British Gas Smart Metering was set up in 2010 to roll out smart meters, a programme that secured it the award for “best big data, BI and analytics project” in Computer Weekly’s European User Awards 2015.
The company has installed more than one million meters and is targeting 16 million by 2020. To do this, it has invested in business intelligence and data management technologies, including from Qlik.
When first set up, BGSM’s data analysis and management information functions were spread across a variety of inherited systems generating “multiple versions of the truth”, according to its Computer Weekly awards entry.
British Gas managers could not find out why service levels and promises were not being met.
The BGSM decided to go for data consolidation. After three months' proof of concept, it chose QlikView for self-service analysis on top of a Hadoop “data lake”.
The data lake contains more than nine billion records and takes in data from sources including over 150 SAP tables.
On average, the QlikView dashboards process files with more than four billion records and fetch about 45 million records each day.
The management team now has access to business information it can drill into. BGSM said the team has a single version of the truth that makes collaboration easier, which means it can see “what the company isn’t doing well and can change”.
Read more about data analytics in utilities
- The mass of information from smart meters is leading utility suppliers to reconsider how they use their data.
- How Texas’ TXU Energy applied Vitria operational intelligence software to gain a better customer view.
- IBM's announcement of a cloud analytics suite for energy and utility companies.
BGSM is now seen as a pioneer in the smart metering space, with Australia Gas and several US companies consulting the company about how its data project was done.
BGSM’s managing director, Jorge Pikunic, also took the QlikView dashboard to the House of Commons to show how smart deployments are going and how they have helped to reduce energy use. He did this during his oral evidence session before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change in 2014, a company spokesperson confirmed.
A QlikView app has been created that shows customer energy use and how it has been reduced since the implementation of smart meters.