In 2011, BC Hydro began an ambitious smart grid project that included replacing old electromechanical meters with nearly two million state-of-the-art smart meters. The company undertook its industry-leading smart grid rollout with the goals of improving energy efficiency and reliability in the region while reducing losses and more quickly identifying power outages. As BC Hydro began its smart meter roll-out, the leadership quickly recognized that without the right technology, it would face significant challenges integrating data from so many different sources throughout its operations.
The BC Hydro and Power Authority is a Canadian electric utility in the province of British Columbia, generally known simply as BC Hydro. It is the main electric distributor, serving 1.8 million customers in most areas, with the exception of the City of New Westminster, where the city runs its own electrical department and the Kootenay region, where FortisBC, a subsidiary of Fortis Inc. directly provides electric service to 213,000 customers and supplies municipally owned utilities in the same area.
BC Hydro partnered with Bit Stew Systems to help design a data architecture that would quickly and easily integrate data from nearly 2 million smart meters, more than 5,000 relays, 2,000 routers and 30 different operational and IT systems including homegrown and legacy systems. By implementing Bit Stew’s MIx product portfolio, including MIx Core and MIx Director Suite, BC Hydro has been able to integrate AMI data from the smart grid along with data from grid-asset health tracking systems, distribution grid management systems, field dispatch systems, work management systems such as SAP, customer information systems, Itron’s AMI system, meter data management systems, geospatial information systems (GIS) and more. BC Hydro also implemented Bit Stew’s MIx Director Suite, which can apply real-time analytics to the data, generating rich visualizations and providing a “single pane of glass” view that enables operators to see important activity happening across the smart grid. It provides a dashboard interface that enables operators to more easily assess situations, triage alerts and alarms, and gain the actionable intelligence they need in order to make informed decisions more quickly.