Energy billing in transforming markets

QRL_energy_billingIn competitive markets, energy supply is entering a new era. Technology changes such as smart metering, home energy management and electric vehicles are profoundly impacting everyone in the value chain, including energy retailers and the services they offer, and end customers and how they think about energy and interact with their suppliers.

Alongside technology evolution, competitive retail energy markets are seeing an enormous diversification in terms of both the types of companies supplying electricity and gas, and the range of services they offer.

These transformations are placing new demands on the billing and customer care/customer information systems used by energy retailers, and challenging the traditional utility suppliers to upgrade their solutions. At the same time, there are opportunities for new vendors with modern, flexible solutions to challenge for market share.

We are tracking this evolution and changes in the supply market and are well placed to help utilities assess their options for systems upgrades or support solutions vendors with their go-to-market strategies.

Pay-as-you-go energy services

Northern Ireland growth in prepaid electricity customersPrepayment for electricity and gas services is on the rise across the globe. In developing countries, prepaid electricity can bring a welcome end to estimated billing for consumers, while at the same time dramatically reducing non-technical losses and improving revenue collection for utilities. Elsewhere, advanced metering deployments are enabling modern pay-as-you-go electricity programmes that position prepayment as a lifestyle choice. Boosted by smart metering and mobile enabling services, prepaid energy could potentially reach similar penetration levels to mobile prepayment.

In 2015, we launched a new website to track the evolution of prepaid energy services worldwide. Please visit Prepaid Energy Hub for regular coverage of this topic, including articles, in-depth features and utility case studies.

Mobile enablers for prepaid utilities

mobilemessagingforprepaidenergytopups_newIn the span of a generation, mobile communications have become near-pervasive. Vast areas of the inhabited world are covered by GSM or later technologies and mobile phone ownership continues to rise, especially in emerging markets.

The global presence of mobile network infrastructure and a mass penetration of consumer devices can help utilities’ deliver more effective and user-friendly pay-as-you-go energy services. Low-balance alerts and other forms of mobile messaging can empower customers to take control of their energy usage and spend, while mobile payments provide a more convenient mechanism for topping up.

Head over to Prepaid Energy Hub for further discussion of how mobile infrastructure can support utilities’ prepaid services.