WA-government owned energy supplier, Western Power, has deployed a cloud-based data analytics solution that enables engineers to investigate the locations and underlying causes of repeated outages across its 250,000 square kilometre network.
The solution – delivered by the Microsoft Power BI platform and hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud – lets technicians automatically collate and analyse big volumes of event data collected from millions of electricity meters across the state every day. They then use this data to gauge the direct impact on customers and rectify issues.
Prior to the rollout, identifying regional outage trends and geographical hotspots was a manual, time-consuming process, which impacted the organisation’s ability to service more than 2 million customers.
“While we were able to manually collate the required reports, there was certainly room for improvement around this process and opportunities to provide ‘next level’ proactive service to our customers,” said Gino Giudice, Western Power’s head of customer service.
Western Power, with help from system integrator Ignia, used an Agile methodology to develop the solution by incrementally refining the detailed requirements and aligning the architecture and technologies to suit.
The energy provider also claimed that using Microsoft Azure also resulted in a reduction in storage costs, which was a critical factor given the volumes of data involved. The move to the cloud eliminated the need to commission new infrastructure and pay the associated licensing and maintenance overheads.
John Rampono, lead architect at Ignia, said the project was challenging as the companies were working with large and complex data sets and the solution had to analyse event data from millions of electricity meters.
“This was solved by leveraging the Azure Cloud infrastructure. Azure table storage, combined with Azure SQL and Power BI, provided the scalability to deal with the data load,” he said.
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