CGI partners with Hydro-Quebec to prevent electricity outages

14 November 2018

Montreal-based management and technology consultancy CGI has partnered with long-time client Hydro-Quebec to better prevent electricity grid outages. The solution – entitled MILES – leverages data analytics to detect and diagnose distribution system faults that cause service disruptions.

CGI is a leading expert in the digital transformation of power and utilities. From initially supporting Hydro-Quebec to branching out to advise utilities firms across the globe, CGI has amassed deep expertise in an industry which increasingly demands cutting-edge digital solutions. The company is a partner to over 250 utilities providers, including 8 of the top 10 providers in North America and Europe.

Recently, CGI was tasked with building and supporting an electricity information hub for Finland’s national electricity provider, implementing a proprietary system that stores information related to metering points, contracts, and energy measurement data, while also offering functions for grid fee billing and settlement.

The company also recently partnered with GE to build and implement electric grid software for North American utilities. GE will contribute its portfolio of digital technologies which safely manage, analyze, and improve electricity transmission and distribution and leverage machine learning and advanced analytics. CGI, meanwhile, will add its considerable experience in supporting the operational technology and IT systems of utility firms.CGI partners with Hydro-Quebec to prevent electricity outagesNow, CGI will be teaming up with Hydro-Quebec to launch MILES, a predictive maintenance solution for grids that uses fault-location algorithms and advanced data analytics to diagnose faults and network issues that are the root causes of outages and customer complaints. Developed by Hydro-Quebec’s research institute IREQ, the MILES solution delivers timely, accurate info on fault locations and their probable cause, allowing for improved maintenance planning through better access to critical info.

The solution integrates with CGI’s client-facing software portfolio, including ARM and PRAGMA, which further improve outage management response, field service, maintenance, and monitoring. As part of the launch, CGI will advance the commercialization of MILES worldwide, while also implementing and supporting the solution across other utility business clients.

"We look forward to bringing this innovative solution to utilities worldwide looking to innovate and drive performance," said CGI's Michael Godin, Senior Vice-President, Greater Montreal. "MILES combines data analytics and deep industry experience to revolutionize fault detection for utilities. We're confident MILES will achieve industry-leading stature based on its significant benefits and are proud to be a part of its success."

According to case studies from Hydro-Quebec, the solution's data analytics improve network reliability, while reducing outage frequency and restoration times – leading to fewer customer complaints, as well as cost savings from reduced crew patrol times and more efficient maintenance.

"We're excited to partner with CGI in launching a solution that promises to transform how utilities address momentary faults," commented Jean Matte, Director of the Hydro-Québec research Institute. "We have been working with CGI for many years, and its extensive information technology/operational technology expertise within the utilities sector, as well as its deep implementation experience, will help utilities everywhere leverage MILES to improve their condition-based maintenance and network reliability strategies."



Ian Watt leaves Calgary to lead L.E.K.'s Australian energy & environment practice

16 April 2019

After spending three years as a partner in Strategy&’s energy and utilities sectors in Calgary, Ian Watt will return to his former stomping grounds of Sydney, Australia. He will join management consultancy L.E.K. Consulting, leading the firm’s Australian energy and environment practice.

Watt has more than a decade of strategic consulting experience, advising clients in the energy, utilities, and industrials sectors across Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America. He has deep expertise in utilities transformations, including deep operational transformations, pure growth strategy, and long-term future visioning.

As utilities are increasingly forced to navigate market disruption (smart technology, new competitors) and regulatory changes, experts like Watt who can advise on business model evolution and new product design become ever more valuable.

“We are delighted to welcome Ian Watt to L.E.K. His experience working with utilities to successfully address waves of market disruption and regulatory complexity bolsters our ability to drive value creation for clients,” Nick Holder, partner and head of L.E.K’s Asia-Pacific region and head of the firm’s Australia practice, said.

Ian Watt leaves Calgary to lead L.E.K. Consulting's Australian energy & environment practice

Watt spent nine years at Strategy& and Booz & Company, working on business transformations and operating model design for clients in energy, utilities, and mining – first as a director, then as a partner. In 2016 he transferred from Sydney to Calgary to support the launch and expansion of Strategy&’s energy, utilities, and mining practice across Canada.

Prior to that, Watt was a principal project manager in the UK at EcoSecurities, a firm that sources, develops, and trades emission reduction credits. Before that, he worked as an analyst at the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, helping to develop New South Wales’ emissions trading scheme.

Watt began his career as a mechanical engineer at design and engineering consultancies Mott MacDonald and Connell Wagner. 

Watt’s addition is L.E.K.’s third partner appointment in Australia so far in 2019. Joe Sponholtz also joined the Sydney office from rival consultancy Partners In Performance, while Melbourne-based Philip Wheeler was internally promoted to partner.