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TrustPower selects DataCol metering management system

TrustPower selects DataCol metering management system

New system offers TrustPower greater efficiencies across the reading of 500,000 meters

Christchurch, New Zealand. 23 May 2011. New Zealand Energy retailer TrustPower, has announced the purchase from Kiwi company DataCol, of a meter reading and data management system called SevenX for the management of reading approximately 500,000 electricity meters.

DataCol CEO Bruce Franks says the purchase is further evidence of TrustPower’s outstanding customer focus. “TrustPower has made the right decision to focus on the efficiency and quality of their existing meter reading activities, rather than invest in smart metering before that technology can deliver real benefits to the New Zealand consumer.”

Benefits organisations like TrustPower can gain from SevenX include achieving greater efficiency in the collection of meter data, while at the same time improving the quality of the information gathered, says Mr Franks.

“This means TrustPower can continue providing superior customer service while still making the most of its existing metering and data processing resources”, Mr Franks says. “We are increasingly seeing utilities throughout Australia and New Zealand focussing more on improving the efficiency of traditional manual reading and taking the time to align business processes before the inevitable move to smart metering.”

“Utilities are seeing the value a flexible solution like SevenX can have on their organisation’s existing meter reading processes rather than rushing too quickly into smart metering, until that can be shown to deliver benefits to both utilities and customers at a reasonable cost.”

Mr Franks says with SevenX, DataCol is providing an affordable and open alternative to the expensive, proprietary systems typically used by utilities for managing meter reading.

TrustPower’s Field Service Manager Retail, Stuart Milsom says, its data collection team are “regularly complimented by industry leaders and authorities for the quality of the service they provide, and for achieving some of the best data attainment results in the electricity industry”.

“Moving to DataCol’s SevenX data collection system has allowed us to become even more efficient, not only in the collection of consumption data, but also in the recording of additional information that will assist us to improve our already excellent customer service. In addition, it assists TrustPower to be even more responsive in what is a constantly changing industry environment.”

Starting business in 1925, TrustPower has grown to be New Zealand's fifth largest electricity retailer, and fifth largest electricity generator.

In New Zealand, TrustPower owns 36 small to medium size Hydro Generating Stations, two large Wind Farms, one of which is New Zealand largest, and a further Wind Farm at Snowtown in South Australia. With assets of over $2 Billion, TrustPower is majority New Zealand owned, and listed on the New Zealand stock exchange.

TrustPower’s data collection team currently collects meter readings for TrustPower’s 220,000 mass market retail customers located throughout New Zealand.

“We are something of a rarity in our industry having, in the interests of better customer service, chosen to employ our own meter readers, rather than contract the function out. As a consequence, we have meter readers, in our uniform and driving TrustPower branded vehicles, spread as far afield as Kaitaia, Invercargill, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Timaru and Greymouth, giving us a truly a nation long and wide data collection service”, Stuart Milsom says.

DataCol’s direct industry experience and knowledge sets it apart from other providers of metering technology for the utility sector, particularly software vendors. Established in 1999, DataCol has over 200 employees and contractors and gained widespread recognition for its service commitment and levels of innovation.

A fully owned subsidiary of New Zealand energy distribution company Electra, DataCol has offices in New Zealand and Australia. The Electra Group’s turnover is around $69 million with total assets of $169 million.

DataCol counts New Zealand’s largest electricity, gas and water utilities as its customers. The company launched its SevenX meter data collection software into the Australian market in January 2011.

SevenX consists of server software that manages field force logistics and collects meter data from handheld units (HHU) in the field via manual or automated reads. Based on open technology, SevenX allows our customers to use commodity priced handheld computers rather than expensive and inflexible propriety hardware.

DataCol has also developed DataFlow, a field force deployment tool for managing field force teams. This product uses the same hardware platform and Hand Held Units as SevenX with considerable savings to be made over other proprietary systems.

SevenX and DataFlow both allow the removal of limitations from old systems and processes. These products provide utilities the flexibility and speed to change and adopt new processes.


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