Woodruff Electric Cooperative (WEC) in Forest City, Arkansas was faced with a substantial process when it came to disconnects and reconnects at the end of the collections process. But now, according to Matthew Kelley, Manager of Information Systems, a new process implemented in 2012 allows them to perform these previously tedious tasks automatically without the need to leave their CIS system in most cases. Kelley says, “…in implementing Connect/Disconnect integration to Landis+Gyr AMI, Daffron has helped us greatly enhance service to our Membership by smoothing out our workflow, responding much more swiftly and accurately, and saving real dollars by avoiding costly truck rolls.”
WEC had been mired in a manual process that required them to create individual Service Orders for each non-paying member. Each Service Order then had to be printed and delivered to Dispatch, who would in return go into the AMI system, pull up each member and meter, and complete the disconnection process for each one. Completed Service Orders were then routed back to the front office for each one to be manually closed, updating the accounts. And when the member eventually paid, the whole process began over again for each reconnection, creating confusion and delays. It was a long and manual process, leaving the window wide open for errors, inconsistencies in handling and creating serious customer service issues at the same time.
In response to these issues, WEC looked to their CIS provider – Daffron & Associates – for a solution. Working with Landis & Gyr and using Daffron’s Toolbox software component, a direct MultiSpeak web-service integration was created, automating two-way communications between Daffron’s CIS iXp and the AMI system. WEC now benefits from a direct integration between these key systems, eliminating manual processes and creating a more consistent process for disconnections.
The resulting concept is highly intuitive. From within Daffron’s CIS iXp solution, as the collection process closes, the members who should be disconnected are determined and a disconnect request is automatically communicated to the AMI system via direct, MultiSpeak integration for those with collared meters. Once the AMI system confirms the disconnection, the CIS iXp system is updated to reflect the accurate status for each member.
Daffron was then able to take the process one step further to address situations where members make payment after the disconnection process. To improve member experiences going forward, Daffron created similar integration processes to automatically reconnect services upon payment. The whole process is now automatic; saving everyone involved time and manual effort. And perhaps just as importantly, the automated process leaves far less room for errors and omissions.