All about Billing
In an interview with Smart Energy International, Alex Leslie, Executive Director of the Global Billing Association (GBA), talks about the Association and trends in billing.
Please begin by telling us about yourself?
I used to run my own small conference company and ended up specialising in telecoms. In 1992 a consultancy came to me and said “Why don’t you do a conference on billing systems,” and I thought they were nuts because I had no real idea of what they were on about. Nevertheless we put it together and we were expecting maybe 40 people to show up but it attracted just over 200 people.
Straight Talk on CRM and CIS
Putting the organisational complexities of CRM/CIS into perspective is a daunting task. It begins with the need to ensure that the jargon has the same meaning for everyone.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a method for maintaining control of the customer from the prospect phase to the provisioning phase to the billing phase to the customer care phase, to ensure customer acquisition, product or service delivery and, most important, customer loyalty and the integrity of the revenue stream. Managing interaction with the customer through all these phases will mean he is less likely to search for a competitor’s product or service.
How Customer-centric are you?
There is no more profound result of the Internet and general availability of information technology than the shift of power from institutions to individuals. This impact is more profound than simply the availability of information to the masses, or the ability to derive intelligence by processing this information.
What the individual has at his/her fingertips is the complete picture of the market and the options presented by the market. Whether this picture is available today to energy consumers matters little. The fact is it will be available to them soon enough and they will act on not only their complete picture of the reality of their energy options, but also on its relation to every other market picture available to them.
If there can be any doubt that customer relationship management and
customer information systems (CRM/CIS) are a fact of 21st century life, there
also should be little doubt of their increasing importance in a competitive,
deregulated energy industry.
It is no longer a case of where, but when, according to the state and pace of deregulation, more advanced in the UK and New Zealand, for example, less so in the US and Germany, and hardly at all in the developing world.
Adapting Lithium Battery Technology to High Performance AMR Devices
Increasingly sophisticated utility meter AMR devices require increasingly powerful lithium battery solutions. The latest generation of AMR devices,which use improved technology, are feature-rich and power-hungry. This means that more is required of the batteries that power them.
Battery manufacturers are under continual pressure to respond to the changing needs of AMR manufacturers, including adapting current lithium battery technology to reduce size, weight and costs. At the same time, battery manufacturers must find new ways to increase capacity to handle the high current pulses of AMR devices.
European Measuring Instruments Directive - What Progress?
In Issue 1 2000 of Smart Energy International, Roger Ford provided an overview of the Measuring Instruments Directive (MID) and its potential impact on the market for meters. He thought then that its completion was imminent. In fact, the ‘final’ version was not submitted as a proposal until late last year, and even that was just the start of a new phase which is still under way.
New Developments in Meter Testing:Total Meter Quality Management
Electrical energy meter manufacturers and their customers have seen fundamental changes in their markets over the last three decades. Highly sophisticated meters with a wide range of functions have been introduced. At the same time privatisation of the power industry has led to enormous pressure on manufacturers to increase functionality and, simultaneously, to reduce prices. The effect of all this is that component and production costs have been forced down, and R&D times have had to be cut in order to give a reduced ‘Time to Market' for new products.
New Developments in Current Sensors in Solid State Meters
In recent years, there has been a rapid incr-ease in the market share for the solid state energy meter. Tens of millions of solid state meters are deployed annually worldwide.
Modern solid state electric meters contain both voltage and current sensing elements. Voltage sensing is typically achieved by dividing down the line voltage using a resistor divider or a potential transformer when isolation from the line is required. However, current sensing is a much more difficult problem. Not only does the current sensor require a much wider measurement dynamic range, but it also needs to handle a much wider frequency range, because of the rich harmonic content in the current waveform.
Poverty Tariffs - A Novel Implementation
The primary objective of the Poverty Tariff is to supply a preset amount of electricity to all the people of South Africa at pre-determined period frequencies, free of charge.
Most manufacturers and solution providers have been busy developing solutions for the industry in recent months. The challenge is to provide a free amount of electricity (and possibly other commodities) to all users by developing a solution which will have minimum impact on the current infrastructure, both in terms of cost and implementation time.
Location: Miami, Florida
Presenter: Chris Greenwell
Abstract: In this paper Greenwell explains the service bureau branch in the energy with reference to meter data collection and the issues surrounding it. In particular he focusses on the unbundling of utility functions are creati
Providing tomorrow's energy management and metering tools today
Commercial and industrial (C&I) customers use EnergyICT hardware and software solutions to manage energy and save on purchasing costs, while energy traders benefit from real time information over the Internet by using Web-enabled RTU™ hardware and the EIServer™ systems. The company provides non-traditional, open solutions without proprietary protocols, using standards such as TCP/IP, HTTP, Mail and XML. Deregulation requires the exchange of more and more energy information. Using e-commerce standards makes a great deal of sense, because they are already widely accepted and all the tools are available. The newest electronic data interchange standards are based on XML (extended markup language). Metering companies have to forward the collected consumption data (MSCons) in an XML file, by e-mail. So why does the meter still talk IEC1107?
California crisis sparks U.S. re-regulation trend
California, which historically had the highest electric rates in the nation, was the first state to open its electric market to competition, in April 1998. The first year of deregulation ran comparatively well, or at least without widespread problems. However, a volatile mix of factors – including insufficient in-state power supply, dramatic increases in demand, rate freezes, and regulatory requirements that locked utilities into buying power on the spot market – all combined to reveal an inherently flawed competitive model.