Utility IT Architecture System and Cost Analysis


The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies in the state of California. The CPUC serves the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy California economy. The CPUC regulates utility services, stimulates innovation, and promotes competitive markets.

Project Overview & Objectives

Synaptitude, as part of a multi-consultancy project team, was engaged by the CPUC ‘s Division of Ratepayer Advocacy (DRA) to serve as a DRA Expert Witness on Smart Grid Information Technology. DRA Expert witnesses prepare and provide expert testimony regarding specific aspects of General Rate Cases (GRC) and Rate Design windows (RDW) brought before the CPUC by regulated entities.

Our Involvement

Synaptitude provided IT systems architecture and cost analysis regarding Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) General Rate Case Phase III proceeding (A.10-03-014). In this proceeding, PG&E requested funding to modify their existing IT systems to implement a revised customer energy statement. Synaptitude provided a technical analysis of PG&E’s existing IT systems and proposed IT systems updates including updates to the PG&E Customer Care and billing systems, bill formatting system, end-customer web portals and integration. Synaptitude reviewed PG&E’s existing bill formats, proposed new bill formats, functional and technical requirements and level of effort and cost estimates in order to assess whether PG&E’s request and the associated costs are reasonable. Synaptitude compared PG&E’s revised customer energy statement project with similar projects at other California utilities, in order to compare the functionality and costs between the projects, and used this comparison as further input to the cost assessment. Synaptitude and DRA worked together to make a recommendation on which functional and technical requirements to allow funding for and where to recommend cost reductions. Synaptitude prepared written expert testimony and was responsible for assembling, reviewing, and completing the final testimony deliverable.

Results and Benefits

As a result of this project, the CPUC/DRA was able to recommend alternative approaches to PG&E’s proposal potentially resulting in millions of dollars in savings to the State of California and California residents.