Metering expertise for new energy supply business

Neil Williams

16 Aug 2019

  • Client: New Entrant
  • Sector: GB Electricity & Gas Supply
  • Persona: Energy retailer
  • Size: SME (<10 employees)
  • Situation: Startup
  • Hired Tilix for:
    • Licensee consulting
    • Business architecture

The client is a new supply business which is built on years of expertise and experience in energy management. Their mission is to deliver unbeatable service to small businesses.

Challenge

The client has a collection of agents to help them meet their licence obligations around metering, balancing and settlement. More than a regulatory necessity, metering is an important component part of the client’s enterprise architecture. It is at the sharp end customer service and essential to controlling costs.

The client had a gap in their team in this area and sought help from an independent consultant in Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).

The scope includes asset management and meter data management and covers the system of technologies and partners that measure, collect, communicate, aggregate, and analyse energy usage data from metering devices.

At its core, this business function involves advanced meters and smart meters. Through fully digitised data measurement and collection, these meters offer a wealth of information to both customers and the client.

Digitising meter data introduces a set of challenges. The questions of who owns the data and, separately, who should have access to the data have implications on the types of meter data management systems that need to be in place. Issues of cyber security and privacy have also received significant public attention.

In the GB market, the mandated introduction of smart metering, while improving the access of energy usage information for customers and increasing billing accuracy, is creating problems for suppliers:

  • Suppliers’ costs are being drive up to provide the equipment, organise installation and operate the new Data Communications Company- based registration process in parallel with the existing registration process.
  • New entrant suppliers can find it difficult to contract with metering agents who have more work than they can handle thanks to the large scale Smart Metering Implementation Programme (SMIP).

Solution

The approach was consultative, client-driven and tailored to meet the client’s needs and operational requirements.

Bringing market insight and established relationships, tilix.energy helped The client set up their metering operations by sourcing partners and putting contracts in place covering legacy, smart and AMR technology across:

  • DR: Data retriever, who visits customer sites and obtains meter readings from legacy meters.
  • MOP & MAM: Site works, maintenance, fault resolution and the telecommunication infrastructure necessary to provide the client with consumption data.
  • DC/DA: Data Collector (DC) is responsible for validating meter readings and calculating consumption. The Data Aggregator (DA)is responsible for aggregating consumption and submitting it into the settlement process.
  • MAP: Meter Asset Provider (MAP) is a company that owns a meter and rents it to the client.
  • PEMS: Post-Emergency Metering Services are provided following an emergency call-out on a gas distribution network.

In this case tilix.energy provided light-touch assistance with the option to extend to fully managed services – including managing agents, eliciting supply point requirements, metering, administration and site monitoring.

Benefits

Through support from tilix.energy, the client enjoyed independent advice and expert opinion. With the metering solution deployed the client is in a strong position to gain operational savings from reduced pedestrian reads, meter read validation and accurate billing.

Beyond the aspects of billing and customer use of meter data, The client could benefit from analysing meter data with other data sets to draw important insight into the effectiveness of the current approach and into future business planning.

For example, the value of the client’s metering function could be an enabler for new billing options, new rates, distributed generation with smart inverters, demand response controls and smart appliances.

About Tilix

Tilix is a boutique management consultancy which supports energy suppliers with a range of technical services in metering.

Tilix has a deep understanding of the energy supply value chain and regularly help suppliers engage with metering agents. Tilix experience includes working with suppliers, meter manufacturers, MOPs, MAM, MAP, DNO etc.

Tilix expertise spans legacy metering, advanced metering, smart metering and sub-metering. We offer partnership brokering, enterprise architecture, project management, business analysis, development, testing and operational services.

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