Energy Sector

Data Disaster... The Real Energy Supplier Challenge

December 18, 2019

One of the huge trends in the UK Energy Industry in the past year has been the struggle for small to medium sized suppliers to go out of business. There are many causes for this however one common trend appears to be related what’s known as unbilled supplies. This is where a supply has been brought into the energy supplier however the energy supplier has received incorrect or missing data relating to the supply resulting in the inability to bill customers accurately.

The affect has compounding issues as the supplier doesn’t only miss out on the bill value from the customer it also has to pay for the supply usage since the supply came to the supplier.

THE ENERGY SUPPLIERS NEEDS

We recently worked with a client in this very situation. They were looking to improve their unbilled rate to improve cash-flow and maximize efficiencies within the business. Up to the point we were involved the supplier had thrown more and more people at the problem to manually work through data to get to a point where a supply would then become billable. This is very manual work intensive where individuals working flat out could look to resolve a handful of unbilled accounts within a few hours.Another huge problem the energy supplier was facing was around the workload of resolving unbilled account issues being a reactive process, where the account was only know to be unbilled after an end of month bill run or when an adhoc bill was attempted during normal BAU.

THE CHALLENGES

Some of the major issues when dealing with unbilled account data is the lack of consistent issues. Very rarely is only one or two pieces of data causing the account to be unbillable, regularly a data fix could be made to only then uncover another follow up issue. The data age itself can be an issue where over the years new features, industry flows or data “fixes” were made leaving some data to be inaccurate.

OUR SOLUTION

Turning the reactive to the proactive. By leveraging our vast amount of industry specific experience in designing and building energy billing systems we started to analyse trends within the data sets,identifying accounts which would be determined to be unbillable due to missing or inaccurate data.

We made these large brush strokes and categorized data as best we could in order to be able to tackle problems in bulk, instead if fixing one accountant a time. :-

  • Tariff Data Missing
  • Account Type Data Incorrect
  • Incorrect Meter Type against supply

We built a now only a reporting solution where many of the issues were identified but also a workflow tool which could be resolve the majority of data issues automatically, this left only a minority of issues where manual intervention to resolve issues was required these were flagged up to the energy suppliers back-office staff with areal-time dashboard allowing staff to manage the account into a billable situation.

Our passion is helping business with data, we love to get data and software right. If you would like to find out more then please leave a comment or get in touch with us by calling 0131-473-1130 or emailing us at contact@databasepartners.co.uk.

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