Big Data & Analytics Heroes

Steven P. Pratt

Corporate Technology Officer, Centerpoint Energy

CenterPoint Energy can analyze 2.3 million smart meters at any point in time every day using InfoSphere Streams. Dr. Steven P. Pratt, corporate technology officer at  Centerpoint Energy and this week’s Big Data & Analytics Hero, shares that “ultimately what we want to be able to do is recognize issues in our system before power outages occur.”

How are big data and analytics helping you deliver value faster?

So I think there are a number of things, but the first thing is that all of the ways we are delivering are all based on our ability to ingest data in near real time. In terms of safety, imagine a power line being down, knowing specifically where that power line is lying and knowing whether there is energy still going through that power line—extremely important in knowing how to resolve the issue, how quickly it needs to needs to be resolved, whether the power needs to be rerouted or if it is in a location that could be dangerous to our employees or customers. Having the capability of knowing that through GPS or devices that are attached to that equipment drives our ability to better resolve those issues in a much faster and safer manner

How is big data and improving your customer experience?

From a customer satisfaction perspective two to three years ago we did not know a customer’s power was out until they called us. Today, we typically know the instant it goes out and before they call us we can communicate to them that we know they have a power outage. We can communicate to them an estimated time of restoration and we can communicate to them when that power is restored, which certainly achieves greater level of customer satisfaction. As far as the dependability and reliability of our existing systems, we have millions of sensors in the field today, both on our customer’s homes as well as in our grid. Having the information from each of those devices signaled back to us about the health of that device gives us the opportunity to ensure that we can resolve issues within that system, in some cases, before they occur adds to the reliability and dependability of our systems

How are big data and analytics changing your business strategy?

Our ability to isolate and recognize outages where they occur or when they occur is driven a lot by our sensor data. We can ingest 2.3 million data points relative to residential customers. We can merge and aggregate that data in near real time and determine the extent of that damage, the type of equipment we need to resolve that outage, where our crews are relative to that outage and understand, from a situational awareness perspective, just how great of an issue or potential issue that we may have. It’s about predictability—ultimately what we want to be able to do is recognize issues in our system before power outages occur, and perhaps route around them so they don’t occur in the first place.

Further reading


View all of our Big Data & Analytics Heroes here on the Hub.