Tuesday, 20 October 2015 11:31

WA utility deploys Microsoft Azure

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WA Government-owned electricity distributor Western Power is using Microsoft Azure and Power BI to deliver a solution which automatically collates, analyses and visualises massive volumes of event data collected from millions of electricity meters every day.

Microsoft partner Ignia worked with Western Power to implement the Microsoft solution, with the electricity supplier required to efficiently track and analyse outages in an electricity supply network spread across 250,000 square kilometres, servicing over 2 million customers.

Prior to the Microsoft deployment, Western Power had huge volumes of data available, but collation and analysis was becoming increasingly difficult - identifying regional outage trends and geographical ‘hotspots’ was a manual, time-consuming process, impacting the utility’s  service to customers and reducing the efficiency of customer communications.

With the new deployment, the Customer Service Outage Dashboard provides graphical analysis of outages and at-a-glance KPIs and metrics. Staff can now easily explore and investigate outage data and the solution facilitates the identification of outage ‘hotspots’ and the associated underlying trends.

Hosted in Microsoft Azure and delivered by the Power BI platform, the solution gives Western Power a cost-effective, scalable, and accessible source of outage information, which Microsoft says provides a solid foundation for more efficient and proactive customer service.

Gino Giudice, Head of Customer Service at Western Power, wanted to introduce more advanced reporting capabilities to the business and to use the data captured by affiliated systems more effectively.

“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.”

“The project was certainly challenging,” said John Rampono, Lead Architect at Ignia.

“We were working with a large and complex data set. The solution had to analyse event data generated each minute by millions of electricity meters from around the State. 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.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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