SAS ends forecasting guesswork for ODEC
SAS® Forecast Server helps not-for-profit lower customer utility rates four times in first year of use
CARY, NC (Sep. 16, 2010) – Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) lowers its customers monthly electric bills by using SAS® Analytics to streamline its forecasting. SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services, licenses SAS Forecast Server to the utility wholesaler.
ODEC, a wholesale electrical power provider, supports 11 not-for-profit electricity distribution cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware that serve 1 million rural and suburban member customers. The cooperatives contract for energy months in advance. An inaccurate forecast on energy needs means that ODEC must offer its customers energy at a higher cost.
“If we don’t buy enough, we have to pay whatever the market price is at the time we need to buy,” said David Hamilton, Manager of Load Forecasting for ODEC. “If we have excess, we have to sell it for whatever price we can get. The electric utility field is unique. But the problems we face each day are the same as those in energy, gas or oil.”
With SAS Forecast Server, Hamilton and his department apply sophisticated forecasting techniques such as exponential smoothing models, ARIMAX models, intermittent demand models and dynamic regression. SAS models support system analysis, hedging models, financial forecasts and future resources for energy and demand. Because SAS makes building forecast models easier and faster, ODEC quickly adjusts to changing conditions. ODEC understands each cooperative’s unique market but also aggregates data for big-picture views, and considers how multiple data sources (wind speed, cloud cover, population trends, etc.) affect forecasts. ODEC works with SAS Gold Partner Zencos to administer SAS Forecast Server.
“We couldn’t do what we do without SAS. There is no other software I know of that has that amount of flexibility and power,” said Hamilton. “Moving to a SAS platform gives us flexibility and speed when we need it. If we didn’t have SAS and the ability to quickly understand our forecast variables, we could make a huge mistake that could have a negative financial impact on our company.” Hamilton added that the ability to accurately forecast saves ODEC millions annually. The savings are passed on to customers; in 2009 alone, ODEC lowered its rates to customers four times.
ODEC is a generation-and-transmission cooperative that provides wholesale power to 11 local member electric distribution cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. ODEC and its member systems are not-for-profit electric cooperatives that are owned by their member consumers and serve nearly one million consumers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
ODEC’s portfolio of generation resources currently includes its 11.6 percent ownership of the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant in Louisa County, Va.; 50 percent ownership of the Clover Power Station in Halifax County, Va; ownership and operation of generation facilities in Louisa and Fauquier counties in Virginia; 50 percent ownership of a generation facility in Cecil County, Md.; and long-term contractual agreements for power generated by wind farm projects in North Central and Southwestern Pennsylvania and an additional wind farm under construction in Western Maryland; landfill gas generation facilities in Delaware and Maryland; and a hydroelectric generation facility in Western Virginia. For more information, go to www.odec.com.
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