Pasadena Water and Power Department Eyes New $20-25 Million Customer Information System

Published : Monday, February 12, 2018 | 7:45 PM

When the Pasadena City Council’s Municipal Services Committee meets Tuesday, the focus will be largely on a replacement Customer Information System for Pasadena Water and Power (PWP).

PWP estimates the five-year cost of ownership for a new CIS at between $20 million and $25 million.

General Manager Gurcharan Bawa is expected to present the Committee with an update on a proposed new System that, if approved, would replace the current system City staff characterizes as outdated and incapable of meeting current and future critical requirements.

Bawa’s memorandum for the Municipal Services Committee said the CIS, aside from including customer information and usage data, rate components and bill calculations, is also the nucleus to other PWP operational systems including the Outage Management System, Smartgrid, Advanced Metering for both electricity and water, Geographical Information System, and the Tyler Munis financial system.

The new system, he said, would also allow for the integration of evolving technologies, such as solar systems, battery storage, electric vehicles, micro grids and others that customers are now embracing. The bi-directional flow of electricity, from the utility to the customer and vice versa, has created new economic opportunities for both Pasadena Water and Power and its customers to sell and buy power to their mutual advantage.

“Such transactions are only made possible by automating the power distribution grid, creating two-way communication systems between the utility and its customers, and sending dynamic price signals to customers,” Bawa wrote in the memorandum. “Replacement of the CIS is the first critical step for the success of these automation initiatives by providing technology to support the necessary rate structures.”

Bawa added the project will also involve personnel from other City departments, including Information and Technology, Public Works, and Finance.

Last year, a comprehensive needs analysis conducted by PWP and TMG Consulting Services concluded that an entirely new CIS is needed. As a next step, the consultant, authorized by the City Council, will assist City staff in preparing a Request for Proposal for a new CIS system. Once proposals are received, PWP and the other involved City departments will seek City Council approval for contracting with the recommended vendor.

Later on in the meeting, PWP and the Information Technology department are expected to ask the Municipal Services Committee to endorse a request for authorization to amend their fiscal year 2018 operating budgets to allow for six new full-time equivalent positions to procure and implement the new CIS.

The Committee is also agendized to revisit previous unfinished discussions on the recommended uses of the City’s light and power surtax funds for underground PWP projects, the Committee’s agenda showed.

The meeting starts 4 p.m. at the City Council chambers at City Hall.







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