What your electricity bill won’t tell you
Unless you are living under a rock (in which case, stay there till there’s a vaccine available), the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you in some way or another. The pandemic has resulted in changed living situations for a lot of folks, including yours truly. I was sharing a 3-bedroom apartment with my flatmates, who were travelling before the pandemic hit us, and thus could not make it back before the lockdown. So, when I saw that my electricity bill for April was north of 8000 INR, I was quite taken aback. A normal summer month with 3 air conditioners running daily would result in a bill of 8000, but with one occupant only, there had to be a mistake! My neighbours were equally clueless as to why it happened.
A simple Google search told me that due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the Electricity Dept was going to generate bills based on the previous year’s consumption, and any differences would be adjusted post lockdown. While this resolved my doubt, it just showed how disconnected I was from my Utilities’ spending in general, and electricity spending in particular.
First with Business Intelligence, and then more recently with Data Science, our spending patterns have been analysed, and have provided users with actionable insights. We know how we spend on things like entertainment, groceries, travel and tourism, and on almost any and every category – all except Utilities, which is still to a large extent, a black box. Every month, we get an amount, which we immediately clear (unless you’re a daredevil who waits till the last day). No questions asked.
It’s not that the Utilities industries do not generate enough data. The whole industry is supported by a suite of enterprise applications – Meter Data Management (MDM) Systems, Head End Systems (HES), Utility Billing and Customer Care Systems, to name a few, with tech mammoths like Oracle holding a significant market share. Tons of data about customer usage and billing patterns is created. A lot of this data is analyzed but only from the context of the Utility Company. It just does not reach the end consumer. There’s negligible engagement from the Utility Company to its customer. It starts at generating a bill and stops at receiving the payment!
To address this gap, Abjayon is coming with ADSS – Abjayon Digital Self Service, an application to help utility companies engage with their customers better. By analyzing past utility costs and consumption patterns, ADSS would provide personalized insights to utility consumers. With a seamless digital customer experience, utility companies would be able to enrol their customers for energy-saving campaigns and other related programs, while pushing to them, their most suitable services and offerings. Additionally, it would provide a valuable communication channel to the utility companies – to share tips, insights, and predictions, inspiring and guiding their customers towards smarter and more responsible energy consumption habits. ADSS would also help the companies address their customers queries and redressals, with easy efficient communication, leading to a quick turnaround and customer happiness.
Hopefully, the next time when you see your electricity bill, it won’t be just the final amount you’re looking at.