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UTILIT Y REVENUES & DATA

EXPERT OPINION:

It’s not about selling more energy The energy companies are about to experience a massive data influx due to the roll-out of smart meters. M2M Now’s deputy editor, Georgina Elrington, sat down with Miguel Mendes, director of utilities market at WeDo Technologies, to find out about harmonising the integral sources and platforms responsible for revenue. M2M Now: So, what exactly is the issue currently? MTM: Well, one example is when you look at the billing part of the value chain you have to make sure that every invoice is sent to every active customer. Occasionally, for some reason, this doesn’t happen and that’s a direct hit to the utility. Miguel Torrão Mendes, utilities market director, WeDo Technologies

When you consider its overall revenue even a small percentage of missed billing, like 1% or even 0.1%, represents a notable loss. If you then drill down another layer, and address a single invoice, every item needs to be billed but some get missed – which is another direct impact. A business assurance approach can help spot inaccuracies like that. Business assurance is a very simple concept. We take raw data from the operational systems and compare it between the systems, checking for inconsistencies. When we find these, and we do, we analyse it and find out what impact those irregularities will have in terms of business and operational aspects. Another way to put it is, when you find and address the inconsistencies in raw data, you will harness more revenue. M2M Now: What other benefits are there from a business assurance approach?

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MTM: Smart meters are set to increase the data flow to the utility companies by 2,000%. That’s 32,000* meter readings per customer per year. But it’s not just about the smart meter data deluge. For instance, when a utility gets a new customer, licence obligations stipulate that a new meter must be installed within a certain timeframe or penalties will be incurred. We’re discovering that sometimes the subcontractors, who go out into the field to

M2M Now October 2013

read, install or repair meters, are being paid twice for the same job. Of course this shouldn’t happen, but it does. By having all the right information flowing seamlessly, utility companies can ensure that everything at every stage gets done – and done just once – which saves money. That’s why we evolved our approach from ‘revenue assurance’ to ‘business assurance’, because we look at both elements. M2M Now: How else can the utilities turn new data into profit? MTM: At the moment the utilities are largely concerned with selling more electricity or gas. To extract more value – aside from existing opportunities in the system – they will have to offer more services. To do that, they need to understand more about their consumers and look to their needs. So, from the information that will be available from smart meter data, we will probably start to see the energy companies developing some very complex tariff clients as they learn more about their users’ habits. However, while some are really trying to build and test some intricate plans, their billing systems are not well-prepared so the impact on the customer is noticeable, usually resulting in dissatisfaction. This is what happened in the telco sector some 10 to 15 years ago. With mobile phones we saw lots of complex tariff plans that were difficult to unravel. Customers didn’t really understand what they were being offered or what they were getting. I believe that the utilities will have a similar learning curve. This is a very interesting challenge that needs to be addressed, and another example of how a business assurance approach can help.

In Association with WeDo Technologies

Profile for Prestige Media

M2M Now Magazine October 2013 Edition  

The latest product, people & market news from the Machine to Machine sector. Includes expert industry opinions and interviews.

M2M Now Magazine October 2013 Edition  

The latest product, people & market news from the Machine to Machine sector. Includes expert industry opinions and interviews.

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