Northpower improves billing accuracy


Whangarei, New Zealand — (METERING.COM) — January 11, 2008 – New Zealand utility Northpower has celebrated its go-live on a new network billing and asset management system from Talgentra, known as Gentrack Velocity. Talgentra is a Bayard Group owned enterprise software company specializing in billing, meter data and customer management solutions for the utility industry.

Through deployment of Gentrack Velocity, Northpower has successfully automated many of its network billing and energy retailer reconciliation processes, improving its overall billing accuracy. Northpower has also consolidated the management of its metering asset data onto Gentrack. This successful implementation of Gentrack 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 dramatically 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. This automation and application of Gentrack’s integrated workflows and data management tools, has also enabled Northpower to refine and improve its billing processes.  

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.

Mr Dempster adds: “We see the move to Gentrack as a strategic investment for our business. As a community owned entity, we continually strive to optimise our operations and profitability while ensuring supply and reliability needs are met. With the automation Gentrack brings to the entire billing and asset management environment, the risks and inefficiencies associated with our otherwise manual based processes have been removed, and the quality of our data is significantly improved”.

Northpower is also an active participant in New Zealand’s biannual Network ThinkGroup, a networking forum established and facilitated by Talgentra specifically for energy distributors using Gentrack. This active working group meets to discuss industry issues, trends, and new regulatory directives set by the Electricity Commission, and collectively explores business and operational improvement opportunities through application of the Gentrack solution.