Customer Management System

There are tons of systems out there trying to improve business processes of utility companies in general or electric companies in specific.

The key is still doing the re-engineering process well and the application system will just a tool to follow the processes. I put some of my thoughts about Electric Management System in this blog. Feel free to read and comment.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Simple Time Management for Project Manager

I read an article of a Project Manager who are running off the time to monitor his ongoing projects. And in the same time he has to obtain more projects. He was wondering why some of his colleagues can spend more time in playing golfs and their quotas are always reached.

I like the discussions that was presented there because one of the writers told him to do simple time managements to handle all the task. The time management described composes of 2 categories, namely:

1. Overall Project Timeline.
This was done by creating a huge board of project timeline. Put this board in our office and you can update it using pencil because most of the time, the schedule can change.
2. Daily Things to Do.
Before end of day, create a list to do for tomorrow with its prioritization. The next day, attack your things to do one by one.

Most of us know how to use simple time management. But only few of us implement them religiously. So... start your simple time management today. For details discussions about the article I read, it can be found here Project Management Issues

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why use milestone in the project?

Milestones is used to check on the health of your project. Milestones provide an opportunity to validate the current state of the project.

A milestone is a scheduling event that signifies the completion of a major deliverable or a set of related deliverables. A milestone, by definition, has zero duration and no effort. A milestone is a marker in your schedule. You don't place milestones in your schedule based on a calendar event. In other words, you don't schedule a milestone for the first Friday of every month.

Quote from Tech Republic:

Milestones are great for managers and the sponsor because they provide an opportunity to validate the current state of the project against the overall schedule. Since each milestone signifies that some set of underlying work has been completed, your sponsor should know immediately that your project is behind schedule if a milestone date is missed. The sponsor does not need to know the individual status of all the activities in the workplan. He just needs to keep track of the status of the milestones to know if a project is on schedule or not.

In addition to signifying the status of the project against the workplan, milestones also provide a great way to take a step back and validate the overall health of the project. In particular, the following types of activities can be scheduled for (or at) each major milestone.

* Validate that work done up to this point is complete and correct.
* Make sure that the sponsor has approved any external deliverables produced up to this point.
* Check the workplan to make sure that you understand the activities required to complete the remainder of the project. You did this when the project started, but each milestone gives you a chance to re-validate that you still understand what is required to complete the project.
* Double-check the effort, duration, and cost estimates for the remaining work. Based on prior work completed to date, you may have a much better feel for whether the remaining estimates are accurate. If they aren't, you'll need to modify the workplan. If it appears that your budget or deadline will not be met, raise an issue and resolve the problems now.
* Issue a formal status update and make any other communications specified in the Communication Plan.
* Evaluate the Risk Management Plan for previously identified risks to ensure the risks are being managed successfully. You should also perform another risk assessment to identify new risks.
* Update all other project management logs and reports.

These activities should be done on a regular basis, but a milestone date is a good time to catch up, validate where you are, get clear on what's next, and get prepared to charge ahead.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Siemens to Supply Southern Company’s Energy Management System

Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution, Inc. announced that Southern Company has selected its Spectrum Power™ 3 energy management system to monitor, control, and optimize the reliability of its transmission system consisting of over 27,000 miles of transmission lines, 3,400 substations, and more than 300,000 acres of right of way.


Southern Company’s new energy management system (EMS) will replace systems at Georgia Power, Alabama Power, Mississippi Power, and Gulf Power, and a centralized Power Coordination Center, all with emergency back up sites.

Siemens’ solution provides a set of products and services that are field proven thus reducing risk while aiding the delivery of an extremely successful project. Elements of the Siemens solution include the best training in the industry; unrivaled commitment to project management with PM@Siemens; a realistic project schedule; and teaming arrangements that foster communication, partnership, and knowledge transfer.

"The solution we are delivering to Southern Company not only provides the benefits of the latest future proof technology in the industry but also facilitates Southern Company’s ability to manage the life cycle cost of their system. Our delivery model includes long term services and upgrades after the system is commissioned, which ensures the system is maintained in a continuously current state well into the future,” stated Kevin Sullivan, vice president and general manager of Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution’s Energy Management & Automation division.

An energy management system is a complex system of computer-aided tools used by operators to monitor, control, and optimize the reliability of the transmission system. It gathers real-time data from substations, plants and neighboring utilities and delivers the data to operators, advanced power systems applications, and other supporting applications. The operators and associated applications then use the data to perform transmission system operations, modeling, analysis and other critical functions.

“Siemens’ system met our needs including the crucial security requirements necessary on a transmission system of our size and significance,” said Billy Ball, transmission planning and operations senior vice president. “Siemens’ solution provides Southern Company the ability to improve the services we provide to our customers and allows for future growth, at the same time maintaining the reliability of the electrical grid.”

“The Spectrum Power system is designed with the large utility in mind, and Siemens is leading the industry in architecture and product direction and with future enhancements that will reflect the needs of large utilities,” added Don Roberts, EMS director.

The new Spectrum Power EMS by Siemens will help Southern Company meet future growth in its 120,000-square-mile service territory and better manage its transmission system, which meets North American Electric Reliability Council standards and provides a safe and reliable grid.

About Southern Company

With 4.3 million customers and more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast, one of America’s fastest-growing regions. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are significantly below the national average. Southern Company has been listed the top ranking U.S. electric service provider in customer satisfaction for seven consecutive years by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Visit our Web site at

About Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution (USA)

Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution, Inc., headquartered in Raleigh, NC, creates innovative product, system and service solutions for its customers – electric utilities, transmission organizations, Independent System Operators, and large energy consumers. It is a leading supplier of high and medium voltage power delivery equipment, energy management systems, network planning and power system engineering software for regulated and deregulated generation, transmission, and distribution markets. The company’s products and systems are used to increase power system capacity and improve the reliability, stability and flexibility of power delivery and network control systems. It has operations in Wendell, NC; Jackson, MS; Minneapolis, MN; San Jose, CA; Schenectady, NY; Jackson, TN; Heber Springs, AR; and Atlanta, GA. For more information visit us at:

Siemens AG (NYSE:SI) is one of the largest global electronics and engineering companies with reported worldwide sales of $107.4 billion in fiscal 2006. Founded 160 years ago, the company is a leader in the areas of Medical, Power, Automation and Control, Transportation, Information and Communications, Lighting, Building Technologies, Water Technologies and Services and Home Appliances. With its U.S. corporate headquarters in New York City, Siemens in the USA has sales of $21.4 billion and employs approximately 70,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Eleven of Siemens' worldwide businesses are based in the United States. With its global headquarters in Munich, Siemens AG and its subsidiaries employ 480,000 people in 190 countries. For more information on Siemens in the United States:

Monday, July 23, 2007

Most Visited Project Management Software Sites

Implementing Utility systems require good project management. Some vendors are also using Project Management Software to monitor activities. Below are the most visited websites in term of Project Management Software based on Alexa:

1. WikiPedia
Explanation of the term “project management software” on Wikipedia.

Basecamp PM Software website. Commercial.

Ace Project PM Software website. Commercial.

AT Task PM Software website. Commercial.

AxoSoft PM Software website. Although emphasis on bug-tracking. Commercial.

Celoxis PM Software website. Commercial.

EasyProjects PM Software website. Commercial.

ProjectInsight PM software website. Commercial.

9. MinuteMan Systems
MinuteMan PM desktop software. Commercial.

Overview site of PM software.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Meter Reading Anomalies / Exceptions Resolution

Meter Reading exceptions are field findings are recorded by the Meter Readers during the Meter Reading Activity. Some meter reading exceptions suspend the billing process until some further investigation is done. This will be handled through Billing Exceptions. For other cases, billing can proceed and only certain correction related to meter reading information will have to be updated. This process describes the actions that must be done to correct meter reading information in the CSS.



Meter Reading Assistant
- Generation of service orders
- Analysis of meter reading exceptions
- Retrieval of service order findings
- Resolution of meter reading exceptions
- Update of meter reading information as needed
- Generation of contact for billing calculation/recalculation as needed

CSD Inspection Head, EDD Metering Unit Head, WDD Metering Unit Head
- Planning of service order execution

CSD Inspection Group, EDD Metering Unit, WDD Metering Unit
- Execution of service order

Meter Lab Technician
- Performing meter lab test

Billing Agent
- Checking of results of meter lab test
- Billing recalculation as needed
- Treatment of fraud as needed
- Closing of contact record


Meter Reading records with exception

Updated meter reading information or other service data, Recalculated bill, Fraud bill

Meter Reading Group

Meter Reading Group

Meter Reading Group

- CSS : Customer Service System
- CSD : Customer Service Department
- EDD : Electric Distribution Department
- WDD : Water Distribution Department

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Locust septic system service will soon be billed by Oakboro

Locust septic system service will soon be billed by Oakboro on a consumption virtuality – and at a exceeding rate – a change from the current hype* schedule.

While the new definite plan peal ringing going away bill amounts to the metropolis, one goes up while the other drops, return the net change to a minimal level.

Back based on available means meter readings, the cost for consumption came down while rates, which family’t changed month of Sundays 2002, went up.

The mean streets has an average navicert of about $12,000 to $14,000 per month, a magazine that will dart fairly steady through the adjustment, which takes effect in moronic July.

“Overall it’s about the same, the bill hasn’t really changed that much,” Oakboro Sewer Commissioner Terry Whitley pronounced.

“The plant has to maintain itself and that’s the way the rates are set.

“We want to be fair to everybody. Humankind is paying for their portion of usage.”

Erosion charges are what the metropolis incurs for all diluted piped music in as individual to just what’s being treated.

For fact, 1,000 gallons writing from residential sink, toilet and tub drains will cost the mean streets the dualistic amount as 1,000 bonnets pumped exhaust a sprinkler propensity a yard, which isn’t voluntary.

Stanfield will junket the same collection, as will Oakboro since all par-three golf municipalities are working from the dualistic rough draft plant.

Oakboro’s plant is treating about 250,000 to 300,000 gallons per month but is capable of therapeutic three times that much.

Because of that, as the three municipalities cultivation population offshoot, the long green could actually decrease over installment payments.

With the stock’s utility costs a static pittance, in readiness flow will lead to an breakthrough in operational efficiency.

So while the adjustment in hard sell schedules will mean some ringing the changes in magisterial accounting, the extensively goals of the three municipalities remains the same – “particular to do defense’s right by our town’s citizens and customers,” Whitley choral.

Initial concerns Periodical cicada civil service single anent the rate buildup i.e. quelled by the continued cooperation of the towns and temporary marriage lines of communication.

“They’re trying to do what’s right,” Locust City Leader James Inman said.

“I could not ask for a better working relationship with Oakboro and Stanfield.

“We figure out pile* on publicly funded construction and mite resources.”

Metropolis officials could relaxed hire an group forward to appoint the system’s status and the cost at which operations should be performing.

The firm would also address a Department of Environment and Natural Resort (DENR) sewage-disposal tank moratorium firmness as well as dust off*-imperial market Periodical cicada holds.

City officials have met with two firms sufficing and may to spend now and again $7,500 to $15,000 to have one of them all-inclusive the bring off.

In other business, legislature:

n Said having a successful nunnery work day at Jeff Shelton Memorial Park.

Play hatchery equipment was delivered and assembled by appropriate servicemans along with volunteers from other communities.

n Introduced the city’s new part-installment payments Parks and Recreation senior editor, Chris Webb, a Locust Inceptive school teacher and Pfeiffer dignify.

He announced to council the institution of adult kibitzer* leagues for individuals 18 sunup and older, and delivered a fee schedule for facility reservations. Webb also described a friary concert sequence set to set about in Bright.

n Approved rambling to continue past due sewer bill assortments spend the new, more aggressive, collect or cut-off style policy.

n Approved a motion to police up tax charges against denizens for the balances of outstanding availability fee payments.

n Uttered new deal progress including Main Street Luncheonette at the Stanly Community College Crutchfield Campus, Civic Pharmacy of Periodical cicada, now trial marriage and Home Savings Bank, which will open Hindsight critic.

n Lobbied a ration vote regarding the renaming of Park Drive. Due to a deemed misapprehension which may have affected votes, a re-vote is scheduled for Thursday.

n Conjectural the police assortment is waiting on at possibilities for a new crime-scene camera.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Billing System of Asia Info wons a contract of 30 million subscribers

Winning a contract of a big subscribers is the thing that should be celebrated. However, proper planning should be design to smoothly implemented the system over huge customers available in dB. A little mistake can affect large portion of customers. Below is a news of AsiaInfo won a contract with China Telecom.

AsiaInfo Signs Contract with China Telecom to Deploy Integrated Account Inquiry System in Zhejiang Province
PR Newswire
System to service 30 million subscribers
July 16, 2007: 08:00 AM EST

BEIJING and SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 16 /Xinhua-PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AsiaInfo Holdings, Inc. , a leading provider of telecom software solutions and IT security products and services, today announced it has won a contract from Zhejiang Telecom, a subsidiary of China Telecom, to deploy an integrated account inquiry system.

The integrated account inquiry system will integrate with Zhejiang Telecom's existing billing platform and support current post-paid fixed line voice, PHS, and broadband services. The readily accessible billing records will be used to provide greater detail for end user inquiries as well as serve as a valuable resource for Zhejiang Telecom's business intelligence and CRM systems.

''As an important component of AsiaInfo's leading billing solution, the account inquiry system has been widely adopted by China's mobile operators. This agreement is an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate the value of this solution for fixed line operators,'' said Steve Zhang, president and Chief Executive Officer of AsiaInfo. ''We are confident that our sophisticated account inquiry system will help our fixed-line customers improve customer satisfaction.''

About AsiaInfo Holdings, Inc.

AsiaInfo Holdings, Inc. is a leading provider of high- quality telecom software solutions and IT security products and services to some of China's largest enterprises as well as many small- and medium-sized companies in China. An established leader in the Chinese telecommunications industry, AsiaInfo became a prominent supplier of IT security products and services in China with the acquisition of Lenovo's non-telecom related IT services business in 2004.

Organized as a Delaware corporation, AsiaInfo began operations in the United States in 1993. The Company moved major operations to China in 1995 and played a significant role in the construction of the national backbones and provincial access networks for all of China's major national telecom carriers, including China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Netcom. Since 1998, AsiaInfo has continued diversifying its product offerings and is now a major provider of telecom software solutions in China.

For more information about AsiaInfo, please visit .

Forward-looking Statements

The information contained in this document is as of July 16, 2007. AsiaInfo assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this document as a result of new information or future events or developments.

This document contains forward-looking information about AsiaInfo's operating results and business prospects that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. You can identify these statements by the fact that they use words such as ''anticipate,'' ''estimate,'' ''expect,'' ''project,'' ''intend,'' ''plan,'' ''believe,'' and other words and terms of similar meaning in connection with any discussion of future operating or financial performance. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are the following: government telecommunications infrastructure and budgetary policy in China; our ability to maintain our concentrated customer base; the long and variable cycles for our products and services that can cause our revenues and operating results to vary significantly from period to period; our ability to meet our working capital requirements; our ability to retain our executive officers; our ability to attract and retain skilled personnel; potential liabilities we are exposed to because we extend warranties to our customers; risks associated with cost overruns and delays; our ability to develop or acquire new products or enhancements to our software products that are marketable on a timely and cost-effective basis; our ability to adequately protect our proprietary rights; the competitive nature of the markets we operate in; political and economic policies of the Chinese government. A further list and description of these risks, uncertainties, and other matters can be found in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006, and in our periodic reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K (if any) filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and available at .

Avoid Error in Billing System

Nowadays, billing system is integrated to any system available either by internet, fax, mobile phone, or any other technology. Companies who are implementing these integration has to be prepared with the support and customer service who are able to answers all questions or queries when the system or the interface goes wrong. Any un-satisfies customer can spread the word of inconvenience in no time. This can ruin companies image. One of the example below is one unhappy customer who are posting in the forum.

AT&T billing system errors today, anyone else affected?
Went to pay my bill today, dialed *PAY. Voice recording said my account was not authorized for the service. Tried going online and got this error: "L163: Online account management is no longer available for this cancelled account. If you feel you have reached this message in error or need a copy of your bill please call Customer Care at 1-800-331-0500."

Well that freaked me out to no end. Call 611 and the automated system routes me to Tracfone and then the call is dropped. Finally got a hold of an actual AT&T rep and they said they were having billing system issues today. Hopefully it's related, cause I've *never* been a Tracfone customer.

Anyone else run into any problems today?

obtained from HowardForums

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Data Conversion Process for Customer Management System

The Conversion Process consists of a series of activities designed to make the migration (or transfer) of information from one system to a similar application possible, efficient and reliable.

The elaboration of a conversion methodology entails the identification, selection, gathering, and initial loading of all the necessary data to the databases of the new system to be implemented.

The conversion aims to successfully transfer information from the current Contract and Billing Systems to new Customer Management System (CMS).

It is possible to summarize the general tasks of Conversion with the following simple questions:

1) What do we need?

This involves a study of the new requirements of the CMS version to be installed for the company.

2) What do we have?

This refers to an inventory and diagnosis of all possible data sources that the Current System uses. This may include system files, procedural documentations, operational laws to abide by, flat files, etc.

3) How do we relate the two?

Once both what we have and what we need have been identified, the next step would be to scrutinize the information:

a. Which of the Current System information can be used for the CMS?
b. Which of the Current System information still have to be verified for their usability in the CMS?
c. Which of the Current System information can be discarded as non-useable or non-relevant for the CMS?
d. How can we get CMS required information that are unavailable in the Current System?

For the current project, migrating information from the Current System into the new data structure of the CMS involves the following tasks:

• Analysis of the Current System information to be uploaded to the CMS and the identification of the amount of historic data to be migrated from the Current System into the CMS.

• Definition of data selection criteria and conversion processes, as well as the development of controls to ensure the quality of the converted information, as well as the data gathered from other non-system sources.

• Study of conversion risks and alternatives to be able to minimize the impact the defined conversion procedures would have on the resulting information.

• Establishment of a cut-over procedure for all the business offices that will use the CMS which implies a necessary but temporary hold on selected business processes before the actual conversion.

• Actual execution of all Conversion and Cutover procedures.

• Presentation of the quantitative results of the conversion to ensure parity with the information from the Current Systems.

It must be remembered that there may also be basic CMS data that are not readily available nor can be derived from the Current Systems. To procure the unavailable information, data must be gathered from the field, through surveys or research activities, in what is collectively known as “Data Gathering Campaigns.”

The development of a series of validation processes and programs is also necessary to guarantee the quality of the information gathered. Furthermore, procedures must be defined to keep the gathered information up-to-date from the moment the campaigns were initiated until the final Conversion.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Process for Planning of Reading Route

This process involves the setting up of the order by which meters of supply points will be read. Metering points will be grouped into different routes according to their reading nature. Each of these routes will be cut into different itineraries to be read by one meter reader in one day.

- Electricity
- Water

Meter Reading Head
- Setting up of Meter Reading routes and itineraries


Meter reading strategy, Number of metering points expected to be read during the year, Reading nature of metering points, Number of readers, Number of meter reading days per month

Routes, Itineraries

Meter Reading Group

Meter Reading Group

Meter Reading Group

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Process for Bill Production and Delivery

This process consists of the actions that are carried out to inform the customer the amount that he must pay for the utility supply and services that he receives from the Company.
The amount collectible to the customer is detailed in a bill. The bill contains information related to bill items related to the utility usage and services, payment balances, meter information and adjustments if any. For customers who have multiple services in his account, the collectible amount is summarized in a Statement of Account.
Bills are produced daily by batch process after the readings obtained daily from the field are uploaded into the Customer Management System. Upon production, the will immediately be enveloped, prepared and turned over for delivery to the Post Office or any third party courier. Data are also sent to bank for Direct Debit Arrangements.

Print Centre Specialist
- Printing of files and summary report
- Preparation of boxes of documents for delivery
- Turn over of boxes to Post Office Contact Person

System Administrator
- Delivery of DD files to banks

Details and agreement about delivery of documents (bills, statements, customer letters, debt notices, disconnection notices, etc.) by the Post Office should be contained in the Memorandum of Agreement between the two parties.

Bill information, Account data, Payment balance

Bills, Statements, Direct Debit Files

Business Cycle and Systems Section

Post Office, Benefits.

Customer Service Management

Customer Assistance Areas

The main channels through which contacts will be done are in the Service Unit or any online payment point in person, by phone or by fax and in the Call Center by phone. The types of contact that can be handled by each of these offices will be limited based on the policy of the company.

Customer Transactions

The following are the customer request in relation to customer assistance:

1. Queries – Pertains to customer request for information related to his electricity supply. Some examples are as follows:
- Status of service application
- Invoice amount and due date
- Payment point information
- Previous payments made

2. Complaint – Pertains to customer expression of disagreement, dispute or discontent with the some services provided by the company.

3. Generation of Work Order – Pertains to customer request for field work. Some of customer request are meter check, temporary disconnection, etc.

4. Correction of System Information – Pertains to receiving request to change some information related to customer, account or service.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Data Gathering Preparation: Defining Working Zones/Lots and Assignment of Lots

Prior to the start of field campaign, DG (Data Gatheritn) Project Managers together with the Sub-department Manager will define the location of DGC (Data Gathering Center) in the sub-department where field campaigns will be carried out. This definition will be based on the most effective distances that should be traveled from DGC to location of campaign execution and the availability of room with proper facilities for setting up DGCs.

Once DGC has been set-up, DGC Head and Reading Supervisor will proceed to organize of the data using current route-itinerary sequence with the use of DGMS (Data Gathering Management System). If certain BW (Billing Window/System) has good reference number that contains the sequence of route-itinerary, they can continue with creating of lots. However, if the reference numbers are not reliable, DGC Head and Reading Supervisor should organize the data using their current reading/book card.

The sequenced data will then be broken into lots (creation of lots) that should be gathered by surveyors. This will serve as working zones for surveyors.

Note: A lot is the group of services that are expected can be captured by a team of surveyors in one day. A lot for example, can be a fraction of an actual route-itinerary. By default the number of services in a lot is 30 for rural area and 60 for urban area. However, these numbers are subject to change by DGC Head and reading supervisor for each BW.

All services that will be gathered should be included in the lot. Lot number will be generated automatically by DGMS when creation of lot is done.

The number of gathered services per lot will be used to measure the performance of the performance of DGC as well as surveyors’ performance.

Once the lots are created, the list of lots can be printed using DGMS to have an overview about number of lots for certain BW. This can help DGC Head to analyze whether field campaign could finish on-time based on the number of surveyors available for selected BW.

DGC Head and reading supervisor will assign the lots to surveyors and put the scheduled dates to be carried out. Assignment module of DGMS will be utilized for this process.

Assignment of lots should consider the location of each lot to DGC for effective dispatch of teams.

Note: If there are services that currently certain BW is not reading because they believe it should be passed to another BW based on location, these services should be gathered by BW where the data is currently located. Even if it means that the surveyors have to cross border BW coverage area to gather those information.