Consider a scenario where a water utility implements a new CIS system gets flooded by high-bill complaints by the consumers, which then leads to a situation where many consumers stop paying bills and the utility is forced to stop the collection process because of the intervention by the regulatory body.
This is the exact scenario one of the leading water utilities in the Middle East faced when they went live with a new CIS system. The impact was huge. The customer billing with the new CIS had to be stopped and the old system of collecting a fixed charge every month had to be resumed. The customer satisfaction suffered significantly due to this.
Forward looking waster utilities leverage smart meters connected to a meter data management system to collect reliable meter reads, ensure their validity, calculate consumption with relevant business rules and estimation techniques, identify the leakage issues (losses) and address them, and then generate accurate bills, to avoid this scenario.
The meter data management system not only helps reduce the billing errors but also improves the accounting of the overall losses and the non-revenue water. The losses in utilities include the physical escape of water from the pressurized piping system as leakage—an occurrence known as real losses, as well as the inaccurate metering of customer consumption, theft of service, and the utility’s own errant billing and accounting practices; all of which are collectively known as apparent losses.
Non-revenue Water (NRW) includes the real plus apparent losses, along with unbilled authorized consumption, which represents water used in miscellaneous activities such as firefighting. In other words, NRW comprises the volume utilities lose from their water supply infrastructure and the unbilled volumes associated with lost revenue from a portion of the supply that reaches the customer, plus the authorized unbilled usage.
The smart water meters generate a lot of alarms, some of these alarms are crucial, time-sensitive and need quick remedial action. This includes low battery alarm, high temperature, meter tempering, hardware failure, leakage, communication failure etc. MDM’s seamless integration with CIS, Asset Management system, Field work systems is important to handle them. Service orders are used to track these events, and MDM system orchestrates all activities related to these service orders. On the other hand, the head end systems can be configured to filter the duplicate alarms, false positives, and the ones with low impact on customer service, revenue, or operational efficiency.
Oracle Utilities Customer to Meter (C2M) system is a comprehensive meter-to-cash platform that combines CIS and meter data management systems together to support a fully optimized end-to-end meter-to-cash business process, driven by smart water meters. It comes with a built-in service order management orchestration engine, and is fully integrated with Oracle Utilities Work Asset Management and Field Service Management systems.
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