Five Florida utilities to trade power transmission capacity over Internet

Jan 14, 1998 01:00 AM

Five Florida utilities, members of the Florida OASIS Association, have turned to IBM and Siemens for an business solution that enables the utilities to use computer networks - including the Internet - to offer electric power transmission capacity for sale.
The five utilities, representing more than $ 3 bn in transmission assets, are using ENX OASIS (Open Access Same-Time Information System), a solution that features the combined strengths of IBM Global Services, and Siemens OASIS application software.
Florida Power & Light, Tampa Electric Co., Florida Power Corporation, Jacksonville Electric Authority, and the City of Tallahassee, chose the ENX OASIS solution as a cost effective way to assure a high level of service to their transmission customers. Highlights of ENX OASIS include 24 hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week customer service, full Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) compliance, and a set pricing structure, which helps the utilities manage the cost associated with forecasting volume.
"Information technology plays an important role in our industry, and will continue to do so, particularly as we move down the road to deregulation, " said Chuck Harper, chairman of the Florida OASIS Association." Beginning in 1998, transaction volumes on the OASIS system will rise dramatically. In preparation, we put a solution in place that is secure, reliable and high performing. With the application from Siemens and IBM's managed e-business service, we will now be more responsive to the market and to our customers."
"What this tells us is that the Internet, and technology, is about business - not just 'gee-whiz' technology," said Kevin Moonan, general manager of IBM's Utility and Energy Services Industry Solutions Unit. "In order for e-business to work, companies should follow a few steps. First, start simple and grow fast. Then, build on what they have - don't just throw everything out and start all over. Third, grow in a secure way because security is important. Finally, make sure they'vegot a good team of business and technology people to bring it all together. Combine all those elements and they've got the makings of a powerful transition to e-business. By relying on IBM and Siemens, the Florida OASIS Association has done just that."
OASIS is the first step in the FERC's deregulation plan for the industry. It is designed to provide open access to everyone wishing to purchase available transmission capacity for electric power delivery. All designated transmission providers (owners of power transmission lines) were required to be OASIS compliant as of December 2, 1996. OASIS is expected to evolve as deregulation progresses. ENX will provide subscribers with automatic system upgrades as they are mandated by the FERC.
Utilities, other transmission providers and brokers using the service request and confirm transmission capacity, post "buy or sell want ads," and communicate with each other via the Internet or the IBM Global Network.
Each transaction takes the form of an offer or a bid for the rights to a specific transmission path, and the response to this offer or bid. Transmission providers (sellers) post available capacity on the ENX OASIS node. Transmission customers (buyers), who have agreed to do business with a particular transmission provider, access the posting via the ENX OASIS Web site, and then make offers for transmission capacity.
Siemens and IBM provide open access solutions for utilities in a competitive market. With ENX OASIS, subscribers are able to move beyond FERC compliance, and turn their service into a competitive advantage. In addition, because Siemens and IBM administer the OASIS and incur any expenses and upgrades necessary to maintain FERC compliance, utilities are relieved of administration "headaches and distractions," and are free to concentrate on their core businesses. IBM Global Services provides the high availability platform on which the OASIS software runs, the administrative and maintenance services required to make the site secure, and the help desk facilities necessary for complete customer support. This facility is located in Boulder, Colorado.

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