23 Dec 2009

Unison Networks invests in new Gentrack Velocity Billing platform

23 December 2009: Unison Networks, New Zealand’s fourth largest energy lines company will deploy a new billing solution from Gentrack.

Gentrack, a leading provider of specialist software solutions for energy utilities, announced today a new contract to deliver its Gentrack Velocity network billing solution to Unison Networks. Unison Networks has been an extensive user of Gentrack solutions for over 12 years, managing its network charges and those of lines company Centralines through a central Gentrack application.

“This project marks the inaugural deployment of Gentrack’s new web browser-based network billing solution,” said Terry Maude, Gentrack CTO. “It provides Unison Networks with a strong technology platform to meet the challenges and opportunities on the horizon following the recent Ministerial Review of energy in New Zealand.”

Unison Networks services over 100,000 customers on its electricity network that extends 11,000 sq km across the Hawkes Bay, Taupo and Rotorua – three of New Zealand’s more prominent tourist destinations. Unison delivers approximately 1,700 GWh of electricity annually to these regions, and has an 80-year history of designing, developing, operating and maintaining electrical power lines in these three regions.

“We have invested significantly in the development of our specialist network management product to provide new tools for streamlining workflow, data management and customer services,” said Maude. “As lines companies move into smart grid technologies and innovative network tariffs, they will need an enormous degree of flexibility in their systems to facilitate enterprise and third party integration, as well as a myriad of demand based tariffs to drive customer behaviours around peak network demand. Enhanced revenue assurance is also a key deliverable of the latest version for lines companies.”

Gentrack’s network billing solutions are used by most of the lines companies throughout New Zealand including Vector, Powerco and Northpower. The country’s newest lines company – Wellington Electricity Lines Ltd, owned by Cheung Kong Infrastructure and Hong Kong Electric Distribution, went live on Gentrack Velocity late last year.

“Working collaboratively with many of the lines companies throughout the country provides a strong source of ideas for ongoing development of our products,” says Maude.  “Regular user groups attract significant interest in the industry and provide customers with a good opportunity to review our latest innovations and contribute to the development roadmap. Our development effort with the lines companies around global market reconciliation was a real success and demonstrates the power of lines companies working collaboratively with each other and with Gentrack.”

Gentrack Velocity for networks is in its fourth iteration following its launch into the New Zealand energy industry pre-deregulation. Evolving technologies such as smart metering and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) have been key factors considered with the latest release of the software, providing an enhanced user experience via a web-browser user interface and WIZARD tools for ease of data maintenance and business process automation. “Unison will see a noticeable improvement in operational efficiency“ said Maude. “Our new CRM solution presents great opportunities for Unison to build stronger relationships directly with their customers in the regions they serve.”

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