High energy costs are a major problem in the water utility industry. But data analytics can help. I of course do not need to tell you this. But some stats would help I am sure. Almost 55-60% of the lifecycle cost of a pumping station is attributed to energy. That’s a huge contribution. Then you have the problem of water leakages which can account for 25-30% of a utility company’s resource losses. My experience working with utility companies says that this indeed is true. But, with some data and intelligence, these figures can be capped. Let us look at 3 major ways in which data analytics can help water utilities:
Understand your assets better
For a water utility industry, its assets are the most important element in ensuring business continuity and profitability. But are they always in a good shape? Not really. Just like any business, they do have their cycle of wear and tear. A robust asset management strategy on the back of strong data analytics can help companies get a deeper look into their assets, historical transactions, issues, fixes, etc. to know which ones need attention. In fact, now comes one of my favorites - predictive maintenance. It is an important factor here which ensures that companies can take a proactive approach to unearth future possible issues (for example: predicting anomalies and possible issues with pumps) with their assets based on past trends. This can help focus on critical, high-risk assets so business is not impacted. Such fixes also save costs. Now you could say that monitoring performance is a given but as businesses scale, it is important to be proactive (and smart) in monitoring and fixing issues automatically across plants that keep popping up to meet the increasing customer needs.
Know where your spends are focused and reduce them
First up, let us look at an important stat. Companies can expect around 10-20% savings in maintenance operating costs and 20-30% reductions in capital expenditures through advanced analytics models. At Bynry, we strive to help companies achieve these figures since ultimately every rupee saved is a rupee earned. The data is out there, but how many are really using it? For starters, look at simple metrics like failing infrastructure and areas where water losses are being observed. Fixing these gaps would help fix major losses. I would then suggest the next step – build a plan to replace all capital equipment. Your teams and plant personnel will be better equipped to work on such plans and make sense of huge amounts of data with the help of a good data analytics solution. Advanced pattern recognition (APR) techniques can help predict future trends, cost overruns and failures.
Empower and serve your customers better
We know that today’s customers are smart. They are environmentally more conscious and are also obviously aware of the best ways of optimizing consumption from their side. A good data analytics solution should help companies enable their customers to track their usage. They could be shown interactive dashboards which could give a quick overview in terms of past and present consumption while giving a peek into the future. The data points could also show how much they would save if they are able to optimize their consumption. My best bet would be to also invest in a solution that can provide tips to ensure smart consumption. This definitely benefits all parties involved while also being good for the environment.
The major gaps and the way forward
Collecting data is one point, but analyzing it is a whole together different aspect that more often than not gets lost. In my vast years of experience helping utility companies optimize processes and reduce costs, what I have realized is that data is present but it is spread across multiple systems. You talk about consumption patterns, equipment usage details, past transactions, customer issues, requests, billing data, meter alarms etc. These are all out there. But getting them in one place and providing a single, consolidated view of data is a herculean task. That’s the magic of data analytics in the water utility industry. There are of course various challenges in fixing this major issue. Some companies might face a time crunch while others might be low on resources. Then there are some who do not have a strategy in place.
This is where Smart360-Bynry’s meter data management software for water utility industries comes in. You can bid goodbye to spreadsheets and different teams getting access to limited/siloed data and welcome accurate meter records and the ability to analyze real-time reports, requests, and issues. Analyzing data points is otherwise a time-consuming process owing to its manual nature. A smart utility solution like Bynry can fasten this process and help save 10 hours every week while enabling you to automatically detect leaks, provide alerts, respond to customer issues, and proactively fix aging assets to name a few. This is a sure-shot way to ensure that you are ahead of your competitors while also providing a great experience to customers. And your employees will be too happy to work on more value-added tasks. Now, what else would you want?