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CRM for Electricity Distribution

The Electricity supply to the average premises tends to morph through several industrial phases:

  • Generation
  • Transmission
  • Distribution
  • Retail

While we hear about all four, the ones we deal with personally, the most regularly, are the Retailer and the Distributor. We are currently implementing an enterprise wide CRM solution at an Electricity distributor in New Zealand.

The distributor owns, builds and maintains all of the assets that bring power from the Transmission Grid Exit Point (GXP) to your premises. They own all of the poles and conductors that you see in the streets, along with transformers, switches and other fancy load-control equipment.

The goal of this implementation is to improve organisational collaboration and give the people access to accurate and timely data. We created a single database in Dynamics CRM, for use across multiple divisions, to manage the creation, build and maintenance of their asset base.

A Distributor tends to construct their own assets, rather than purchase a complete asset from a supplier. This can lead to financial complications and we selected Dynamics CRM because of the strong workflow processes that we could bring to the fore and closely emulate the actual business processes in use.

Within the Distributor’s Network we agreed upon around 35 Physical and Logical assets, each of which had its own custom entity. Minor transactional entities were created to hold things like test results and device settings, coupled with a few history entities to ensure that historic data around settings and relationships were maintained.

Major transactional entities were created to cater for purchasing of equipment on a wide variety of payment plans, the implementation of preventive maintenance regimes and the construction of new assets from industry recognised templates.

Asset Module:

The Asset Module incudes Electricity Network modelling as well as individual asset class modelling, every asset’s entity plus an all-asset entity which enables a whole of Network query without complicated entity joins.

Works Modules:

Works is divided into 2 modules. The first covers work planning by the Network owner and covers both Capital and maintenance works. Because all work is done to industry templates, the breakdown between Capital and Maintenance work is determined at the planning level rather than after the event. This gives greater planning vision to the Network managers as they can predict the effect of a Project or a Maintenance regime, before committing to it.

The second Works module covers the execution of the individual packages of work, by the contracting division. This module has yet to be fully developed but will use more of the OOB CRM aspects to manage bidding for work with an external organisation, by the contracting division. The reason for separating these two modules was developed to address the age old issue of work completion in a timely manner that plagues almost every electricity distributor in the world.

Incorporated into the Works module is the ability to depreciate monthly, the progressive commissioning of a set of minor assets that will eventually combine to become a major asset in the financial Asset Register. Because it may take several months to complete construction of the asset, this facility provides a first year depreciation amount coupled with the sum of the cost of building the asset. This process links all Purchase orders for equipment and labour to the original project as well as to the first year cost and depreciation. This is all performed within CRM.

Regulatory Module:

The Regulatory module deals with the highly regulated market in which Electricity Distributors operate and the requirements for sharing data with many outside parties. In New Zealand the energy consumption, measure at the premises meter is collected by an external party and delivered to the Retailer who, in turn, sends the data on to the Distributor. To process this external data which is received from several different parties we set up a separate SQL Server Database to test, strip and assemble the incoming data into a fact table. The Regulator has a Reconciliation Manager who also produces data based upon the electricity generated. We process their data in a similar manner.

Within CRM whenever we process a transaction that requires notification to external parties we code the transaction file into the required format within a transactional entity and poll this entity using SQL Server Agent. This then cleans, strips and produces a file for .ftp transfer to the external sites. This process has enabled us to meet the recent Part 10 requirements from the Regulator.

Billing Module:

The Billing Module receives Retailer data from the Regulatory module and prepares it as a .csv file for import to CRM. This is loaded into the appropriate entity and then several further transactions are undertaken, within CRM, to prepare monthly invoices for Distribution charges.

There are two more modules to be developed, plus refinements to be continually added to each module.

Learn more about CRM for Asset Management:

If you are a Microsoft implementation Partner and have an Electricity Distributor as a client, you may want to offer a well-designed CRM application for their Asset and Works management to complement the services that you have already provided to them.

Please contact us at info@asset-man.com and we will follow up and support you in your endeavours to deliver stunning Microsoft Devices and Services to your customers.