Accuracy is key in the utilities industry and field operations play a crucial role in the success of your organisation. Customer satisfaction is paramount if you are to maintain brand loyalty. Visiting your customers at home is a rare opportunity to boost your brand. Your operatives should be able to provide accurate readings and instill confidence. We can help you improve customer satisfaction.Make an enquiry
Staff representing your brand must be 100% confident that the meter readings they give to customers are on the nail. Competition is fierce - billing disputes will make your customers flip the switch on energy providers and reduce your profits.
Maxatec's experts have over 40 years' experience researching and supplying equipment to your sector. Our hand picked products make readings more accurate - encouraging customer loyalty and gaining trust.
Reduced admin time. Less complaints. Greater customer retention.
Meter reading in the Philippines
Benguet Electric Co-operative (Beneco) supplies electricity to an area six hours north of Manila, Philippines. The mountainous terrain, lack of a modern road network, and long distances between customers made billing and meter reading difficult and accurate record-keeping impossible.
Meter readers travel on motorcycles. There was no logical way to plan their routes in the cities. In rural areas, they followed power lines off dirt track roads, until they found a meter at the end of a cable. They matched the meter’s serial number to that on a card and wrote in the new reading. At the day’s end, the data was entered into the Beneco computer system. Bills were printed and delivered by a team of distributors, who retraced the previous day’s routes.
Customers paid cash or had seven days to make payment at the nearest Beneco office. Some meter readers could not find or be bothered to look for customers, so they simply made up the numbers.
Beneco equipped each meter reader with a mobile computing device, portable receipt printer, and custom software, developed by MITECH Borremeo Technology Holdings Inc. After entering the new reading into the handheld computer, meter readers print out and deliver the electricity bills in the same visit. Back at Beneco, the mobile devices are docked and data entered. Information is available to counter staff at Beneco’s collection centres. They enter the customer’s account number into their desktop when presented with the bill, confirm the amount payable, collect payment, and print out a receipt.
The Benefits of a Mobile Payment System
Morris Labitoria, MIS Engineer at Beneco observed, “the benefits were immediate. We reduced the number of meter readers from 45 to 25, reduced the data entry staff from 15 to 5, eliminated the 43 bill distributors, and reduced the administrative staff who re-keyed the data.”
With instant billing, the payment collection cycle was shortened. The software includes a prompt which is a description of the next meter to be read, overcoming the problem of route planning.
Made up readings have been eliminated, since they instantly show up as anomalies. In addition, the hand held computer’s internal clock imprints the time the entry was made, allowing studies to be conducted.
Improved Power Usage Efficiency
Beneco found a significant side benefit with its new system- a 5% improvement in overall power usage efficiency, resulting in the reduction of ‘systems loss’. Morris Labitoria explains “When Beneco draws down power from the National Grid, it is charged according to a meter reading taken at the sub stations serving Beneco. For the first time, we are able to determine precisely how much electricity we are selling.
Speeding up the billing process identified a 20% discrepancy between what Beneco was drawing down and what it was selling. Meter readers record their observations directly into the Workabout and have identified direct theft and broken cables. As a result, the 20% discrepancy has been reduced to 15%, allowing Beneco to recoup in excess of $780,000 (US) annually”.
An Unusal Drop Test
George Ramon, Beneco meter reader, had an accident with the result that he fell off his bike and the mobile printer was ridden over. Both George and the printer proved thoroughly durable. After being picked up off the ground, both were working just fine!