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TML Online Electricity Prepayment Service



Attention Chief Reporters Wellington-based Total Metering Limited (TML) has made the transition to a `clicks and mortar' company by developing a suite of e-commerce based electricity services.

The first of these online services to be released is ElectT PrePay, which is a revolutionary new Internet based system that will allow electricity retailers to provide better services to their customers while improving their revenue management.

ElectT PrePay halves the cost of providing prepayment services for electricity retailers by providing an online business-to- business back office system for prepaid electricity sales.

For electricity retailers it reduces administration costs by eliminating billing, meter reading, remittance processing, debt collection, postage and other cost factors.

It allows customers to improve their budgeting and consumption management and to avoid connection and reconnection charges and delays. It also does away with the need for customers to lodge a deposit when opening an account with an electricity retailer.

TML will host the ElectT PrePay Application Service Provider platform for electricity retailers, who will use the system to provide prepay services to their residential and commercial customers.

The retailers will be able to sell electricity across retail counters using EFTPOS type devices and web-based appliances. The system has also been designed to accommodate future modules that will allow the integration of prepayment services for utilities like gas, water and cellular telephones.

TML Chief Executive Dean Gowans says ElectT PrePay is a world first electricity prepay business-to-business transaction management system and it should revolutionize payment processes for electricity retailers selling electricity to their customers.

"It opens up great opportunities for existing and new retailers to enter and sell energy services without having to invest in complex and costly billing and transaction infrastructure.

"Industry pundits have for sometime predicted how the Internet and new E-commerce driven technologies and strategies will impact the utility sector. The ElectT PrePay system marks the starting point in a revolution of new net-enabled offerings that will assist in lowering the cost of utility administration.

"The recently released electricity industry inquiry noted of the importance of prepayment electricity in the community, but pointed out some electricity retailers were withdrawing from providing this service."

However, Mr Gowans says many of the electricity retailers now offering prepayment solutions have been hindered by high cost legacy systems or poorly integrated services.

"Consequently, many of these prepayment electricity services are unprofitable and unsustainable in their current form."

David Talbot, National Sales Manager, Elect PrePay says ElectT PrePay significantly lowers the overall service cost per customer by up to 50%, when compared to existing electricity prepayment systems, making it attractive for them to offer prepayment services."

"Electricity retailers with legacy systems can migrate their current prepay customers to ElectT Prepay with minimal hassle and cost, as TML offers a complete turnkey prepay solution covering meter supply & installation to online access to ElectT PrePay."

"The main capital cost for electricity retailers deciding to use ElectT PrePay is in acquiring and installing of the new meters. TML can eliminate this by providing meters to electricity retailers on a rental basis.

"ElectT PrePay is an open system, allowing retailers or customers to choose the make and model of prepayment meter that they install, maintaining the open and competitive market for metering meters."

Dean Gowans says, "ElectT PrePay is at the forefront of this e- commerce revolution for the energy markets.

"Because it dramatically lowers the cost of prepayment technology it has the potential to substantially change the face of electricity buying in New Zealand and elsewhere.

"This element of our package of solutions has significant international potential. For example, in Britain there are 3.5 million prepay electricity customers, so we see opportunities for the technology not just in New Zealand, but in other markets like mainland Europe, Asia and North America."

"There are also massive opportunities in places like India where only about 30% of meter bills read are actually collected.

"Bear Stearns a US investment bank forecasts that "$90 billion in energy will be transacted by e-commerce by 2003, making energy one of the largest Internet markets."

TML's second e-commerce initiative, called ElectT TOU, will be released in the 3rd Quarter of this year. ElectT TOU is an online service for time-of-use commercial electricity customers.

TML recently completed a near $1 million export contract for intelligent electricity supply systems for part of a multi-media super corridor development in Malaysia. This exercise involved it providing a fully integrated system for advanced metering, automatic meter reading, billing and trouble management services within a major metropolitan development.

Formed in 1994, TML is a Wellington-based organization with a 25- strong development team. The company is focused on meeting the international utility sector's need for communication and metering platforms, in the wake of electricity sector deregulation.

Publicly listed Hellaby Holdings Ltd became TML's cornerstone shareholders in August last year. Its added resources have helped pave the way for TML to further develop its sophisticated systems and to tailor them for international markets.


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