How Enexis stays flexible and saves money in an era of extreme energy fluctuation

Case study
Energy elektriciteitsmast schubergphilis 19
Utility companies in the Netherlands are experiencing growing pains as they face greater service demands and comply with global sustainability goals. How to best power homes and businesses is a puzzle-in-progress.

With the transition to greener energy underway, the traditional supply and demand model has been completely overhauled. While households are becoming more self-sufficient thanks to solar panels, energy demands have boomed due to the use of electric cars, gas-free homes, and other changes in society radically changing the market.

Enexis is a regional grid operator responsible for helping keep up the Netherlands’ energy network and servicing an area of over 3 million households and businesses. It is part of Enexis Group, with over 4,700 employees and an annual turnover of more than 1.5 billion euros.

To deliver steady service to all consumers, Enexis needed IT and infrastructure that would ensure 100% uptime, easy operability, and resilience. No matter how great consumer demand would grow or energy supply would evolve, performance had to be stable and optimized, ensuring 100% consumer satisfaction.

To safeguard business continuity into the future, Enexis wanted to wield more IT control rather than have to rely heavily on third parties. However, the company didn’t want to feel burdened by market fluctuations, convinced that peace and quiet are also essential to grow and innovate.

“We see this as a partnership in which we are supported. We also need Schuberg Philis because they’ll put up some resistance and say no or indicate when things should be done differently. We’ve never had an engineer from Schuberg Philis who did not know exactly what had to be done. Before anyone comes in, Schuberg Philis ensures the individual has built-up domain knowledge. They’re experts in everything that’s relevant to us.”

Michel Habets, ICT Architect, Enexis

We helped Enexis by first building a platform to which its applications could be migrated. After implementing a solid foundation for the platform, including a landing zone and tools for automation and real-time data-sharing, we helped the company determine that more than 120 applications should be migrated and optimized. We undertook those processes together. Using that same cloud technology, we also replaced Enexis’s old data platform with a new one that is stable, conducive to analysis, and extremely scalable. Along the way, we supported the company’s implementation of a DevOps way of working.

With its new platform, Enexis can conduct sophisticated data analysis in very little time. Better data analysis has allowed the company to reduce energy theft by 75 million euros annually. Whereas in the past, the company needed months for scenario analyses of its network or a particular substation (of which there are currently 40,000!), that analysis can now be run in four hours at a fraction of the cost. Technical changes to the platform itself have sped up, with most changes now able to be completed within an hour. Server deployments are now 100% automated. This lets the company’s data teams be more decisive, which saves time too. Within just a year, we also helped Enexis save over 70% in annual cloud costs simply by monitoring the public cloud’s changing features and implementing regular rounds of improvement. The company’s new cloud environment is conducive to low-risk experimentation and innovation, which Enexis continues to entrust to our leadership.

SBP Remco Westerlaken

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