But according to a new study by Ersi, a software development and services company providing GIS software, there currently is a wide range of GIS capability among utilities, with the largest often being the least smart grid ready. Ersi finds that data accuracy is spotty and often either incomplete or not GPS accurate. Interestingly, according to Ersi, the larger a utility’s size, the less likely it is to be “smart grid ready.”
Although Ersi obviously is not a disinterested bystander, its study contains interesting data about utility integration of GIS technology. In the last quarter of 2009, Ersi conducted what it calls a “smart-grid-readiness survey” of electric utilities around the world (though primarily located in the
But with respect to accuracy and integration, only one-third of the responding utilities say they update their GIS data within ten working days of completion. Overall, the study finds that utilities report a lag time of up to 90 days to move data from the field into the GIS. Moreover, the study found a strong inverse relation between company size and the time it takes before completed work is reflected in the GIS data base. The larger the company, the longer it takes -- although the difference is considerably greater between the “very large” and “large” utilities than between the “large” and “mid-size” utilities.
Twenty-five percent reported that there is information older than six months that is not reflected in their GIS. Perhaps most significantly, only 15 percent report “high confidence” – defined as an error rate of less than 2 percent – in their GIS data. And, as noted above, Ersi concludes that the larger the utility the less likely it was to be among the most “smart grid ready” companies.