IT/CS BRIEFS

Accenture, BC Hydro shake on it

Accenture and BC Hydro signed a 10-year agreement valued at nearly $1 billion designed to save BC Hydro customers $250 million CDN and expand Accenture’s ability to offer customer relationship management, IT, human resources, financial, procurement, building and office management services to utilities across North America, according to the companies. Accenture will form Accenture Business Services of British Columbia Limited Partnership with more than 1,500 former BC Hydro employees. BC Hydro will become the first customer of the new company, outsourcing a number of areas, including the development of a new customer information system.

Southern Co. to offer online services for customers

Southern Co. has launched its Energy Check Up online application for the residential customers of its five Southeastern utilities: Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power and Savannah Electric. Southern Company selected Enercom Inc., an Atlanta-based developer of customer-facing online energy applications, to develop Energy Check Up. Several different applications are included. Customers can elect to do a full-length audit of their energy use or they can choose the EZ Check Up, which is a shorter audit. The Energy Calculator determines the approximate energy consumption and cost for most home appliances, and the Energy Tips application is a library of energy information in layman’s terms.

META Group predicts spending growth

META Group stated that the Group expects energy utilities to increase their current and planned investments in work management systems as they refocus their efforts on the fundamentals of their business. Their METAspectrum evaluation found:

“- Vendors with broad offerings will be positioned to lead the market.
“- Work management buyers must look beyond traditional narrow project scope.
“- SAP is the only vendor currently positioned as a leader in this market.
“- Challengers are typically limited to providing a “best-of-breed” offering in one particular area.
“- Vendor presence is expected to become more important to users than vendor performance.
“- There will be ongoing consolidation among vendors in this market.

Chartwell report tracks customer billing and payment

According to Chartwell’s “Guide to Bill Presentment and Payment 2003,” more than four million U.S. utility customers now pay their energy bills online—while about four times that number allow their utility to debit their bank accounts. The expansion of bill payment options is one of the most notable trends in the industry in recent years, according to the survey.

GE awarded NPPD contract

GE Network Solutions, a supplier of technology solutions to the utilities industry, has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract by the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) for the implementation of the Smallworld core spatial technology software. Specific numbers were not disclosed.

Sacramento chooses Group 1

Group 1 Software announced that the City of Sacramento, Calif., has selected Group 1’s DOC1 Suite to design and generate its utility bills. The city has licensed the document composition components of the DOC1 suite, which enable users to create personalized communications for both print and electronic delivery. The city will use DOC1 to generate over 120,000 bills monthly.

Navigant, Ecteon to offer software

Navigant Consulting Inc. and Ecteon announced a joint marketing agreement to offer contract management software and services to utility customers. According to the companies, Ecteon has developed a contract management software system that includes best-in-class software tools and accompanying training and assistance to optimize the productivity of contract managers and the contract management process.

Oakville Hydro selects Harris

Oakville Hydro Electricity Distribution has chosen Harris Computer Systems’ PUBS v5.2 solution to replace their current customer service and billing system. Since the deregulated electricity market opened in Ontario in May 2002, Oakville Hydro has struggled to attain compliance with information exchange, reporting, and billings. According to the company, this implementation will allow Oakville Hydro to clear up those customer information system problems.

Exelon Nuclear selects ProcessNet

Matrikon Inc. announced that Exelon Nuclear has selected ProcessNet and EnterpriseNet as enterprise tools for data access, visualization and analysis to improve system performance monitoring. ProcessNet enables users to collaborate via the Web with access to virtually any historian and distributed control system. Any user with access to EnterpriseNet through a Web browser can create graphics and reports and share these with others anywhere in their enterprise.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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