Victorian power companies CitiPower and Powercor have appointed Chris Eriksen as their new general manager for IT to oversee a transformation program focusing on the convergence between IT and operational technology.
Before taking up the post in January, Eriksen had spent more than four-and-a-half-years as the IT general manager at mining giant Roy Hill, and has also served in senior IT-related roles at AMP and NAB.
Prior to the appointment, the position of acting chief information officer had been filled by one-time Medibank IT chief Brett Winn.
Eriksen told iTnews one of her first projects would be to introduce advanced analytics capabilities to build on the company’s existing applications, which allow customers and employees to view data including faults and outages.
“People may look at the electricity industry and could consider it a bit dry. In fact, the contrary is true. It is one of the most exciting industries to be in at the moment and the IT opportunities are immense,” Eriksen said.
“IT/OT [operational technology] convergence and the internet of things are creating more opportunities to leverage advanced analytics. As an example, this convergence can provide greater insight into network performance for advanced monitoring purposes which enables improved electricity supply quality and resilience for our customers.”
Eriksen said her first priority was to build on the strength of the existing team, and “leverage opportunities” across DevOps, agile, cloud services and multi-sourcing.
“We already have a culture of ‘bringing the outside in’, which means constantly scanning other industries and technology developments and translating these into tangible improvement and innovation within Powercor/CitiPower,” Eriksen said.
“IT is now a world of increasing ambiguity and uncertainty. I see this as a huge opportunity. Acting on this with urgency, performance, ingenuity and purpose will ensure IT a central conduit to business success.”
Powercor is an electricity distribution company that operates throughout western Victoria and the western suburbs of Melbourne, while Citipower maintains the power grid in the Melbourne’s inner suburbs and CBD.
The companies are both joint ventures of Cheung Kong Infrastructure, Power Assets Holdings and Spark Infrastructure, which also own or operate TransGrid in NSW and SA Power Networks in South Australia.