San Francisco, CA, May 4, 2004 — SPL announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the major assets of CES–a market leader in utility outage management. The acquisition is expected to be finalized in June 2004.
“Grid reliability is a major issue around the world,” said SPL CEO Harry Debes. “It is the backbone of customer service. By joining these market-leading product lines, teams, and customer bases together, SPL will provide utilities around the world with a greatly expanded menu of opportunities to improve service at a lower cost.”
John Blend CEO of CES remarked, “Customer and outage systems have long been the two key enablers of effective real-time service delivery for utilities, and this move by SPL will create a first-to-market, integrated approach.
CES believes that our customers, partners, employees – and the market at large – will be very well served by this acquisition.”
SPL plans to offer the Centricityâ„- outage-management solution, and Netricityâ„-, the Energy Delivery Management solution in two different ways-both as stand-alone products and as pre-integrated parts of the footprint of SPL’s customer care and billing solutions. SPL will offer support to current Centricity and Netricity customers, and their number is expected to grow as SPL uses its established global sales and service network to expand its worldwide base of customers.
At the same time, existing and new CorDaptix customers will be offered the opportunity to pre-integrate their CIS and outage management functions, expanding customer services and speeding the resolution of grid problems. “We have been offering individual modules of our CorDaptix solution for some time,” said Debes, “primarily to help customers bolster the performance of legacy systems while they prepare for an eventual complete CIS overhaul. The Centricity and Netricity products will become additional offerings.”
Long-term, Debes believes that a majority of SPL customers will move toward tighter integration between Centricity outage management, Netricity real-time network management, and CorDaptix functions.
“The efficiencies inherent in pre-integrated OMS and CIS just makes sense,” says Debes. “It’s an issue of cost. Utilities are facing massive demands both to expand their systems and to make them more reliable. At the same time, customers-both regulated and deregulated-seek increased choices. The global utility market is moving toward competition. Regulators are implementing performance-based rates and similar forms of stepped-up accountability. Security issues abound. There is simply no way for a utility to handle each separate development with a new piece of software.”
Customer response has been positive. Jim Miller, Sr. Vice President, Delivery at Idaho Power Company remarked, “The acquisition of CES International by SPL looks like great news for Idaho Power Company. They provide two of our most important and merged systems: customer information and outage management. We look forward to a closer integration between the systems and a closer partnership between our companies.”
Rappahannock Electric Cooperative’s CEO, Kent Farmer remarked: “For some time now, SPL and CES have been two of the key vendors we rely upon to support our objectives for world-class customer service. We see CES and SPL as a strong fit for each other and view this acquisition as very positive news for our members.”
Similarly, the analyst community has pointed to the long-term benefits of the acquisition. Warren Causey, president and CEO of Warren B. Causey, Ltd., Atlanta, comments, “In the post-2001 U.S. utility market, some vendor consolidation is inevitable. Utilities have virtually stopped major software projects, at least for the short term. Instead, they currently are demanding customized, incremental solutions to pressing problems. The vendors that can offer both that piecemeal approach for the short term, as well as an expanded footprint for the future, when utilities inevitably begin to look again at replacing aging systems with next-generation solutions, will be successful. The SPL-CES combination appears to generate exactly the type of synergies that will enable SPL to serve utilities’ needs now and in the future. Both companies have shown the ability to adapt and innovate and combining forces — laying the groundwork now for the solutions that will be needed then — makes good business sense.”
UtiliPoint International’s COO Jon T. Brock notes: “Reliability is a high priority for North American utilities today. But the reliability budget is not infinite. The fact that SPL WorldGroup is working to reduce reliability costs by pre-integrating outage management with CIS will be a welcomed feature by cost- and service-savvy utilities.”
Kristian Streenstrup, Gartner’s Vice President of Research in Sydney, Australia, adds, “Distribution utilities require an integrated set of supporting systems. This can greatly simplify and streamline the essential work processes of distribution utilities, particularly timely response to problems and outages which have been highly visible in the last 12 months. “
SPL delivers the proven customer care and billing solutions that help utilities around the world achieve competitive advantage and excellence in business performance. SPL solutions are specifically designed for energy, water and service companies, providing a platform from which clients serve residential, commercial, and industrial customers in regulated and competitive markets, across multiple products.
Working with systems-integration and technology partners around the world, SPL has an unparalleled record of implementation success. Financially strong, and with customers on six continents, SPL focuses on clients’ return on investment and fosters long-term relationships based on confidence and trust.
Visit SPL at www.splwg.com or call +1-866-468-6775 (San Francisco), +44-207-851-6840 (London), or +61-2-8258-8200 (Sydney). Within the US and Canada, call +1-800-275-4775.
SPL’s CorDaptixâ„- solution is a proven customer care and billing product designed to evolve with clients’ business demands. Its comprehensive functional footprint withstands the tests of time, growth, and change while minimizing cost and risk.
CorDaptix helps optimize cash flow and increase collections. It scales from a few thousand to many millions of customers. Upgrades are quick and easy. And because of its modular architecture, utilities need to purchase only what they need, when they need it. CorDaptix assists utilities to reliably meet market windows and regulatory deadlines while enjoying a low total cost of ownership and a high return on investment.
About Centricity and Netricity
Centricity is the operations resource management (ORM) suite that includes the market’s leading outage-management system. It is currently in use at distribution utilities serving more than 35 million metered accounts on five continents.
The Netricity system provides the tools needed to move from a position of limited options with a static infrastructure to flexible dynamic network management. The Netricity system assists in creating revenue opportunities, reliably maximizing asset utilization, and reducing operations and maintenance expense.