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Cegal with key role as Elhub moves home

Editorial staff Cegal want to build a stellar nextgen tech company that enables a more sustainable future, and shape the digital future by turning complex IT into digital success stories.
10/25/2020 |

When Statnett chose to transfer Elhub into Norwegian hands, the Oracle experts in Cegal secured the agreement together with Basefarm. Now the first part of the move from an Indian operating environment has been carried out according to plan without problems.  

Keep reading to find out more about Elhub's cloud strategy, why Elhub is returning home, and how Cegal's Oracle expertise and industry experience help one of Norway's most important platforms. 

Tor Bjarne Heiberg in Elhub compares Elhub with “Bankenes Betalingssentral” the highly cost-effective technology and transaction hub that Norwegian banks created together in 1972. Elhub, which is owned by Statnett, works in a similar way. Elhub was put into operation in February 2019 and is a data platform that handles all meter data and market processes in the Norwegian power market. It concerns the exchange of meter values, supplier changes, exchange of customer information and financial settlements between the various players in the power industry, including private individuals. Elhub facilitates the automation and digitization of the value chains in the power market. 

Find out more about Elhub here >

The technology behind Elhub is complex and based on Oracle technology. Each year, the platform handles transactions for approximately NOK 100 billion related to power sales, network rental and taxes. Data related to approximately 2.8 million Norwegians is stored in the hub. 

Each year, the platform handles transactions for approximately NOK 100 billion related to power sales, network rental and taxes.

Tor Bjarne Heiberg

Norway in the forefront of privacy and security

It goes without saying that privacy, security, stability and performance is central to the Elhub platform. 

Statnett started the Elhub project in 2015, and Accenture was awarded the contract for the development and operation of Elhub. The Elhub platform is based in two redundant data centers in Norway, while IT development and operations has taken place from Accenture's Indian operations centre. 

Privacy and security concerns related to resources in other countries having access to both personal data and critical technology were one of the reasons why Statnett chose to transfer the operation of Elhub from Accenture and Indian resources to Norway. 

Even if the data is on Norwegian servers, it is a reputational challenge that resources in India have access to the data. That is why we wanted to flag home the contract.

Tor Bjarne Heiberg

In the autumn of 2019, Cegal, together with Basefarm, was awarded the contract for the operation, monitoring and securing of Elhub. 

 

Large and complex Oracle-user 

Elhub runs on an Oracle Engineered systems platform that includes Exadata, Exalogic and Big Data Appliance. Oracle's entire technology stack is more or less used. When operational responsibility was transferred to Norway, it was Cegal and Basefarm that could offer the best solution for operating and further developing the platform. The choice of Cegal as a supplier is about competence in both technology and industry, together with the necessary capacity to maintain and at the same time renew the platform. 

These days, the contract between Elhub and Accenture is expiring, and the transfer of operational responsibility to Cegal and Basefarm is in full swing. The first milestone in the transformation project has just been successfully completed. 

We have managed to maintain both schedule and budget. This is a very complex project where safety is paramount. Throughout the project, Cegal has shown that they have competent people, who have solved the challenges that have arisen.

Tor Bjarne Heiberg

Elhub cloud strategy 

What is Elhub's cloud strategy? Have you considered moving the platform to the cloud? 

"Elhub has very high requirements for both stability and security. Therefore, choosing a cloud solution was not an option when we designed Elhub. Among other things, because we had to know where personal data and other data were physically stored. Nobody could offer that four to five years ago", says Heiberg. 

Today, it's a different story. The IT companies can guarantee that data is stored in agreed locations. At the same time, Oracle and other technology giants have built several data centers in Europe, the Nordics and Norway. Heiberg says that Elhub today has a strategy of using the cloud where possible. 

"In the long term, we do not want to deal with boxes and hardware. This is a large cost and on-premise solutions eventually become outdated. There has been a rapid development in cloud solutions in recent years. At the same time, the cloud provides scalability and speed. With automation, we can now set up new test environments within a few hours. Previously, we used many weeks and months", says Heiberg. 

Heiberg says that Elhub has used the cloud to set up various test environments. Lately this has been done in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). He still believes that it will take some time before the Elhub platform is fully moved into the cloud. 

 

The cloud lessens technical debt 

As the leading vendor of Oracle systems in the Nordics, Cegal is an important player in the renewal of the platform and a potential future move into the cloud. One of the main challenges with a complex platform is to constantly keep it up to date on current and supported versions of all the various components included. This is a prerequisite in order to be able to maintain the necessary quality, and to avoid incurring excessively high technological debt. 

By gradually moving the systems into the cloud, the platform will also be better suited for innovation and the use of new technology services. It also provides better overall finances for Elhub since you only pay for what you use.

Frank Vikingstad, Cegal

Radical restructuring of the power market 

Elhub led to a radical restructuring of the end-user market for power. Elhub must be seen in connection with the implementation of AMS (smart electricity meters) and the platform is a necessary function to unleash the profit potential that lies in AMS. 

Elhub acts as a hub for the automatic exchange of information between network companies and power suppliers, and all these companies are digitally connected to Elhub around the clock. Every day, Elhub receives and processes 70–80 million meter values ​​and processes approximately 150,000 market messages that reflect all changes related to customer relationships and the power grid's infrastructure. 

Through Elhub, power suppliers and third parties who supply other electricity-related services have a digital interface for information that they can use in their services to the market. 

Since the start of Elhub, the end-user market has developed in a digital direction where customer dialogue is at the center through various digital platforms. New companies with disruptive technology offer services beyond what the traditional companies do. A market is currently being established where digital channels are increasingly made available to the end customers, which will provide advantages both in relation to more efficient use of electricity and better system operation among the network companies. Going forward, it will be an important task to make more information available digitally through Elhub so that the market and services can develop further. 

Elhub in itself is an important part of the puzzle in making Norway more sustainable. Efficient utilization of electricity and the electricity network are important factors in safeguarding the environment. 

A study has recently been carried out among all the market players which documents that Elhub works as intended. 

 
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