05 Oct 2021

5MS Regulatory Changes, Efficiency Improvements and Cloud Solutions

Gentrack’s approach to building cloud services to deliver functional components strategically provides value to customers in ever-changing regulatory environments.  

The development of Gentrack’s Meter Data Services on AWS (MDS) predates the industry five-minute settlement regulatory changes for energy retailers, however, the scheduling of the 5MS industry program fast-tracked the urgency and implementation of this service to market with the need to process large volumes of interval meter data, a by-product of the industry-wide changes in Australia.  

To meet the regulatory changes for 5-minute settlement of interval metered sites connection points and provide high availability, resilience, and scalability to back-end systems consuming meter data, organisations needed to consider the increase in data changes and assess their current IT systems in handling the increased load.  

With up to 70 different industry procedures affected by these changes and up to six times more meter data to manage and store, Gentrack’s Meter Data Services:  

  • Improves the performance of Gentrack’s core billing solutions 
  • Is a critical enabler for the industry need for “real-time” billing 
  • Serves as a database of record for other systems in the enterprise needing to access meter data such as CRM’s and web portals 
  • The query and response type design eliminates the need for multiple copies of meter data within the enterprise 

Availability & Responsiveness  

Gentrack’s Meter Data Services on AWS brings 24-7 availability to critical business resources and services.  

With durability built into the design and features such as automatic backups and point in time recovery, the separation of the Meter Data processing into a cloud service reduces processing loads on Gentrack’s billing solutions. This ensures business-critical processes which previously occurred outside of business hours due to the upload and validation of meter data, can now potentially run within business hours, providing a cost-saving opportunity.  

The improved processing of a cloud service allows the increased throughput of bills meaning earlier billing of customers for the business improving cash flows. 

The ability to “turn on” additional environments, for example, for short term testing requirements, becomes much quicker in a Gentrack Cloud environment and increases the business’s ability to respond quickly. 

Data Accessibility through the Enterprise:  

Gentrack’s Meter Data Services provides API’s that are based on open standards for use by other systems within the enterprise.  

These APIs are designed to support queries from systems that have a business need to consume meter data, such as CRM systems and customer dashboards, without placing additional load on the production billing solution.

Examples include;  

  • an API to generate real-time graphing from meter data, for visualisation in dashboards 
  • API’s to populate other data repositories and data warehouses.  
  •  Event-based architecture triggers event notifications that can be subscribed by external systems to take necessary action, for example, be made aware of changes in meter data.  

Customer-Centric benefits  

By making access to meter data open and responsive, Gentrack’s Meter Data Services enable and can automate more sophisticated customer products, such as Progressive Purchasing Products. It produces consumption aggregate reports with spot prices applied that can make the process of offering more sophisticated products to the end customer easier and more cost-effective.  

Meter data is made available in different forms depending on the query submitted, for example, retrieving data for a connection point for the purpose of plotting on a graph for a user or customer to view through a user interface. 

Market reference data such as Marginal Loss Factor (MLF), Distribution Loss Factor (DLF) and spot prices are automatically uploaded and part of the “service” provided by Gentrack, replacing a manual process that customers previously ran.  

Gentrack processes and monitors activities that previously were performed by the customer. This is not only a direct transfer of cost to Gentrack, but in some cases, Gentrack will identify and address problems before any impact is felt by the business. For example, a failed meter read file load can be addressed in the Gentrack service before impacting any downstream customer processes. 

Using MDS to aggregate and calculate meter data for Rating resulted in a 75% reduction in Invoicing duration allowing billing to be processed a day earlier thus pulling forward significant cash-flows. 

Additionally, MDS support for 1/4 hourly kVA Demand calculations eliminated manual processes used by one of our major retail customers thereby reducing operational costs. 

Other benefits observed include ​an 80% reduction in duration for ingestion of meter data, up to a 60% reduction in on-premise storage/disk space which enables a faster back-up. 

Benefits of Gentrack’s Meter Data Services

Moving customers to Gentrack’s Metered Data Service on AWS to comply with 5MS and Global Settlement regulations has provided the performance and scalability needed to meet data increases from 5MS and also brings the opportunity to realise efficiency improvements for retailers. 

Product Roadmap  

As a product, Gentrack’s Meter Data Services on AWS continues to be enhanced and developed. The introduction of Point-of-Sale forecasting features is one such example. Our customers can then choose to use and take on these additional services. Future roadmap items can include the support and provision of analytics into customer consumption patterns and other insights.  

Speak to one of our team today by contacting us here.

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