Businesses, communities and government across Ireland are focused on the transition to a low-carbon future.
With an EU-wide 40% CO2 reduction by 2030 already agreed by member states, and a 27% improvement in energy efficiency, energy retailers will be encouraged to speed up the smart metering roll out in order accelerate the green transition, bringing benefits to consumers more quickly.
In a climate of rising energy costs, non-payments amongst billed customers are likely to increase, as are cancelled monthly payments from direct debit customers and self-disconnection rates amongst prepayment customers. How can energy retailers limit disconnection, reduce risk and cost whilst enabling customers to access greener, more competitive tariffs?
Reducing risk, cost and empowering consumers
Simultaneously, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has announced that Phase 2 of the smart metering programme will facilitate Smart PAYG based on a ‘thin’ prepayment model. Such a model removes the need for specialist meters and costly additional hardware associated with the traditional ‘thick’ model and paves the way for innovative Time of Use tariffs to drive the energy transition.
A smarter solution: Siemens Managed Credit
Managed Credit offers a compelling solution to both challenges, helping energy suppliers lower their operational costs, giving customers greater control, better visibility over their energy use and access to greener Time of Use tariffs in the market, whilst meeting the regulatory mandate.
Through a digitally centric approach to prepayment management, consumers have ready access to their energy balance through an application. Clever features such as low balance alerts, auto top ups and scheduled top ups put the customer in control and reduce the likelihood of needing to contact their energy supplier.
In addition to the customer applications, energy suppliers have full visibility of customer activity through our Supplier Portal and Tariff Manager, enabling back office teams to respond to queries quickly and manage their tariffs. Opportunities to vary disconnection rules help the energy supplier lower credit risk and deliver a more personalised experience for customers.
The simple to use customer wallet can operate using not only register reads, but also interval reads. Delivering a customer experience through an application provides greater engagement, allowing more ready acceptance of Time of Use tariffs in line with regulatory aspirations.
The Managed Credit solution:
- Removes the need for costly specialist meters and IHDs, reducing supplier costs and ultimately, end customer pricing by using standard smart meters
- Co-ordinates all customer and tariff data to maintain energy balances on a regular basis, avoiding the need for changing billing and back-office systems
- Provides customers with greater insight into their energy usage, reducing reliance on customer services and limiting self-disconnection
- Provides a prepayment option that can tap into the energy transition, facilitating dynamic Time of Use (TOU) tariffs, which are impractical with existing prepayment approaches
A new approach to Prepayment
Like other markets, prepayment energy in Ireland has often been associated with hardship. Whilst new lifestyle offerings have emerged, these come at a cost. Specialist smart meters, in home displays and infrastructure create annual premiums for customers amounting to €136. It is therefore unsurprising that only 11% of electricity customers and 15% of gas customers are on prepayment arrangements.*
Siemens believes that lowering credit risk should not have to come at a major cost premium for energy suppliers. Managed Credit offers a compelling fourth payment option, delivering a lower cost profile than not only traditional prepayment approaches, but also direct debit payments. It’s architecture also provides access the ability to deliver a wider range of greener, more competitive market tariffs. Combined, these benefits make a compelling case for prepayment as a lifestyle choice, with more visibility, more control and lower costs for the retailer and the customer.
Managed Credit platform interface
The platform Interface images use an example energy supplier brand to demonstrate Managed Credit functionality.
Managed Credit benefits your business and your customers
“With customer bills rising we're likely to see an increase in direct debit cancellations and non-payments from credit customers and self-disconnection from prepayment customers. At the same time, suppliers are mindful of the aspiration for more Time of Use tariffs to speed up the green transition. Managed Credit offers a compelling solution to these challenges; helping energy suppliers lower their operational costs, giving customers greater control and better visibility over their energy use and enabling the trialling of dynamic TOU tariffs in the market, all whilst meeting the thin prepayment model regulatory mandate.”Nick Jones, Head of Managed Credit, Siemens
Managed Credit is an excellent opportunity for energy suppliers to address emerging regulatory need and build upon their existing standard credit, direct debit and prepayment offers for domestic and small business customers alike.
The solution is highly scalable and can cover both large supplier estates as an alternative to smart prepayment, as well as providing an innovative approach to prepayment for challenger brands.
How does it work?
Daily register and interval reads help maintain energy balance
The Managed Credit application receives daily register or interval reads from smart meters to maintain a customers’ Central Wallet balance on their smartphone, facilitating alerts and auto top ups. This ensures customers are always aware of their energy credit, reduces the risk of self-disconnection and limits their need to contact customer service. Data can come directly through a secure interface into the supplier’s Market Messaging interface, or indirectly through another supplier system.
De-energisation and re-energisation
Where the range of options to limit self-disconnection have been exhausted, the Managed Credit system will trigger a request for a de-energisation of meters. Where credit is restored to the Central Wallet the Managed Credit system will trigger a request for a re-energisation.
Range of payment options available
Multiple payment capabilities from PayPoint, Opayo and PayPal are already integrated into the Managed Credit solution. Payments can be automated, scheduled or made on demand.
Full transparency and control for the energy supplier and energy consumer
Managed Credit offers off-the-shelf white label web and smartphone applications to provide full transparency and control to an energy consumer. Our Supplier Portal and Tariff Manager deliver equivalent transparency and control to the energy supplier, providing a system that can be run in parallel or in isolation to an existing CRM/Billing System.