The ‘poles and wires’ is the single biggest expense in the supply chain for a retailer. After years of steep price rises for these regulated entities, it’s never been more important to ensure that you’re paying only for the sites you own, for the periods you own them, and for the right set of charges.
But network settlements has some major challenges to deal with first.
Challenge 1 – When is a standard not really a standard?
When it’s a network billing B2B standard of course! Why have one way to communicate charges, payments and disputes? Not when you can have one standard per state, per fuel type. So we have 5 electricity standards to deal with – Victoria, NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Then we have 4+ gas – Victoria, NSW, Queensland and South Australia. Why not have a bi-lateral metering standard thrown into the mix? So one of the biggest challenges is simply understanding these standards – and what that means in terms of your business processes. When do you need to pay? How exactly do you dispute?
Challenge 2 – Huge Volumes
The network charge file are about the same size as your retail billing load. And where they’re not – they’re double ( Western Australia and Queensland in particular ). Loading huge volumes and just making that usable are major challenges for any retailer in the country.
Challenge 3 – Data Quality
The distribution businesses are generally pretty good. But they can do show variable commitment to data quality. After all – if they make a billing mistake – no one gets to change their distributor right? And the retailer is left carrying the cost. So it’s vital that you have strong mechanisms to ensure that you only accept charges that meet the B2B specifications.
Challenge 4 – Financial Risk Mitigation
Finally – it’s vital that you only pay the right charges. And to do that you need to find valid disputes within the network charges, and you need to do that as they arrive. Not your NMI – or the consumption is wrong – or maybe the charged network tariff doesn’t match MSATS. There’s plenty to go wrong, and it’s the challenge of the retailer to make sure you mitigate this key risk of overpaying the network.
Luckily, we’ve had over 15 years of experience meeting these challenges. Years of new releases, years of innovation – and the clients that both value it and help shape it. And that’s all boiled down to one beautiful solution – our flagship network settlements product – NBV.