LogNet lands smart meter billing deal

Connected Planet

By Alex Leslie
June 23, 2011

UK’S First Utility selects tradition telecom billing vendor to help it deliver smart energy services today, additional services tomorrow

LogNet Systems has landed a significant contract with First Utility, a leading independent provider of telecoms, gas and electricity services in the UK . The win reflects a trend that is often discussed but up to now has found little traction

Based on the vendor’s MaxBill suite of solutions, rooted origins in telecom, LogNet has succeeded in netting this customer for two main reasons. The first is the much awaited rollout of smart meters; the second is long-awaited emergence of multiple service offerings from utility companies.

Connected Planet asked LogNet CEO Kirill Rechter about the opportunities for utilities and vendors.

“Smart meters produce real time, consumption based data. Generally speaking, the legacy systems currently used by many utility companies are not in a position to support either the new usage data created by smart meters or the integrated workflow needs of multiple service environments,” he said.

This is obviously a major opportunity for innovative solution vendors to provide the capability to properly use that data.

“Smart meters can help customers better manage and control their consumption,” Rechter said. “The real-time consumption data created by smart meters enables a utilities company to manage and commit to service level agreements with business customers. At the same time, the time-based billing enabled by smart meters can be used to discourage overloads in electricity usage during the day and direct industrial consumption to off-peak hours.”

According to Rechter, “There are many learning points that can be applied from telecoms, such as time-based pricing for peak or off-peak consumption and various types of service bundling, loyalty schemes and personalized discounts. However, it should be kept in mind that like telecoms services, each utility’s service has its unique business processes and provisioning requirements.”

Lognet is not the only telecom vendor to spot the opportunity in utilities and beyond. For example, Convergys has Duke Energy and E.ON as clients, Junifer Systems recently won a utility contract in Sweden and MetraTech, another vendor with roots in the telecoms world, is winning business in the utilities, financial services and transport worlds.

Perhaps, for the smaller vendor particularly, as the telecoms door begins to close, other doors will open.