Transparency and planning securityfor large customers in the event of a power shortage:the Primeo Energie OSTRAL app

As a key component of its strategy for coping with a possible electricity shortage, Primeo Energie planned to launch an app for large consumers in its distribution network area. The goal of the Primeo Energie OSTRAL app: the real-time tracking of one’s own electricity consumption in relation to the allocated electricity quota during a shortage, as well as the realistic simulation of a quota already in the preparation phase. We were significantly involved in all phases of this important project as requirements manager, project manager, developer and quality assurance.

THE CHALLENGES

The geopolitical situation has led to a massive change in the entire energy sector since spring 2022. In Switzerland, this is monitored and coordinated by the Federal Office for National Economic Supply (BWL).

 

The course for the realization of appropriate measures during a possible power shortage situation is set by the Organization for Electricity Supply in Extraordinary Situations (OSTRAL).

 

One step during such an electricity bottleneck is the quota system for electricity purchases by large consumers: In this case, all companies throughout Switzerland with an annual consumption of more than 100,000 kilowatt hours of electricity are required to reduce their monthly consumption by a certain percentage compared to the previous year. The distribution network operators who supply the large customers in question with electricity are responsible for compiling the data basis.

 

There is clearly a willingness in the industry to meet the necessary savings of, for example, 10 to 20 percent with a quota system. However, in order to have the necessary planning security and thus to be able to maintain stable operations, the need of large customers to provide information to their distribution system operator would certainly increase massively in a potential shortage situation.

 

The Primeo Energie OSTRAL app was designed and implemented with the aim of ensuring greater transparency and an optimal flow of information for the 700 or so large consumers in Primeo Energie's network area. Particular challenges included:

    • Very short implementation timeframe: Since the risk of a power shortage increases as temperatures drop, the first live deployment was already scheduled for mid-October 2022. Basic brainstorming and conception started in May 2022, so the timeframe for defining the functional scope, drafting an app design, and implementing a version 1.0 for both Apple iOS and Google Android cell phones was extremely tight.

 

    • Variable requirements: Both at the beginning of the project and during implementation, requirements evolved at great speed due to external circumstances (e.g., clarification of legal ambiguities) as well as specific business requirements (e.g., master data quality).

 

    • Complex stack: The Primeo Energie OSTRAL app had to be integrated into Primeo Energie's existing digitization platform to leverage existing technologies and data such as Identity and Access Management. In order to provide customers with timely, accurate measurement data, SAP IS-U had to be connected live.

THE CHALLENGES

The geopolitical situation has led to a massive change in the entire energy sector since spring 2022. In Switzerland, this is monitored and coordinated by the Federal Office for National Economic Supply (BWL).

The course for the realization of appropriate measures during a possible power shortage situation is set by the Organization for Electricity Supply in Extraordinary Situations (OSTRAL).

One step during such an electricity bottleneck is the quota system for electricity purchases by large consumers: In this case, all companies throughout Switzerland with an annual consumption of more than 100,000 kilowatt hours of electricity are required to reduce their monthly consumption by a certain percentage compared to the previous year. The distribution network operators who supply the large customers in question with electricity are responsible for compiling the data basis.

There is clearly a willingness in the industry to meet the necessary savings of, for example, 10 to 20 percent with a quota system. However, in order to have the necessary planning security and thus to be able to maintain stable operations, the need of large customers to provide information to their distribution system operator would certainly increase massively in a potential shortage situation.

The Primeo Energie OSTRAL app was designed and implemented with the aim of ensuring greater transparency and an optimal flow of information for the 700 or so large consumers in Primeo Energie’s network area. Particular challenges included:

  • Very short implementation timeframe: Since the risk of a power shortage increases as temperatures drop, the first live deployment was already scheduled for mid-October 2022. Basic brainstorming and conception started in May 2022, so the timeframe for defining the functional scope, drafting an app design, and implementing a version 1.0 for both Apple iOS and Google Android cell phones was extremely tight.
  • Variable requirements: Both at the beginning of the project and during implementation, requirements evolved at great speed due to external circumstances (e.g., clarification of legal ambiguities) as well as specific business requirements (e.g., master data quality).
  • Complex stack: The Primeo Energie OSTRAL app had to be integrated into Primeo Energie’s existing digitization platform to leverage existing technologies and data such as Identity and Access Management. In order to provide customers with timely, accurate measurement data, SAP IS-U had to be connected live.

About Primeo Netz AG

With 550 employees in Switzerland and France, Primeo Energie reliably supplies energy to over 170,000 customers. Its business areas are energy, grid, heat and renewable energies. From production and trading to distribution and sales, Primeo Energie is active along the entire value chain.

Primeo’s “Grid” segment comprises the transport, distribution of electricity, basic supply and the provision of grid-related services. The business area’s service is based on both the existing infrastructure and the process know-how to plan, build and operate it efficiently.

“The project management focused on customer benefits at all times, especially during the workshop with the pilot customers, which was a great exchange for customer developers and providers. This is exactly how development should be.”

Dr. Lukas Küng, CEO Primeo Netz AG

OUR APPROACH

The approach to the successful implementation of the app included multiple aspects:

    • Joint ideation: Based on our industry experience and insight into the current supply situation of various distribution network operators, we were able to introduce the idea for the OSTRAL app to Primeo Energie. Taking into account the input from discussions with the affected large consumers, this approach was jointly developed further in a target-oriented manner.

 

    • Minimum Viable Product (MVP): Focusing the requirements on a minimum scope, which could be implemented within the very short lead time with the given technologies, made it possible to meet the fixed deadlines. Customer requests for subsequent further development packages are collected on an ongoing basis.

 

    • Expansion of the existing team: In order to be able to start as quickly as possible, the development was largely carried out within the existing and already established "Digitization & Integration" team at Primeo Energie:
      • Scrum team of 11 developers, consisting of Primeo Energy and inpeek employees as well as other service providers (codify AG, Exxeta AG)
      • Temporary expansion of the team with an external app developer (codify AG) for three months of crunch time as well as bringing in a design agency (dept) for the development of the UX and UI
      • As the team's project backlog was already full to bursting due to a great need for digitization solutions within Primeo Energie, a strict project prioritization was adopted together with the decision makers so that originally reserved resources could be reallocated in favor of the development of the OSTRAL app.

     

      • Agile development: App development followed the proven pattern of two-week sprints, regular technical and business refinement sessions, and early demos within and outside the development team.

     

      • Dedicated project management: In order for the Scrum team to be able to focus fully on the development of the OSTRAL app, all control and management tasks of the project were outsourced to a dedicated inpeek project manager. This allowed the rapidly evolving technical requirements to be buffered and passed on to the Scrum team in a targeted manner.

     

      • Digitization platform: Primeo Energie's digitization platform has been continuously developed by the Scrum team for more than five years and is already the basis for a large number of applications such as the customer portal, the ZEV app or Google Assistant services. Despite its complexity, the use of this platform made it possible to significantly accelerate app development, as existing integration functionalities such as SAP interfaces and user management could be seamlessly reused. The digitization platform is built on the Spring stack and consists of many so-called self-contained systems (SCS) that expose functionalities to different front ends. On the SAP side, a further development of the inpeek e.tility stack is in use.

     

      • Complex data selection directly in SAP: Behind the user-friendly display of the reference consumption and the cumulative monthly load profile in the app is an extremely complex selection of the affected metering points in the distribution network area of Primeo Netz AG, which was developed together with the energy data management team of Primeo Energie. This selection was implemented directly in ABAP, so that only the really relevant, upgraded data has to be transferred from SAP. This significantly reduces the implementation effort compared to auxiliary techniques such as caching or cloud replications.

     

    Our main tasks in the Primeo Energie OSTRAL app project were diverse and included ideation, requirements management, project management, SAP development, and quality assurance. We always worked closely with internal Primeo Energie employees and other service providers.

THE RESULT

The two app versions (Apple iOS and Google Android) were released on-time and in-budget in the official app stores in mid-autumn 2022. Initial feedback from major customers was collected in advance during an onboarding workshop and was overwhelmingly positive.

With the Primeo-Energie-OSTRAL app, a helpful tool could be created to significantly reduce the uncertainty level for large consumers. The digital application includes an overview of the simulated contingency, the display of the current consumption of all relevant meters compared to the reference, as well as general information on the electricity shortage situation. The OSTRAL app thus helps companies to gain transparency about their own electricity consumption and the savings measures they have initiated, and thus to prepare themselves optimally for a contingency – in this way, they can make an important contribution to avoiding far more restrictive rolling power cuts for everyone through controlled electricity saving.

 

In the next step, the approximately 700 affected companies in the distribution network area of Primeo Netz AG will now be comprehensively informed about the app and onboarded by the responsible key account managers. In parallel, the OSTRAL app will move from development to operation and support mode. The evaluation and implementation of possible further developments and extensions of the first app version in coordination with the decision makers of Primeo Netz AG is already being prepared at the same time.

 

Im nächsten Schritt werden nun kurzfristig die rund 700 betroffenen Unternehmen im Verteilnetzgebiet der Primeo Netz AG durch die zuständigen Key Account Manager umfassend zur App informiert und onboardet. Parallel wird die OSTRAL-App aus dem Entwicklungs- in den Betriebs- und Supportmodus übergehen. Die Evaluierung und Implementierung von möglichen Weiterentwicklungen und Erweiterungen der ersten App-Version in Abstimmung mit den Entscheidungsträgern der Primeo Netz AG ist zeitgleich bereits in Vorbereitung.

OUR APPROACH

The approach to the successful implementation of the app included multiple aspects:

  • Joint ideation: Based on our industry experience and insight into the current supply situation of various distribution network operators, we were able to introduce the idea for the OSTRAL app to Primeo Energie. Taking into account the input from discussions with the affected large consumers, this approach was jointly developed further in a target-oriented manner.
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP): Focusing the requirements on a minimum scope, which could be implemented within the very short lead time with the given technologies, made it possible to meet the fixed deadlines. Customer requests for subsequent further development packages are collected on an ongoing basis.
  • Expansion of the existing team: In order to be able to start as quickly as possible, the development was largely carried out within the existing and already established “Digitization & Integration” team at Primeo Energie:
    • Scrum team of 11 developers, consisting of Primeo Energy and inpeek employees as well as other service providers (codify AG, Exxeta AG)
    • Temporary expansion of the team with an external app developer (codify AG) for three months of crunch time as well as bringing in a design agency (dept) for the development of the UX and UI
    • As the team’s project backlog was already full to bursting due to a great need for digitization solutions within Primeo Energie, a strict project prioritization was adopted together with the decision makers so that originally reserved resources could be reallocated in favor of the development of the OSTRAL app.
    • Agile development: App development followed the proven pattern of two-week sprints, regular technical and business refinement sessions, and early demos within and outside the development team.
    • Dedicated project management: In order for the Scrum team to be able to focus fully on the development of the OSTRAL app, all control and management tasks of the project were outsourced to a dedicated inpeek project manager. This allowed the rapidly evolving technical requirements to be buffered and passed on to the Scrum team in a targeted manner.
    • Digitization platform: Primeo Energie’s digitization platform has been continuously developed by the Scrum team for more than five years and is already the basis for a large number of applications such as the customer portal, the ZEV app or Google Assistant services. Despite its complexity, the use of this platform made it possible to significantly accelerate app development, as existing integration functionalities such as SAP interfaces and user management could be seamlessly reused. The digitization platform is built on the Spring stack and consists of many so-called self-contained systems (SCS) that expose functionalities to different front ends. On the SAP side, a further development of the inpeek e.tility stack is in use.
    • Complex data selection directly in SAP: Behind the user-friendly display of the reference consumption and the cumulative monthly load profile in the app is an extremely complex selection of the affected metering points in the distribution network area of Primeo Netz AG, which was developed together with the energy data management team of Primeo Energie. This selection was implemented directly in ABAP, so that only the really relevant, upgraded data has to be transferred from SAP. This significantly reduces the implementation effort compared to auxiliary techniques such as caching or cloud replications.

Our main tasks in the Primeo Energie OSTRAL app project were diverse and included ideation, requirements management, project management, SAP development, and quality assurance. We always worked closely with internal Primeo Energie employees and other service providers.

THE RESULT

The two app versions (Apple iOS and Google Android) were released on-time and in-budget in the official app stores in mid-autumn 2022. Initial feedback from major customers was collected in advance during an onboarding workshop and was overwhelmingly positive.

With the Primeo-Energie-OSTRAL app, a helpful tool could be created to significantly reduce the uncertainty level for large consumers. The digital application includes an overview of the simulated contingency, the display of the current consumption of all relevant meters compared to the reference, as well as general information on the electricity shortage situation. The OSTRAL app thus helps companies to gain transparency about their own electricity consumption and the savings measures they have initiated, and thus to prepare themselves optimally for a contingency – in this way, they can make an important contribution to avoiding far more restrictive rolling power cuts for everyone through controlled electricity saving.

In the next step, the approximately 700 affected companies in the distribution network area of Primeo Netz AG will now be comprehensively informed about the app and onboarded by the responsible key account managers. In parallel, the OSTRAL app will move from development to operation and support mode. The evaluation and implementation of possible further developments and extensions of the first app version in coordination with the decision makers of Primeo Netz AG is already being prepared at the same time.

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YOUR CONTACT PARTNER

JONAS BETTSCHEN

Project Manager / Business Analyst

Contact

LEARN MORE

YOUR CONTACT PARTNER

JONAS BETTSCHEN

Project Manager / Business Analyst

Contact

JONAS BETTSCHEN

Project Manager / Business Analyst

Contact