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, September 21, 2008

Difference between Project Management Office (PMO) and Project Managers (PM)

Project Management Office (PMO) exists in the central organization to monitor all the running projects in the company. PMO controls the management of the projects, programs or the combination of both.

Thus, in a nutshell, PMO support and control Project Manager (PM). In details, the difference of PM and PMO are below:

  • PM controls the resources achieve the project objectives, while PMO optimizes the resources to be shared among running projects.
  • PM manages the scope, schedule, costs, and quality of the products. In line with that, PMO manages overall risk, opportunity and the relation between running projects.
  • PM focuses on specific project objectives, while PMO oversees the major programs scope changes and interpret them as potential opportunities to better achieve business objectives.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Cut the Cost of Your Electricity Bill by 40%

With the increase of electricity rates, our electricity bills are increasing even if you usage/consumption remains the same. There are several ways to reduce the cost of your electricity bill. From illegal by doing meter by pass to legal ways.

The legal ways can be done just by reducing the electric consumption. It can be done by choosing lights or appliances that consume less energy. Another way is to an equipment to optimize the use of energy.

This equipment named, Power Saver 8 could cut the cost of electricity by 40%:

  • Plug Power Saver 8 in to any AC socket in your apartment, house, office or factory and forget about it. You will begin to save money on your electricity bill immediately!
  • Five different models are available to order I don't care how small your budget is, we'll have the appropriate product for you.
  • No Maintenance Required. Once your Power Saver 8 is plugged in it requires no attention at all.
  • Noticeable Instant Results. Anybody with a modern electricity meter will see their meter slowing down within seconds of plugging in Power Saver 8.
  • 100% Legal. This is NOT a gray-market device that you have to hide from the power companies. It is a scientifically developed product that uses genuine power-saving techniques.
  • Use it Anywhere, Power Saver 8 plugs into any AC socket. it has been tested in nearly every country, on every electrical system without problems. It can be used with a plug adaptor to convert it to any power system and plug shape.
  • Preserves your Appliances, by reducing the temperatures in your wiring.
  • Extra Protection, For users of our more powerful units the power saver models comes with an internal fuse to protect your circuits from unrelated power surges.

  • Monday, September 01, 2008

    Making Bio Diesel at Home

    With the increase of oil price in the world, people have been looking to create their own small bio diesel production at home. Is it difficult? If you follow the step by step of making bio diesel at home ebook, it would be very easy. You can start saving hundred or even thousand of dollar every month. See it your self this ebook about making bio diesel at home.

    Saturday, April 26, 2008

    Putting Meter outside the property

    Many electric companies install meter inside customer's property for the following reasons:
    1. To avoid that the meter is being stolen.
    2. To avoid weather conditions like rain, hot temperature, etc.
    3. To avoid people vandalism.

    These type of strategy does not seem to be very strategic in today life. Especially in the big cities where are most couples are working and do not have somebody in the house during working hours. Even if the owner of the house has maid, they usually instruct the maid to not open the door if visitors are not recognized. This behavior will surely becoming obstacle for meter readers to do their job. In the end, the electric consumption need to be estimated. Or in some electric company, the bill is not going to be generated and waiting for next real reading.

    Energy or commercial losses are increasing if the electric companies are not going to do something about it. With the advancing technologies, meter are becoming cheaper and cheaper every year. Not to mention that the meter is mostly weather proof. This is a great news for electric companies as they could launch a campaign to move the meter outside the property. Moving the meter outside the property will surely:
    1. Speed up the reading process.
    2. Easily identify fraud done by customers.
    3. In the end, it reduces commercial losses and bring more revenues to companies.

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    Paying Electric Bill with Cash Advance

    Previous post was discussing about paying the electric bill with credit card. The idea is to make a payment before due date to avoid the hassle of disconnection done by the electricity company. Recent movement of electricity companies is to shorten the due date to collect money faster. It is a strategy to reduce the commercial cycle (reading-billing-collection). Aside from collecting money faster, they tend to do the disconnection as soon as the due date is past. This is to reduce the commercial loss of giving electricity to non-paying customer.

    Paying with credit card could be convenient but when your credit card gets the limits, and you are facing with the approaching deadline of paying your electricity bills, there are other alternative for paying the bill.

    Try to get cash advance could be a solution. In the end, you do not need to loan much money just to cover your electricity bill payment. There are much institution that could offer payday loans. Some could offer an online approval that is very convenient as compared that you need to submit the application form by coming to their office. Once approve, the money is wired directly to you savings account.

    Paying Electric bill with cash advance is similar to paying it with cash. Once you got the money, you could either

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Paying Electric Bill with Credit Card

    Paying electric bill is something routine that we need to do it every month. Well, it depends on your electric provider whether they are issuing the bill monthly or quarterly. If you noticed, every years, the electric company becomes more strict in deadline of payments. If you pass the deadline without paying the bill on time, in 1 or 2 days, you will get a notice of disconnection right away. Disregarding this notice will lead into disconnection electricity.

    As electricity becomes an important part of our life, we do not want the disconnection to happen. That is why I am suggesting you to enroll your electric bill payment through credit cards. You can avoid the hassle of going to payment center or ATM every month to make a payment of your bill. However, you must check with your credit cards providers if they have setup up an agreement with the electric company to do payments through credit card. If you are not sure about it, you can always look for credit cards review available. You try to compare the providers that will fit best to what you need. Some credit card providers even give a cash back when you are using it for payments, including the payments of electric bill. In the end, it is just like having a discount by paying your electric bill through credit cards.

    Friday, March 14, 2008

    Slowing down electric meter

    In my previous post, I wast posting about how to by pass meter (electricity meter). The commonly done is by tampering electric meter. Tampering does not always mean to open the meter and manipulate the internal process of the meter. The common meter tampering is just by use magnet to slow down or to stop completely the disc rotation.

    I was looking at this video that I found. The author of this video seems to do a lot of stuff with magnet with the main objective is to slow down meter disc rotation. I am not quite sure why he needs to put wire, cup, water, etc. Only with magnet alone, this can already slowing down or completely stop the meter disc from rotation.

    In any case, doing these kind of meter tampering is easily noticed by electricity company (through readers). And in most countries, doing such an illegal activities can end up to a penalty bill or even a jail terms. So, think twice again if you want to tamper your electric meters.

    Electric Meter Tamper! How To Reduce Your Electricity Bill In Half! - video powered by Metacafe

    Sunday, February 17, 2008

    Determining Current Energy Costs

    One of the first things that you should do when looking at your ability to make your home more cost efficient is to know just what you are currently paying.

    By taking the time to determine what you are currently spending on energy, you can better determine which areas you have the potential to save with. In each area of the country, there are different rates, different co ops and a wide range of different types of fuel to take into consideration.

    It is up to you to find out what you are paying based on your monthly bill payments. Look at those payments and notice two things.

    • What is the amount that you pay per unit that you use of that fuel type?

    • What is the amount of that fuel type that you use per month in units?

    Your goal, then, is to notice how you can change these.

    Previous Section --- Next Section

    Saturday, February 16, 2008

    How To Make Your Home Energy and Cost Efficient

    In most countries, the tariff of electricity keeps on increasing. One of the reasons is because the raw material to make to energy arises for the past years. Limitation of energy pushes government to regulate tariff with higher prices with the objective that customer will use electricity wisely. In this post and the following posts, I would try to discuss the method you can follow to case energy and in the end, it will save of money for electricity costs.

    It doesn't matter if you've never experienced energy efficient homes up close and personal, This guide will tell you everything you need to know, without spending too much brainpower!

    Here's Just "Sneak-Peak" At What You'll Uncover With How To Make Your House Energy And Cost Efficient

    * Discover how to determine your current costs.
    * Learn the cost of savings analysis.
    * Find out exactly how to get started on your biggest needs.
    * Discover how exactly to save big money with windows.
    * Learn how to start small for huge savings.
    * Discover the fireplace advantage.
    * Find out all the energy saving tips to develop.
    * Discover how to properly use your thermostat for your energy saving needs.
    * Learn exactly what energy star is and how to use it to your advantage.
    * Discover how to make the outside of your house energy efficient easily.
    * Learn all about alternative sources of fuel.
    * Discover how build your new home to meet your energy saving needs!
    * Learn all the little things you can do to save huge on your bottom line.
    * Plus much MUCH More!

    Just follow the post and navigation to go to previous or next section of this discussions at the end of each section.

    Next Section

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Benefits of Electricity Digital Panel Meter

    Electricity Digital Panel Meter or for short Digital Meter has been available in the market by different vendors. The question arises for Electricity or other utility companies in general if they need to invest in digital meters.

    Digital meters are NOT all Automatic Meter Reading (AMR). Digital meter is just like analog meters but displaying measures in digital, while AMR is sending the meter reading data to reading center periodically using communication technology like internet, network LAN, GPRS, etc.

    In this article, we will discuss only Digital Meters. If digital meters are just like analog meter, so what the benefits to migrate to digital meters? Below are some benefits that electricity companies can have by using digital meters:

    # Digital Meter can measure electricity consumption more accurately and reliably. With the digital technology, the problem of meter brakes that could happen in meter analog will not going to be encountered. This way, electricity company will charge the bill to customer more fair. The company can even decides to be as accurate as decimal points in term of electricity consumption.
    # Related to previous point, since the mechanical parts are less, the maintenance period becomes less as well. The age of digital meter can be longer than ordinary mechanical/analog meters.
    # Most digital meters are designed to be AMR ready. Electricity company has option to read this meter using conventional meter readers or through AMR (network LAN, etc).
    # Most digital meters are equipped with probe or scanning device. This is used to transfer reading in semi automatic way. Why semi automatic? because reader should go to the meter with Hand Held Unit / Pocket PC and connect to pocket PC probe to digital meter probe. The digital meter will then transfer all the reading information to Pocket PC. This will be a good way to ensure that the readers are visiting the property instead of doing cheating by inputting reading in "coffee shop".
    # Reduce cases of meter tampering. Digital meter is more difficult to tamper, if bypass meter is done, the short circuit can send signal to meter that possible tampering is done.

    Before deciding if it is necessary to migrate to digital meters, a feasibility study needs to be done. Simple survey to ask within the company department should be carry out:
    1. Does currently the company and client concern about more accurate reading? If the tariff price is high, this could be an issue. If the tariff is very small, it will not make a big difference by having 1-2 kW consumption.
    2. Does currently the company spend big budget to maintain mechanical meters?
    3. Does currently the company experience a lot of meter tampering cases?
    4. Etc.

    The feasibility study will decide whether the investment will give more benefits in term of tangible and intangible for future.

    Currently, several companies that are producing digital meters are: Centron, GE, GANZ, IKRA, EMH, etc.

    Sunday, January 27, 2008

    Qualities that the Project Team Should Have

    The term project becomes so familiar in our every day work. The successful projects running in companies often tempt to have more projects to be launched simultaneously. Upper management could easily forget the important of solid project team member to drive the projects to be successful.

    As defined in "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) Third Edition", the project management team should understand and use knowledge and skills from at least five areas of expertise:

    - The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)
    - Application area knowledge, standards, and regulation
    - Understanding Project Environment
    - General Management Knowledge and Skill
    - Interpersonal Skills

    One project member is not required to master of the areas above. However, as a project team, they should have covered all aspects. Details of each expertise area are discussed below:

    1. PMBOK can be illustrated as sets of knowledge and skills that are generally accepted to have project management. Read details in some PMBOK guides/books.
    2. Application area knowledge is the area that has common element to the project but does not need to be present in the project. Such area has standards and regulations that project team member should be aware of. One example is when having a construction project. One should aware that in the application area of construction there are sets of standard (with or without ISO) for building constructions, and sets of regulations that are imposed by government.
    3. Understanding Project Environment. Environment could be cultural, social, international, political, or physical environment.
    4. General Management Knowledge Skills are the skills required to carry out planning, organizing, staffing, executing, and controlling the project phases. The knowledge and skills could be varied like financial, accounting, sales, marketing, logistics, supply chain, information technology, etc. Project manager should have strong skills on this point.
    5. Interpersonal Skills includes the skills like: effective communication, leadership, motivation, negotiation and conflict management, problem solving, etc.

    Therefore, an organization should identify the right persons to be included in the project and make sure they (as a team) can encompass all aspect discussed above. This is to ensure the project objectives can be achieved at the targeted time and costs.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    Attention to Utility Company: When your meter data is not reliable

    In some utility company, the meter information stored in billing system is not reliable. This situation could happen when utility company pays too much attention of customer ID or service ID or property ID or other ID to locate and identify the service. It means that when doing meter reading, the readers tends to look for those IDs instead of meter information. If your company is guilty of doing this activity, try to look on how many anomalies or exception related to meter reading. Either, the consumption is too high, too low, or considered as many meter turn overs. If the statistics show that the number of anomalies related to meter reading is high, most probably your utility company has no meter information updated in billing system.

    One action to correct the meter information is by doing data gathering to obtain updated meter information. To make it worst is that only readers know how to locate the property based on ID. And most of the time, you will not want to allocate your readers to do data gathering that could take time as compared to normal reading. This can sacrifice the billing period that your company has set. Not to mention if the house is locked and the reader needs to wait.

    One solution is to use other resources as surveyors and they will do sweeping the whole area. In order to make the sweeping efficient and they could link all the meter info to correct customer ID or other ID, a preliminary campaign should be done. A reader when doing normal reading should put sticker near the meter info and write related customer ID or whatever ID that the company wants to relate to. This way, the surveyor could link all the meter info gathered to the ID used in billing system.

    Train the surveyor effectively so that the method of sweeping is done correctly and surveyor know the meter information to gather.

    Take note on meter exchange done during the data gathering period. All meter exchange activities should be monitored and integrated with data gathering data to make sure that the data is always updated.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008

    Project Manager Leisure Activities

    As project manager, you tend to be invited to some informal meetings. These informal meetings could take place in restaurants, golf courts, or even casinos. That it why as a project manager, one should as well enhance his or her social knowledges for other sports and/or activities during leisure time. A common interest could make an informal meeting more relax. Imagine a situation where you are invited to casino by your partner to have informal meeting and you just stand there having conversation without playing. Simply because you do not know how to play the game.

    Well, it is never too late to learn something new. With advanced technologies nowadays, you can easily try to play online casinos. However, be very careful with some online casinos because they are fraud. Big Fraud! You should keep your credit card from such website. Try to look the reviews of online casino in Online Casino Topic. That website is giving a review of outstanding online casinos available. Try to look on the detailed review and you can find some of the sites are giving bonuses for you to play with. Aside from the review, the site offers you some tips and strategy. If you are really beginner, there is an information page that describe how the game is being played with the rules.

    Some of you might thing that this is not a good idea to learn how to play. Well my friend, my opinion is that something is bad if it is excessively and without control Even working could be bad if you do it over and loss control of your rest time. Online casino is a good place to learn as you can control yourself without the pressure of other people watching you or waiting for your move. You can start with penny deals as well.

    In the end, it is good to learn new things!

    Saturday, January 19, 2008

    Analysis and Design Phase - Pay Attention to it!

    "Analysis and Design" Phase is a phase in Project Management for Application or Software. During this process, a consultant or analyst will do depth analysis on the current situation and relate them with the application, software, or system that are going to be implemented or enhanced.

    Though it is one of very important phase in the project management, there seem to be ignored or not paid attention to. Below are the common reasons:

    1. The Analysis and Design considered as a "boring" phase in the project. The analyst need to document all activities and gaps that we identified. The design created is sometime too general. Client or parties being interviewed are sometime just tell the problems in general without going into details. They get bored telling the problems and assuming that the consultant or analyst should pick up their own from any documentation available.

    2. Lack of of time dedicated. With limited time, analyst often relies on client's documents or interview. The important part is too see or experience him/herself the current system and understand the behavior and problems of the current systems.

    3. Related to point 1 and 2, the design is not detailed or not yet verified by the technical people that are going to do the enhancement. The design is supposed to be detailed with proposed print screens of the enhancement or functionalities. Clients or users does not tend to understand the detail design during approval. In their mind, they will wait until the development is finished and will do the review afterwards. But this is not how it suppose to work. Both parties should understand in details what the design is and how the end product will be to avoid arguments during product testing.

    In order to avoid problem and make a good analyst and design, project manager or team leader should allocate enough time and good analyst on this phase. Analyst should understand fully about the system and create as detailed design documentation as possible. All proposed windows, functions, and button should be presented if applicable. Analysis on cases, what if, should be documented as well.

    On the other hand, client or user should put more effort collaborating with analyst to inform him/her all concerns. When the design documentation if finished, client should understand completely what are in the document.

    In the end, it is better to re-work on design documentations until both parties are satisfied with the design. It is more cost and time savings to re-do the design documentations instead of to re-do the development in future.