The Edison Foundation forecasts that in the next ten years, 60 million, or half of all American households, will have a Smart Meter installed in their homes. Add to this the arrival on the domestic scene of Generation Y, and utilities had better prepare themselves to be able to deal with Smart Money Collection. Scott McCollum, President of Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment specialists, BillingTree, explains:
Currently, just six percent of all meters in America are Smart Meters, but the $3.4 billion in grants secured to fund a roll-out of this new technology – combined with the strength of the green lobby – looks set to drive a dramatic increase in Smart Grid deployment. Consumers will be able to see precise detail around what time of the day, week and year they use the most energy.
This increased information will put more pressure on utilities to update their legacy systems to deal with higher volumes of consumer information. This electronic revolution will, in turn, drive the requirement for e-billing and e-payments.
Billing for utilities is still mainly carried out on paper – 63 percent for electricity providers, 64 percent for gas providers and 73 percent for water (PayItGreen survey), highlighting that companies in this sector are still lagging behind their counterparts in cell phone, financial service and internet provision markets.
The arrival of the tech-savvy Generation Y group of home owners will be a major driver here too. The 'Millennials' are already used to e-billing and e-payments for internet and cell phone usage. So why not for power and water?
The evolution of EBPP (Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment) will enable utilities to offer electronic payments linked directly to consumer usage bills, respond to customers who prefer faster, more secure billing options and do away with many costly processes.
The utilities market will have to start to deal with a smarter approach to billing and payment processes. Utility companies already spend at least $5 per customer, per year, handling paper bills and statements. This does not include the cost of actually producing the bills, stationery cost, and maintenance – most recent figures indicate that it costs approximately $2 per household to deliver a paper bill or statement.
By encouraging customers to adopt a 'Smart Money' electronic payments process to accompany their Smart Meters, organizations can also save between 60-90 per cent of their paper and postage costs and achieve a 30 percent reduction in Days Sales Outstanding (DOS).
If you would be interested in speaking with Scott McCollum or would like further information please do let me know, as I'd be more than happy to help. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 561 228 1940.
I look forward to hearing from you.
IBA – PR for BillingTree
561 228 1940