Essential Energy, Port Macquarie, Australia

Essential Energy leverages mobility solution to manage meter reading activities across Australia’s largest electricity network.

Business Challenge
Essential Energy is responsible for building, operating and maintaining Australia’s largest electricity network. It provides services to around 900,000 homes and businesses across 95 per cent of NSW and parts of southern Queensland.

A number of business challenges motivated Essential Energy to seek a new meter reading solution. These included: a market obligation for more efficient methods of managing data flows; an increased focus on safety requiring timely access to field staff locations; and end-of-life field hardware that was expensive to renew. In response to these drivers, Essential Energy required:

  • A hosted Centralised Meter Reading Data Management & Distribution System with full disaster recovery
  • A meter reading solution compatible with a variety of handheld devices
  • A meter reading solution that could function both online and offline (occasionally connected) and enable efficient synchronisation of data in the field.

Services Overview
Essential Energy engaged GT to implement its industry leading Field Mobile Computing (GT FMC) platform to meet its extensive requirements for cycle and off-cycle meter reads. GT FMC is a fully hosted feature rich web/mobile solution that is simple to use and incorporates robust business rules for data input and validation. It runs on a range of devices including PDAs, laptops and tablets.

The solution delivered to Essential Energy involved the creation of a rich meter reading repository populated directly from mobile devices in the field including text, photos and geo-spatial data, as well as integration with Essential Energy business systems. The solution also retains in full Essential Energy’s standard codes for trouble and skip information.

Features of the meter reading solution include the storage and display of live and historical meter reading information in both map and results grid formats. Comprehensive search functionality allows user to query property, meter, customer, and staff details. Scheduling and reallocation of full and partial meter reading jobs is possible with route optimisation providing efficient off-cycle meter reads.

The solution also integrates a dashboard service for real-time job status and daily statistics, as well as configurable hot-keys for rapid job searching and read input.

Outcomes

  • Increased productivity by enabling meter readers to read both electricity and gas meters at a bundled address on one device.
  • Dramatically improved timeliness of field data back to the office to meet market obligations
  • Increased productivity by having full visibility of field staff so that scheduled work may be modified in light of unforeseen circumstances
  • Increased productivity by having the flexibility to utilise substitute meter readers based on their relative proximity to an address
  • Reduced incidence of repeat site visits through the ability to undertake additional actions whilst on-site.