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New Registry to Improve Customer Switching Process

New Registry to Improve Customer Switching Process

The electricity industry’s new centralised Registry, the first stage of which was launched today, will ultimately make switching electricity retailer more reliable and timely.

The Registry is a national database containing unique identifiers for every point in New Zealand that is supplied with electricity, such as homes and businesses. The identifier is known as the Installation Control Point (ICP) and this number appears on all electricity bills.

The new Registry’s launch marks a significant milestone for the electricity industry. It has spent over a year cleaning-up the data contained in the old database and redesigning it to better meet the needs of electricity purchasers.

“The industry is aware of the frustrations some customers faced when trying to switch electricity suppliers and the project to redesign the Registry focused on removing those frustrations,” Chair of the MARIA Governance Board Richard Rowley said.

“We believe the new Registry will provide an improved switching process for all electricity consumers in New Zealand,” he said.

One of the key changes is that all retailers must now initiate a customer switch via the Registry. This will allow the Registry to track each switch’s progress and transfer the necessary information between all affected parties.

The new Registry will also allow retailers to search for a customer’s details via their physical address.

Previously, customers could only be located in the Registry by their ICP number.

“The new functions mean retailers will always know where in the switching process a given customer is and they can pass this information on when consumers enquire how their switch is progressing,” Mr Rowley said.

“Customers will no longer be lost in the system, as sometimes occurred in the past.”

The Registry’s implementation is a two-staged process. Stage one, which required the migration of all data from the old system to the new, was completed today.

Stage two is the activation of the new customer switching functions and will occur on Monday 21 October 2002. A two-week period is required between “go-live” of the new system and activation of the new customer switching functions, to allow industry participants time to ensure their internal systems are interfacing properly with the new Registry.

As with the introduction of any new computer system, the industry is aware of the potential for unexpected teething problems.

“Industry participants have undertaken extensive testing of the new system and we are confident there will be no significant issues,” Mr Rowley said. “However, we expect to promptly resolve any issues that may impact on the day-to-day provision of customer service.”

“Developing the new Registry was a project of significant scope and required close cooperation between retailers and lines companies”, he said.

“The Registry’s successful launch demonstrates the electricity industry’s ongoing commitment to improving the switching process for all involved.”

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