Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Incorporated, also known as Toden or TEPCO, is a Japanese electric utility holding company servicing Japan’s Kantō region, Yamanashi Prefecture, and the eastern portion of Shizuoka Prefecture. Through TEPCO’s digitization initiatives such as Smart Grids, Unicage proved to be crucial in big data processing. Smart grids are a sophisticated form of electrical power grid that enable bi-directional flows of electricity and data. At the heart of this technology are Smart Meters, which record and transmit data related to energy or resource consumption. By leveraging the insights gleaned from Smart Meters, the grid can dynamically respond to changing conditions, optimizing energy distribution to meet the needs of customers more efficiently.
TEPCO smart meter readings have been growing with the company's operations in the market. As the data being processed grew, their Java-based program became unfit for the job, showing a lack of flexible scalability and being too heavy and slow in the load of cooperative processing. It reached the point where the Electricity readings from 30 million clients came in every 30 minutes, while their old Java-based processing that took 40 minutes to complete. Furthermore, a key aspect of the operating fee system was lost. The readings on the power meter that are inputted into a handy software terminal available to each employee, and then are automatically saved in the company’s large database, were not able to be compiled with the terminal identification information as the web platform of the system took place.
This way, it became necessary to implement an efficient and speedy system capable of aggregating inputted data into a structured database that supports employees to quickly compute various calculations, search, and even contact customers.
Unicage was implemented in two systems for preliminary surveying and trial evaluation. The first was for the conversion process of cooperative files, and the second for the summarization of terminal usage status. The conversion process is a mechanism which converts character codes unique to the mainframe or files which include variable length format from host format to server format. An increase in the cooperation between the mainframe and the server system is expected, and the encountered performance issue when implemented in Java was apparent as the porting of the conversion function server is indispensable for suppressing the load of the mainframe.
“Since we were able to determine the specifications of the program during the design phase, we were able to shorten the implementation time of the mounting process thanks to the scalability of UNICAGE.”
Koji Kato: TEPCO