How utilities can simplify multi-company & multi-currency operations

Managing your business across different regions that each have their specific challenges may lead to frustrating errors affecting both your utility and your customers. To prevent these mistakes from happening, Itineris has built a highly configurable, cloud-based solution specifically designed for utilities.

For the Republic of Ireland and Northern Irish markets, we provide an ultra-reliable solution, called UMAX, based on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform.

UMAX is designed to efficiently handle multiple companies, currencies, and countries of service. This flexible solution offers a wide range of features.

Multi-company & Multi-currency

As a result of the globalized economy, a single company may have multiple legal entities. With UMAX, cross-company data sharing makes fluent communication between different entities easy. When data is confidential for a specific subsidiary, the data access is limited to the operating company in charge.

In a hyper-connected world, trade across multiple countries will likely mean trade in other currencies. Multi-currency functionality, which is natively integrated in UMAX, provides a perfect solution for numerous scenarios. For the Republic of Ireland and Northern Irish markets, this means the use of both Euros and British pounds is possible.

Perhaps your accounting currency differs from your reporting currency — a typical situation in multinational companies. Or maybe your organization has multiple legal entities and transactions, so the base reporting currency is not the only currency utilized. The multicurrency functionality of UMAX also proves helpful when matching exchange rates, enabling the setup of multiple currency conversions. UMAX is the ideal solution if you are doing business in multiple countries.

Market interaction

UMAX provides an evergreen market compliant solution for the Irish and Northern Irish markets to handle incoming and outgoing market messages.

Multiple messages are combined in logical, fully automated processes called scenarios. These scenarios cover the communication with the Gas Network Ireland (GNI), ROI Gas – Siemens (Prepayment), Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (NIE) and ESB Retail Market Design Service (RMDS).

The progression of different market scenarios and exceptions can be monitored easily in UMAX via the strong work management framework.

When limited or no user interaction is necessary, UMAX processes the scenario automatically.

In cases where the scenario asks for user interaction, the user can:

  • Look into the status (action) history of the scenario.
  • Add or view industry information related to the scenario.
  • Filter the scenario by the presence of certain scenario relations (e.g. all scenarios that are linked to a certain service, agreement, etc.), or values.
  • Create his/her own advanced filter on certain values, to check how many values are open/received, or to check up on exceptions.
  • Delete old data. Note that this function is only available to a select set of users with a specific security role.

Payments and collections

There are many interesting features within the payments and collection area, including prepayment meters (PPM) and budget direct debit.

PPM need to be ‘topped-up’ before your customer can consume energy. They are used for those having trouble paying their utility bills or who have large outstanding debts. Outstanding debts are recovered as a percentage of the top-up amount. The PPM can be topped up by using a card on a mobile application or via phone call. If your customer runs out of credit, they are allowed some emergency credit to be repaid with the next top-up. When all credit (including emergency) is used, energy supply is cut off. Refund of credit (e.g., when your customer moves out) is possible upon request.

A PPM file is manually created when your customer agrees to install a PPM meter. The open customer transactions are selected in UMAX and put in the file titled ‘prepayment meter.’ The status of the meter installation can be updated. When the meter is installed, all open charges are added to the prepayment meter file. The balance of the file corresponds to the debt amount communicated to Siemens.

Briefly going into more technical detail, the payments are imported via the relevant files and are matched via the GPRN number to the account of your customer. When your customer pays the next time, information from the meter is uploaded to the POS (point of sales) terminal.

A payment transfer occurs to split the previous vend in a prepayment for gas and a debt recovery payment. The debt recovery payment is settled with the invoices in the file prepayment meter. New invoices are created based on the meter reads. On the quarterly statement, the meter reads of the past period are invoiced.

Budget direct debit

Your customer can choose to make additional payments to pay off debt. In case the additional payments are paid via direct debit, UMAX offers flexibility to define how to trigger the direct debit payment: via a payment plan if there are open invoices, or via a budget plan if the prerequisites are present (CT SPQ, prices). If direct debit payments are too complicated, it is possible to ask for an EFT payment.

UMAX, a fit-for-purpose solution

UMAX has been designed to handle processes within different legal entities located in multiple countries, and execute transactions in different currencies. It also includes all processes required for compliance in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Irish markets, such as region-specific market interaction and payment and collection processes.

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