Today, everything can be connected, but connecting the dots doesn’t always result in a clear picture. In the race to build an interconnected, data-rich environment we must be intentional about adding valuable, actionable connections, or else the picture becomes less clear. Knowing which data to collect and how it can positively or negatively affect every area of your business is extremely important.
As a utility, you have been analyzing data for years. You gather information about consumption, calculate rates according to regulatory requirements, and determine how much the consumer must pay. However, with the advent of Advanced Meter Information (AMI) systems and Meter Data Management (MDM) systems, the amount and depth of data to be analyzed is increasing at exponential rates. In order to properly analyze this data in a way that adds value to your utility, new tools and software are needed.
You may be saying, “How does this affect me?” Let’s take a look at the big picture. The following people and processes can be positively affected by implementing the right data analysis tools.
|· General Managers
· City Clerks
· Security Team
· Service Crews
· Purchasing Clerks
· Internal and External Auditors
· Board of Directors
|· Prepaid Billing
· Consumer Self-Service
· Automating Manual Processes
· Budget Forecasting
· Rate Structuring
· Automatic Connects/Disconnects
· Infrastructure Integrity
· Service and Work Orders
· Inventory Management
· Distributed Energy Resources
· Demand Response
As you can see, gathering, connecting, and analyzing data the right way can affect every area of your organization. If you are on the list of people, or have anything to do with any of the mentioned processes, you need to understand data analysis tools and how they can benefit you.
Case Study – Data Analysis and the Utility Billing Cycle
Mike Fawley, Manager of Data Processing and Customer Service at HEC, understands the need to leverage and manage the data.
“MDM provides the link to access usage down to the hour, giving our consumers the control to monitor or change usage habits.
Daffron eBusiness gives our consumers real-time access to their account information. CSRs and consumers can review online daily and hourly usage and can view, print, or email the PDF report. CSRs can also answer high usage complaints more efficiently. No more truck rolls.
The HEC Mission Statement is, ‘To provide Reliable Service at a Competitive Rate in a Courteous Manner.’ Daffron MDM allows us to accomplish and exceed our Mission Statement. The Daffron team is awesome to work with, developing the right MDM solutions for Harrisonburg Electric Commission.
By partnering with the Daffron team to implement an MDM solution, we can trust the accuracy of the data and meet the challenges of growing data. We can’t wait to work with the Daffron team on the next challenge for HEC: Automatic Service Orders.”
What is the best way for your utility to enhance the tools used for its billing cycle?
HEC addressed this challenge by utilizing multiple Daffron solutions:
- MDMiXp is used to gather and analyze meter data;
- eBusiness allows customer self-service on the web or mobile device; and
- Secure payment processing allows consumers to make payments from anywhere through a secure payment gateway.
HEC is able to present consumers with monthly, daily, and hourly reads that have been tested and calculated by integrating MDMiXp with their Customer Information System (CISiXp). Our MDMiXp solution stands out from the competition because it incorporates a rigorous validation process to ensure that the meter information is accurate before allowing it into CISiXp.
In turn, HEC’s CISiXp is connected in real time to eBusiness, which consumers can access from the web or native mobile app. eBusiness allows consumers to manage multiple services and locations, as well as the ability to review usage, billing, and payment history for standard or prepaid accounts.
Some of the most convenient features for the consumer are the payment options. Consumers can pay from anywhere via debit, credit, or ACH using recurring or one-time payment profiles, with real-time integration to the billing system.
HEC realized that presenting the consumer with the best possible information, and the most convenient way to pay is not the end of the billing cycle. Consumers must also be provided with a payment process that meets the highest level of security.
That is why Daffron partners with Vantiv (now WorldPay, Inc.) to offer a secure, cost-effective payment processing tool that helped ease PCI requirements for HEC, while increasing consumer satisfaction.
Find out how Daffron can help your Utility
By utilizing these tools from Daffron, your utility can also see improvements in the following areas:
- Consumer satisfaction
- Consumer awareness and consumption
- Increased payment completion
- Reduced collection time and resources
- Prepaid billing opportunities
About Harrisonburg Electric Commission (HEC)
For more than 50 years, the Harrisonburg Electric Commission (HEC) has provided the citizens and businesses of Harrisonburg with reliable electric service at the most competitive rates.
HEC serves over 20,000 customers including residential, commercial, industrial, and government entities within the city limits of Harrisonburg. As our customer base continues to grow, our quality of service remains our number one priority. We continue to focus our efforts on how we can best serve each customer’s needs and be an active part of our community.
Learn more about HEC at https://www.harrisonburgelectric.com/about.
About Daffron & Associates, Inc.
For over 40 years, Daffron has provided enterprise-wide utility solutions for electric cooperatives, multi-service municipal utilities, and investor-owned utilities. This includes our Internet browser-based solutions which are highly functional, easy to use, reduce paper and manual processes, and ensure improved workflow for improved staff training. We also offer comprehensive application software and services for the utility industry, including electric, water, and gas utilities in the United States, Canada, and internationally.
Learn more about Daffron at https://daffron.com/company.