THE NEED FOR A BETTER SETTLEMENT SOLUTION AT AMEREN
In 2013 St. Louis-based Ameren Missouri set out to create a more efficient and reliable settlement solution to aggregate the consumption and financial data available for its gas and electrictransmission networks. Ameren’s intent was to select the best possible solution and most efficient and costeffective path for a successful go-live. Timing of the implementation was strategic. Due to the complexities of managing separate services, Ameren wanted to first go- live with a settlement solution for its gas services before implementing the same solution for its electric service. Currently, Ameren’s gas services settlement process, which includes collecting and disseminating data, is managed internally without third party regulatory involvement. Electric services follow a regulated settlement process with an independent system operator (ISO), specifically Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PARTNER AND PRODUCT
Red Clay Consulting was selected as Ameren’s implementation partner because of its impeccable reputation of delivering a superior level of implementation services for utilities. Red Clay’s proprietary SmartGridONE (SG1) product was the perfect choice because of its ability to integrate with Ameren ́s existing Oracle Utilities Load Profiling and Settlement (LPS) implementation as well as the software’s flexibility to evolve alongside Ameren ́s needs. SmartGridONE (SG1) is Red Clay Consulting’s proven, flexible, and affordable meter-to-bill Smart Meter Data Management solution built on Oracle Utilities Meter Data Management (MDM) and Oracle Utilities Smart Grid Gateway (SGG). SG1 is designed to be a complete solution for small utilities or as an implementation accelerator for large utilities. Oracle Utilities MDM, a component of Oracle’s comprehensive Meter Solution, gathers and processes data from any type, variety, or brand of device. The application loads, validates, stores, and formats the data in ways that facilitate business processes across multiple internal and external systems. Oracle Utilities MDM was chosen as the central data repository and validation engine for Ameren’s gas and electric meter data.
AMEREN’S NEW SETTLEMENT PROCESS
November 2014 marked the completion of the entire settlement project, for over two million meters in both gas and electric services. Ameren now has a single meter data repository for its transmission business unit. The settlement process at Ameren involves the aggregating of settlement-ready data in Oracle Utilities MDM, the cleansing and validation of that data at the service point level, and finally, the downstream delivery of that data to the Oracle Utilities LPS system. The Oracle Utilities LPS system then performs higher-level aggregations and sends the information to MISO, on a daily basis. Two million records are sent daily to meet Ameren’s data commitments to MISO. The utility now has more data at its disposal than ever before; the data is clean and can be easily transmitted to all interested parties. Instead of a patchwork process working with a legacy platform, the solution is now automated, better supported and more adaptable to meet future requirements. “Red Clay and Ameren worked together to realize how a meter data management system can provide value beyond the meter-to-cash process,” said Chad Johnson, Red Clay’s Director of Product Development. “Ameren had the vision and saw value in improving the settlement process. They recognized that Oracle Utilities MDM is the most appropriate system to be responsible for data cleaning and aggregation. Choosing already existing solutions that are better and more supported is always preferable to customizing legacy software.”
“Selecting the right partner is critical to the success of innovative, first-of-a-kind implementations like ours,” said Keith Hock, Director, Transmission Technical Support at Ameren. “For us, Red Clay was the right partner for a successful project delivered on budget and on schedule.”
CONTRIBUTORS TO SUCCESS
When asked about contributors to the success of this project, Johnson stated, “When working with multiple vendors at a utility, it is critical that all parties get enough education on any newly introduced platform to understand how it can change and benefit the organization—in this case the new solution was SG1 and Oracle Utilities platform. To foster a technically collaborative environment, with multiple vendors in a large-scale implementation, each vendor assigned a resource for regular architect meetings where problems could be raised and solved in an efficient manner. Creating communication plans to minimize silos that have a tendency to exist in multi-vendor environments is critical to the success of projects of this nature.” “The Red Clay project manager worked very closely with me as the business sponsor to ensure we kept the project on schedule and met the business objectives,” said Hock. “ Our project was complex. We used five separate vendors and numerous temporary resources to provide and implement software solutions. I was impressed with Red Clay’s project management expertise that was critical to the success of this complex project. I was also impressed with Red Clay’s technical expertise which was also critical to the success of this first-of-a kind application for the Oracle Utilities MDM.”
St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation serves 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric delivery and transmission service as well as natural gas delivery service while Ameren Missouri provides vertically integrated electric service, with generating capacity of over 10,200 megawatts, and natural gas delivery service. For more information, visit www.ameren.com.
ABOUT RED CLAY
Founded in 2001, Red Clay Consulting is a leading systems integration and consulting firm in the Energy and Utilities Industry. As a certified Oracle Gold Partner with an Oracle Utilities MDM 2 and Oracle Utilities SGG 2 specialization, Red Clay implements enterprise solutions based on the Oracle Utilities framework. Red Clay is ambitiously led with integrity by industry experts who are proud to manage a team of dedicated, driven and enthusiastic employees. Visit www. redclay.com to learn more about our mission of doing what is right and fair for our clients, our employees and our company