Utility companies during COVID-19 times; how to keep the energy and revenues flowing during a pandemic.

April 24, 2020

Guaranteeing continuous supply for all

With millions of individuals self-isolating in their homes, the utility industry continues to keep the lights on and water flowing. Across the world governments are working together with utility companies to ensure a continuous supply in these challenging times as people are adapting to new ways of working to keep their operations running. Utility companies are doing all that they can, pledging not to cut off customers and providing support to those unable to pay their energy bills, which is expected to grow to 13 percent of customers according to a survey by Citizens Advice. 


Pressure on revenues

At the same time, utility suppliers are also directly impacted by a decreased demand resulting from the shutdown of non-vital businesses. This results in an enormous challenge for utility companies, not only on the operational side, but also from an increasing pressure on revenue upkeep. That is why it is of utmost importance to continue billing processes.


Lack of meter data

In many countries however, field operations like meter reading collection and smart meter roll-out have been temporarily suspended due to the social distancing measures and shifting roles of staff to guarantee continuous supply. That is why now more than ever, the question arises what other reliable methods of acquiring meter data might be possible?


Consumer empowerment 

Especially in a time where many consumers are working from their home ‘office’ and any unnecessary risks resulting from social contacts are to be avoided in the near future, the obvious solution seems to be in the hands of the consumers. The question is: how do we empower them with the tools needed for collection of meter readings with minimal effort? While at the same time being as reliable as before when taken by an expert meter reader? This is exactly why many large utility companies have started using Blicker, the intelligent meter readout assistant: to make the collection of meter information as easy as just taking a picture. As one of these utility companies states: “there is nothing more simple than just taking a picture to gather your data” (Chief Data Officer, Stedin) and “this is a reliable and profitable alternative to house visits of expert field engineers”.


Accelerated process innovation 

Wanting to support the sectors in need and help utility companies in times of COVID-19, Blicker is now offering a free standalone company-branded application to empower consumers in collecting meter information from photos. This allows utility companies to get up and running within just a day without having to call on scarce IT resources during this pandemic. 


Get in touch here to discuss how customer empowerment for digitization of meter data can help you in resuming the billing process and preserving revenue streams. 


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