The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has been working with industry to implement a number of changes arising from the Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) Power of Choice review. One of these changes involved updating the Electricity B2B Framework to ensure all market participants are accredited to interact with AEMO’s systems. Cloud-based utility billing software provider, Utilibill, has recently achieved this significant milestone.

Utilibill announced that it has received accreditation to interact with AEMO’s B2B market systems in the production environment, an important step forward in its service offering.

“This is the gateway managed by AEMO that manages and routes electronic business to business requests and responses between market participants,” Annmarie Lavin, Operations Manager at Utilibill, said.

“In addition to our billing capabilities, clients can now send and receive market change requests and service orders (i.e. requests for site works) through the Utilibill system, making it easier to manage and monitor their interactions with the National Electricity Market.

“A large number of automations have been built into our solution with many more to come, minimising the manual effort and associated operational overhead traditionally experienced and accepted by many electricity retailers.”

The B2B e-Hub is an electronic information exchange platform that is provided, operated and maintained by AEMO to facilitate B2B Communications. It was established to enable participants to transact with each other quicker than the current FTP protocol if required. All new and existing participants using the B2B e-Hub must be accredited accordingly.

Accreditation ensures participants processes and IT systems are ready to interact with AEMO’s systems safely and securely, delivering data in the appropriate format in accordance with the B2B procedures.

Delivering an improved customer experience

Ms Lavin said that this accreditation will enable Utilibill to both grow its business and offer improved services to its customers.

“We are always seeking to optimise the client’s experience with our SaaS solution, and it is our hope that we will be seen as the smart alternative billing solution for second tier retail operators. We want our users to enjoy our product and so we provide them with a modern looking interface, creative automations and informative workflows and messaging that make work processes easy to manage.

“The system we have today is a huge step forward from our old system as it allows even our non-market clients to structure and have the same view of their customer accounts as that of a retail client. It allows our retail clients to onboard and manage all their customers in a single system, including embedded networks, commercial and industrial customers, residential and small business. The greatest change, of course, is that our system now has an easy-to-use interface that can interact with the energy market.”

Utilibill has seen increasing local and international interest in its services as a direct result of the B2B e-Hub accreditation.

The company is taking on a number of new employees and, collectively, it now has around 80 years of industry experience across its staff.

“We understand our clients’ needs, their complex processes and the challenges of working in an ever dynamic environment,” Ms Lavin said.
“Utilibill’s roots began in telecommunications and is currently the preferred billing provider for second and third tier telcos. More recently the business established its embedded network billing solution which has attracted some of the larger embedded network service providers.

“With the development and release of our retail solution, we are opening the door to the retail sector of the energy market and have already commenced onboarding retail clients. In the history of Utilibill, in terms of scope and impact, this is by far the largest and most complex project undertaken. Its success is due to the tireless efforts of a talented team who worked round the clock to achieve an incredible result in under eight months.”

With the B2B e-Hub accreditation a key benefit for energy retailers, Utilibill’s modern cloud-based platform is quickly gaining traction as the leading utility billing system.