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12 - 14 November 2019 | CTICC, South Africa

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You don’t have to keep dealing with lost revenues in 2019!

Legacy Meters are not going to disappear

Legacy or OLD meters are still going to be measuring the electricity use of many of your customers. We can keep talking about new smart meters that are now being connected in many places around the world and even on your network. We can talk about smart meters that are exciting and future-focused and can be monitored remotely, and achieve much more, but we all know it that you will still have old legacy meters monitoring much of the electricity consumption for years to come. Rather than expect everyone to switch all of them overnight, there must be solutions to deal with the revenue leakage that is an integral part of having to deal with legacy meters.

Reporting and inputting the correct usage based on legacy meters is problematic in many ways

Legacy Meters don’t always record the proper usage – this is a known glitch in revenues. There have been many cases reported of legacy meters malfunctioning or simple tampering such as spinning the meter backward or just making them stop, as well as other techniques to prevent them from recording the correct usage.  This creates a situation where revenues are not claimed because usage is not recorded. Customers also show disbelief in the measurements they are faced with.

On top of this, electric companies have to send human staff to collect usage information, which can cause error and delay, numbers can be lost or written down incorrectly, and usage can be missed. This leaves open a full path for fraud and leakage. Since we have established that that legacy meters are here to stay for a few more years, we need to deal with their issues and overcome them.

Wireless metering terminals are not the Messiah

For some, to overcome the legacy meter usage reading issues that all electric companies have to deal with, several leading vendors have developed wireless metering terminals. These terminals are handheld scanners that the people reading the meters are given to report the usage.  These terminals read the numbers and send the information with wireless communications to the central operations. The business case for buying these wireless meter readers was to deal with the inaccuracies of legacy systems. Companies wanted to make inputting the meter reading into the billing system less prone to mistakes and fraud.

With these terminals came new problems. – To begin with, the terminals are very expensive to procure and maintain, as any malfunction requires expensive technician time, often searching for unique parts that are not mass-produced. Sometimes the terminals fail, or are temporarily not in use, bringing us back to square one, manual meter reading. These terminals have proven to be a complex investment and not a complete solution.

Changing owners of a legacy meter is a very complicated task – it is lengthy, it requires manual intervention and back-end processes. This is a typical fail point

It is a fact, every day, people move, they change their homes, they change their work location. Legacy meters are set up for buildings and units and apartments, physical locations that stay in the same place. New tenants need to be paired to old meters. The process of changing owners poses many challenges for electric companies. Making sure that tenants pay for what they used on exit, making sure the people arriving will pay from the day they moved in. Ensuring no one can use the electricity if the property is empty. These changes have room for mistakes and handover is not smooth.

In an ideal world, this process should happen through self-care. People should be able to report that they are no longer using a unit, they pay for their use to date, etc.  The processes today are long, complicated and full of mistakes. Not only should the meters be connected correctly, but there also needs to be a 360 view of the customer in other systems including the call center, the invoicing, the billing, that should be included in the change of ownership update.  These situations are known to create terrible experiences for electric companies and their customers.

Because the business support systems of many electric companies are not connected between the domains of the service provider, the file exchange systems, and batch processes that occur overnight and off-line, changes and updates are not seen on the CRM systems in real-time. In short, the process of change ownership become an entirely in cohesive process.

The best practice for meter reading should be reading them continuously

The best practice for meter reading should be continuous, that way customers know where they stand at all times, and how big their bill is going to be. The process of sending out the information a month late for two months usage is really not ideal. This lengthy process can even create revenue leaks because customers move and are not there to pay their bill for their use!

When electric companies use manual meter reading processes for legacy meters, the cycle is to send people to read the meters once a month or perhaps once in two months. These long periods of time between readings create a higher risk of revenues leakage and higher stakes to motivate false reading. A modern successful utility company delivers clear and detailed bills on time and gets paid on time by all its customers because customers can see how much they have consumed at any given time.

Minimizing revenue leaks from electric use metering, with a new smart and innovative way of thinking!

So what is our approach?

  1. We acknowledge we need to read legacy meters
  2. We find a way to read the meters using low-cost, simple devices
  3. We create an application that depends on visual proof, a photo – not a person reading or writing numbers.
  4. We create the ability for self-service – reading your meter and sending your information so you can get a bill once a week, not every two months
  5. We create the ability to pre-pay for electricity just like pre-paying for mobile phone services
  6. We create an automatic update of all systems that the electric company uses – immediately without a batch offline process.
  7. We save your company this huge revenue leak.

You don’t have to suffer from revenue leaks!

Our software solution provides support for utility companies, including billing, collection and customer management. We offer affordable, easily implemented, fast time-to-market, reliable, agile solutions that handle all aspects of your utility business.

Our solutions are real-time, automated, and allow for complex billing and CRM. We can blend in with your existing system to modernize it. On top of this, we:

  • Handle both prepaid and postpaid electricity billing and payment systems.
  • Create multiple tariffs, and flexible invoice runs throughout the month.
  • Create multiple hierarchies for controlling prepaid top-up cards and PIN allocation.
  • Connect to any payment system.
  • Offer a 360° CRM view of each customer that is fully integrated and fully interactive with a Self-Care web page.
  • Enable total control of the utility company’s staff, to define and restrict staff access allowances/permissions.
  • For simple meters, we provide the Metersnap application, which helps ensure zero fraud by enabling accurate meter reading using a smartphone.
  • For smart meters, we offer an application that is connected to each meter.

Take control in 2019 and stop your legacy meter revenue leaks.

Do you need help or maybe you just want to hear our take on your situation? We’re just a phone call away and happy to talk.

Read more on these topics

The Metersnap Application - Prevents fraud and high metering costs for legacy meters.
Metersnap fraud prevention for legacy meters

Metersnap enables a meter reading to be digitally captured, instead of having to get the reading manually. Manual meter reading is time-consuming and often plagued by fraudulent behavior. Metersnap eliminates the potential for fraud and ensures greater accuracy for billing.

Metersnap in short:

  • Can be used on any Android device.
  • Capture electricity usage. The meter serial number is registered in the customer’s name, which links the meter with the customer. Usage is in kilowatts
  • Updates the system automatically, and can buffer usage data without a connection
  • Logs a picture of the meter reading, as well as usage information, users, time and the meter serial number. Collectively, this information can serve as an audit trail.

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