American Electric Power (AEP) recently awarded InSITE SERVICES an exclusive five-year contract to provide comprehensive billing services for its unregulated retail energy business. As the competitive energy market opens in Texas, InSITE will process bills for an anticipated 1 million AEP customers.
AEP will provide energy services to residential, commercial and industrial customers in deregulating electricity markets, beginning with Texas and Ohio. InSITE will use its EnerBill billing service and EnerEDI system to process AEP customer bills and manage transactions between AEP, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), and local distribution companies in open-access markets.
“Providing customer care in deregulated markets will be significantly more complex than in traditional regulated markets,” said Steve Appelt, AEP’s senior vice president of administration. “There will be state-by-state differences as to how bills are processed and how information is exchanged between the utilities and the competitive marketers. We determined that it was best to outsource this function to a company with the systems and experience needed to meet our company’s and customers’ expectations.”
“Our agreement with AEP is a major cornerstone for InSITE’s continued growth,” said Robert Obeiter, InSITE’s executive vice president. “As one of America’s largest utilities, AEP recognized the tremendous value outsourcing offered over other alternatives as it faced completely revamping billing operations for competitive markets. By outsourcing its bill processing and EDI operations to InSITE, AEP can focus on acquiring customers and differentiating itself in the marketplace with value-added services.”
Richard Baxter, senior analyst in the Energy and Internet Strategies practice at The Yankee Group, comments, “Having a billing solution that fully supports new marketing efforts and value-added services is a critical success factor in the retail market. The fact that InSITE was chosen underlines AEP’s commitment to outsourced billing and its belief in InSITE’s solutions. This is a real win for InSITE.”
EnerBill is specifically designed for competitive energy markets. EnerEDI is an application service gaining recognition within the energy industry. In deregulated markets, managing electronic data interchange (EDI) processes between distribution companies and energy sellers is a highly complex, transaction-intensive business imperative.