Northpower goes live with network billing and asset management system


Whangarei, New Zealand — (METRING.COM) — January 23, 2008 – New Zealand utility Northpower has gone live with a new network billing and asset management system which will improve billing accuracy and the management of its metering asset data. The system – Gentrack Velocity – has allowed the utility to automate many of its network billing and energy retailer reconciliation processes, while the management of metering asset data has been consolidated onto Gentrack.

The successful implementation of Gentrack, a flagship product of Talgentra Ltd, takes the percentage of electricity installation connection points (ICPs) managed within Gentrack nationally to 65% or 1.3 million.

Richard Dempster, Northpower’s Divisional Network Assets Manager, commented: “Our vision is to become the best rural network company in New Zealand, and to support this vision we need strong systems to support our people and our business. Given Gentrack’s extensive user base and proven capabilities, we knew it was the best solution available. We had a number of key objectives to meet as a result of this project, none more important than improving the accuracy of our network billing and asset information. Following extensive testing and the successful go live, we are now well on the way to meeting these objectives.”

Northpower owns and manages one of the most consistently efficient energy distribution networks in New Zealand, securing the supply of electricity to some 52,000 homes and businesses across the Northland region. In common with most of the other distributors in New Zealand, a sizeable amount of Northpower’s revenue is derived from network charges, calculated by applying meter consumption data provided by energy retailers to appropriate network tariffs. The deployment of Gentrack has improved the speed and accuracy of this network billing process, replacing internally developed systems which typically required manual input.

The new system, running on a Windows/SQL technology platform, simplifies the management of Northpower’s network tariffs and automates the upload and validation of consumption files from energy retailers such as Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, Mercury Energy and Contact Energy.

In addition to consolidating and automating network billing activities, Northpower has leveraged the system’s latest meter asset management capabilities. In contrast to other network providers in New Zealand, Northpower owns 99% of the meters on its network and consequently places a high emphasis on meter reliability. Northpower now uses Gentrack to manage these meter assets, with the system interfacing directly to a master asset register and WASP system for accurate scheduling of meter testing, maintenance and replacement programs.