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Overview of United Energy Distribution Pty

Question:

Discuss about the Data Management of United Energy Distribution Pty.

United Energy Distribution Pty is an energy distribution company that distributes electricity to residential and business customers in East and Southeast Melbourne. The company also distributes electric power in some areas in Mornington Peninsula.  The company owns, operates and maintains its electricity networks meaning that it is vertically integrated. The company operates under this model to make operations efficient and to enjoy extra profits from every section of the business. United Energy Distribution Pty was previously named United Energy Limited before it was renamed in the year 2003. United Energy Distribution PTY was formed in the year 1994, and it's currently headquartered in Mount Waverley, in Australia ( Labiod & Badra, 2007). In the year 2017, the company announced total revenue of $247.8 million compared to previous year’s record of $275.6million. The company is currently headed by Mr. Hugh B. Gleeson BE who is the Chief executive officer. The company aims at advancing technology in distribution and generation of electricity to increase efficiency and to offer customs electricity at low prices. United Energy seeks to achieve optimum safety by ensuring zero harm to the employees involved in the generation of electricity and among its customers. The company has been able to perform well in all the three sub-sectors of the industry which include electricity generation, distribution, and maintenance of the networks.

United Energy is a privately owned company that operates in Australia. The company’s three main stakeholders include AMP Group, Aquila Resources Limited and Power partnership Pty. In the year 2017, the company’s revenues fell by $ 27.8m from $275.6m to $247 million. As at June 2017, the company’s total debt stood at $795,990, and the interest was $52,556. The shared equity for the company stood at $865,178, and the percentage equity is 59% .The Company announced a profit of $43.6 million in the year 2017. The decrease in profits is due to increased fixed cost by the company and changes in weather conditions which have affected the distribution of electricity. The last available data on ASX website on the dividends announced by the company date back in the year 2003 when the company announced a final dividend of 10c per share. Currently, the company supplies electricity to more than 640,000 across different areas in Australia. It manages a network of more than 209,000 poles and more than 13,000 Km of wires (Mah, Hills &Balme, n.d.).The company mostly focuses on the distribution of electricity to households since they do not require a high amount of electricity to run. It is not possible for UE to distribute electricity to large manufacturing companies since it cannot meet the demand. The company uses two different tariffs for electricity bills to its customers. They include the retail component to recover the cost of purchasing energy from the generator and the network component which recovers the network costs which includes both transmission and distribution costs. The network tariffs are regulated by the Australia Energy Regulator (AER) and it regulates the setting of electricity prices.

Stakeholders of United Energy Distribution Pty

A smart meter is a project by UE that is aimed at providing the customers in Victoria with an opportunity to manage their energy use. This is backed up with a home display also referred to as Easy energy portal which helps customers to continuously view their electricity bills and have control over them(Webber, 2016). For this project, it is easy to disconnect electricity at will and to switch to a new electricity retailer. The system also enables the customer to feed electricity from solar panels to their connection. The stakeholders in the smart meter project include the United energy company which is the developer and owner of the project. The other stakeholder in this project is the Australian Communication and Media Authority. The company is required to comply with the electromagnetic exposure limitations which were developed by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)(Moeller, 2013). The other stakeholders are the customers who are the intended beneficiary of the project. Customers need to fill a personal information request form for the company to create an online form for them where they can access their energy usage from the portal. The other shareholder in the smart meter project is the Australian energy regulatory authority. The authority regulates the distribution of electricity and ensures that it protects its customers from exploitation and over pricing. The agency ensures that the customers can enjoy the flexible pricing model as required by law using this smart meter project.

The smart meter project depends on the use of hardware components such as Smartphone or a computer that is capable of accessing the internet. There has also to be the presence of a network provider to help the hardware devices access the internet (Hakansson, Höjer, Howlett, &Jain, n.d.). The internet could be WI-FI network or a hand gadget service provider internet. The company requires establishing as hierarchical data model to enable create a system where the customers can assess their usage of electricity from time to time. The company needs to set up a file server that should contain the portals` content directory and design communication between the server and the portal. The project needs load balancers if a web adaptor is used in setting up the network. A content directory needs to be set up and it Is to be shared by various machines used in the company. A load balancer is also required to support internal communication within the company and keep the administrators notified on anything unusual in the system. Two or more database machines are required to store information being relayed through the portal. The other communication networks needed in this system is the designing of software with specific definitions depending on the needs of consumers. Computers will be required to enable internal communication among the system administrators. A measuring and transmitting gadget needs to be installed at the meter to measure electricity usage and transmit the data to the servers of the company after which the customers can access the information in the portal.

Smart Meter Project by United Energy Distribution Pty

Coordination between the mobile networks and the internal data processing systems is important to ensure that the system works appropriately. The mobile networks used by the customers to access the data on electricity usage are very reliable and efficient. The meter reader has to record the usage every minute and remit the reading to the servers of the company. The data is then transferred to the file of each client since each of the smart meters has a unique identification number which is used to allocate numbers to the files in the database for each meter. The transformation of data from the meter to the servers of the company can be done through fixed wire connections or can be wireless, Cellular communication or use of WI-FI network, ad-hoc wireless network. Low power long-range networks and smart utility networks (Haes &Van Grembergen, 2017). In the case of United Energy, the coordination between the meter and the main servers of the company is done through the smart utility network. The data on the electricity used each day is transmitted automatically to the main system where billing is done. The data is then made available to the portal of every client and they can access it by accessing the internet and logging in using a unique password.

The selection of a database management system for use in the smart meter project is very critical in determining the kind of transmission and the success of the whole project. The database system is very crucial in this project since storage of large and complex volumes of data is required. The system has to be of high quality and reliable to avoid transmission of the wrong data to the clients and to avoid constant breakdown (Khosrowpour, 2017). The database management system used by the company is easy to use. The system is user-friendly for the members of staff trained in the matters of technology and it is easy to understand even for a layman. The system uses drag and drops execution command to make initiative working methods. The system is secure since the system is protected from hacking and unintended corruption of data. However, the physical security of data is questionable since most of the employees are allowed to access the location of the systems and they may interfere with the hardware component and hence mess up with the data contained in it. The system is also highly functional since the software for analyzing and transmitting data meets the requirements of the company and has performed without any complications so far. The database system is also highly flexible, and it is easily integrated with other software such as CRM as the company may wish and hence making it very suitable for UE.

It is important to review the legacy databases which exist existed in the company before the new smart meter project. The review of the existing databases for the company is important to evaluate how they can be integrated with the new chosen database. The legacy database is the database which was used by the company before the new smart meter technology was introduced. The databases are important for this project since the historical data available in the legacy database may be of great use to the new system. The software of the new database needs to be flexible to ensure that its works well with the existing databases. The legacy database is modified to increase its storage capacity. The technology used in the new database also needs to be integrated into the existing database to make it easy for coordination and transmission of data to the portal. The reliability and good performance by the legacy databases make it attractive for UE to maintain the legacy database and modify it to meet the requirements of the business at this time. The cost of integrating the system with the new one is also not high, and hence it makes it very suitable for the company to integrate the system (Arcsoft (conference), Holzinger, Cardoso, Cordeiro, Libourel, Maciaszek & Sinderen, 2015). The legacy database when integrated with the new database will make it easy and fast for the customers to communicate with the company seeking to know their energy usage and any other additional information on the services the company is offering.

New technology has major implications for the smart meter project. This is because the project is all about the use of the latest technology in reading meters and transmission of the data to the servers. The new technology has made it possible for two-way communication and hence the data can be quickly and securely be transmitted to a central server. Wireless mesh networks have also been used to communicate to various. The ANSI C12.18 protocol is used to communicate information collected from the meter to the servers of the company and hence making it possible for customers to get timely data on the electricity usage (Al-share & Rahman, 2016). The technology is integrating the smart meter network with the utility applications like billing and CIS. The meter system of data management has made it easy for the company to store bulk data and arrange it automatically and hence the bills of each customer are transmitted independently.

Database Management System for Smart Meter Project

The data governance system is essential in laying down policies and rules that are to be followed in data storage and IT programs of the company. IT governance helps in reducing failure in IT projects and therefore helps to reduce the risk of failure of the project. Accountability in the project is also improved through IT governance. The IT assets associated with the company are also managed appropriately through the IT governance policy. The IT governance structure gives specific people responsibility to be in charge of various aspects of the project. The smart meter is an expensive project for the company, and it is therefore very important to manage the project well to ensure the company attains a return on investment (Wunderlich, n.d.). The management of data and information technology is important to ensure that the company meets the needs of its customers. The IT governance establishes processes for identifying opportunities for extra value, decision making, and prioritization as well as continuous monitoring and evaluation.

Conclusion

The report analyzes and evaluates the smart meter project by United Energy. The paper begins with an evaluation of the company’s background and its main business framework and activities. The report contains financial information on the company which includes the revenues and profits generated by the company over the last two years. The company's` revenue has decreased due to changes in weather conditions which has hampered the generation and distribution of electricity. The paper also analyzes the stakeholders in the smart meter project being undertaken by the United Energy Pty. The major shareholders include the technology provider, the company itself and the ARPANSA (Calder, 2005). The communication and mobile network system required to implement the project and the coordination of mobile networks with the existing IT systems and databases by the company. The existing systems are reviewed, and their compatibility and integration with the new system are evaluated to determine how they can fit into one another. The IT and data governance system used by United Energy in the project is also discussed together with its significance to the business.

References

Al-shaer, E. S., & rahman, M. A. (2016). Security and resiliency analytics for smart grids: Static and dynamic approaches. Http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-32871-3.

Calder, A. (2005). It governance today: A practitioner's handbook. Ely, cambs, it governance pub. Http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?P=480388.

Icsoft (conference), holzinger, A., cardoso, J., cordeiro, J., libourel, T., maciaszek, L., & sinderen, M. J. V. (2015). Software technologies: 9th international joint conference, icsoft 2014, vienna, austria, august 29-31, 2014, revised selected papers. Http://rave.ohiolink.edu/ebooks/ebc/9783319255798.

Haes, S. D., & Van Grembergen, W. (2017). Strategic it governance and alignment in business settings.

Hakansson, A., höjer, M., Howlett, R. J., & Jain, L. C. (n.d.). Sustainability in energy and buildings [recurso electrónico] proceedings of the 4th international conference in sustainability in energy and buildings (seb' 12).

Khosrowpour, M. (2017). Encyclopedia of information science and technology.

Labiod, H., & badra, M. (2007). New technologies, mobility and security. Dordrecht, netherlands, springer. Http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?P=372386.

Mah, D., Hills, P., Li, V. O. K., & balme, R. (n.d.). Smart grid applications and developments [recurso electrónico].

Moeller, R. R. (2013). Executive's guide to it governance: Improving systems processes with service management, cobit, and itil. Http://www.123library.org/book_details/?Id=63923.

Webber, M. (2016). It governance: Policies and procedures 2017 edition with cd. [place of publication not identified], wolters kluwer law & bus.

Wunderlich, P. (n.d.). Green information systems in the residential sector [recurso electrónico] an examination of the determinants of smart meter adoption.

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