Utility completes 12 month billing system upgrade

360 degree view of customer

ACT energy and water supplier, ActewAGL has completed a 12 month upgrade implementing a new utility billing system and customer management software across Australia and New Zealand.

The Gentrack billing system has been in operation since 1994 but the arrival of full retail competition forced a full review of existing systems.

ActewAGL supplies electricity, gas and water to more than 150,000 homes in the ACT.

Following an intensive review of current solutions, ActewAGL chose Gentrack Velocity as the preferred solution to deliver the advantages required to compete successfully in a full retail contestable market.

Architecture was simplified for enterprise application integration within the business to support effective customer sign-up, real-time reporting and market interfacing to MSATS and market participants.

ActewAGL was looking to streamline its billing and customer care systems and eliminate any duplication or manual processing while still having full access to data in the open Oracle database.

The 360 degree view of the customer in Gentrack was seen clearly as delivering major advantages in such a competitive market where it's all about the customer, according to ActewAGL CIO, Carsten Larsen.

"Although one of the main drivers for system and process consolidation was efficiency, our board made it clear that any major IT investment must result in significant customer service and competitive benefits," Larsen explained.

"Therefore, a fundamental requirement of the new system was support for the multitude of services that ActewAGL currently provides, as well as support for the development of new products we intend to provide to our customers."

It took 12 months for ActewAGL to migrate billing, customer care, service order, collections and B2B interfacing functionality on to the Gentrack Velocity platform.

As a true multi-utility billing platform, Gentrack Velocity enables ActewAGL to offer dual fuel statements to its customers - both residential and commercial, as well as incorporating water, waste water, ISP and other services in a single statement.

"Work flow tools enables call centre staff to capture customer data quickly and accurately, and to ensure that appropriate switching processes and works orders are actioned and monitored effectively," Larsen said.

"A major benefit realised by the upgrade is in the area of market settlement and transfer solution (MSATS) integration, where automated file transfer and direct population of the Gentrack database with data from this market registry has replaced previously resource-intensive processes, reducing errors and improving productivity.

"Billing teams are also seeing a reduction in billing errors and faster bill exception handling through the use of Gentrack Velocity's automated online bill validation capabilities, reducing the number of billing queries to customer service teams."

Overall, Larsen is pleased with the decision to consolidate systems on to Velocity.

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