Dr Hu Yiqun, Director, SP Digital, solves energy challenges using innovative solutions.
Imagine this: An Energy Brain, brimming with intelligence amassed from large volume of energy consumption data from residential households and businesses. Together with complementary data, the Energy Brain analysed the data to offer our customers with data-driven solutions.
This scenario, described by Dr Hu Yiqun, Director, SP Digital, showcases a future where data science, coupled with Artificial Intelligence (AI) can improve energy services and business intelligence to customers.
“Data is the new currency in our economy. Increasingly, data provides insights and information to solve real-world problems. AI is the way for machines to extract these insights and information automatically. Through the Energy Brain, we successfully helped a shipyard reduce their electricity bills by predicting its electricity load with historical data, and optimising the Energy Storage System (ESS) to deploy energy. This helps to reduce the cost of drawing energy from the grid during peak demand,” explained Dr Hu.
“With machine learning, the Energy Brain can make use of data to automate the release of electricity from the batteries, charge it back up when storage runs low,” he added.
Another of Dr Hu’s project involves using data science and AI to improve the operational efficiency of SP’s metering and billing processes. By applying machine learning on the retrieval of smart meter data, we can automatically analyse and predict whether a meter reading is reasonable based on customer’s profile and usage patterns. This helps to achieve productivity gains and eliminate unnecessary on-site meter investigations.
Over the last 12 months, SP saved close to S$500,000 in productivity costs, and reduced S$15,000 in man-hours. These savings enabled staff to focus on more value-added tasks to better serve our customers.
“Another critical function of data and AI is fault diagnosis of our grid. AI-based fault diagnosis enables greater accuracy and shorter response time in locating fault-occurring sections, components or properties. This allows us to safeguard the health of our grid network and enhances our reliability,” shared Dr Hu.
The energy sector is evolving and facing digitisation at a very fast pace. Dr Hu believes that the energy sector can play an important role to combat climate change by adjusting the way energy is being consumed.
Prior to joining SP, Dr Hu’s experience spans across academia research and development, banking, payments and e-Commerce. He describes his role at SP as one that can transform a traditional business to a digital enterprise powered by data.
People always matter
Dr Hu maintains that despite the digital evolution being the way forward, human interpretation of insights is the conduit between data sets and achieving business outcomes.
“People matter the most. My goal is to use insights to understand our customers’ needs better, pre-empt issues and fix them before they arise. This, in turn, provides greater value and better service to our customers.”
— 28 April 2020