temp.

I think one of the keys to peak energy management will be associated with renewable energy sources. Those work best when paired with energy storage systems such as new forms of industrial grade batteries, which store power for use when the renewable sources aren't generating (after sunset for solar, on calm days for wind). Those storage systems also can feed back power to the grid at the times you mention, when it's hot and AC systems are sucking up power.

Uncooperative energy customer behavior
  • 9/22/2015 10:30:41 PM


I was intrigued by that same quote from the blog post as Seth:

...while smart meters give utilities the opportunity to establish peak pricing programs (if allowed within the tariffs) changing customer behavior is proving to be very, very difficult. 


Here in Texas, energy consumers (e.g., homeowners) are being asked to reduce their energy consumption (to power, e.g., air conditioning) at precisely those "peak periods" of the day when the need for energy is greatest (e.g., mid-afternoon, when it's hottest and people need AC the most). This seems counter-intuitive.

My take on this is that Texas needs more electric power supply, but the private utilities (and some public utilities) find little profit incentive. I wrote about this not long ago in an article: 

Texas, USA's energy leader, faces power crisis. Why?

Electric power production also invokes the need for water (mainly for cooling) — compounding the state's water-resources crisis. Maybe clever analytics could find a workable solution? That would be nice.


What we really need
  • 9/7/2015 9:41:37 AM

What we really need is a smarter grid. Energy companies whine and cry about consumer level solar and how much money they are losing. In Florida, Duke energy has petitioned to end conservation programs. I think rather than trying to go backwards, energy companies need to move ahead and implement smart grids and work with users, rather than against them.

  • 9/7/2015 1:17:19 AM

Re: "In reality, while smart meters give utilities the opportunity to establish peak pricing programs (if allowed within the tariffs) changing customer behavior is proving to be very, very difficult."  I have to really agree with this.  When I run my washer machine is deciding on my work and social scheduule and not by peak pricing hours. 

Though I suppose with the many home efficiency apps out there, I could control my washer machine from work if it has the technology built in. 

To me, real energy independence doesn't just mean from foreign oil production, but the ability for homes and apartments to create their own energy and be independent of the utility companies.