SANDY Forecast Service: Advance-Payment Check for Gas

Happier customers, thanks to dynamic advance payments

The gas consumption in a household is influenced by a variety of factors. In addition to structural changes and changes in consumption habits, especially the weather influences consumption. A “gas year” generally does not run as calculated and the planned advance payments do not match. High additional payments or credit memos are not a rarity. Especially additional payments are unpleasant for the customer and often attributed to the energy provider. Offer an interim advance payment adjustment during the year, which helps to minimize additional payments and credit memos. With the “Advance Payment Check for Gas”, a possible deviation from the predicted consumption can be calculated at any time. This permits the adjustment of advance payments based on demand and your customers have an overview of consumption and costs at all times. The resulting financial planning security contributes to customer satisfaction. In addition, cancellations due to high additional payments will be reduced. You can also offer the service to non-customers without a problem!
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Product advantages in detail
Gas customers pay a monthly advance payment toward the gas delivery, which is planned and specified for the following year. The energy provider does not apply the paid advance payments to the actual consumption until after an entire year has passed. However, unusually warm or cold winters or changes of the consumption behavior are not taken into account and lead a deviation of the actual consumption from the advance payment basis, which can be major in some cases. This results in high additional payments or credit memos. However, a correct monthly advance payment is in the best interest of the customer and also the provider: When excessive advance payments are made, the customer receives a credit; however, he has high monthly costs and thereby the subjective impression that he has entered an unfavorable contract. In the case of insufficient advance payments, the resulting additional payment causes the customer to be dissatisfied and an increased willingness to change gas providers. As a gas providers, you are offering your customers the option to transmit the meter reading during the year, for example, monthly via cell phone or hourly by way of recording the optical meter reading. Based on this data, the “Advance Payment Check for Gas” predicts the consumption up to the annual invoice. This takes local weather conditions and the customer’s consumption behavior into account. You can then use the current values to determine the best advance payment yourself. Or SANDY takes over the calculation of the advance payment for you, if relevant pricing information is provided. The forecast can be updated in regular intervals to ensure the best possible amount of the advance payment. This will allow you to position yourself as an innovative provider and benefit you with increased customer satisfaction. As a suggestion for a possible application, the service can be integrated as a function “Advance payment check for Gas” in your customer portal or your customer app to make it available to your customer “on demand”. Or, you check all advance payments in regular intervals for accuracy and incorporate the result in your customer communication. Of course, it is also possible to offer this service for non-customers. This allows non-customers to check with you independently if the advance payment is accurate for the current energy provider or if it should be adjusted. You thereby provide an insight into your good customer services, a positive image of your company and the potential for a new customer acquisition.

User scenario

Excessive or insufficient consumption fore If an additional payment arises from the annual invoice, it is upsetting for the customer because he did not expect this additional expense. As a result, he frequently considers a change of providers to enter a contract that appears to be more cost-effective. If the customer receives a credit, it is initially perceived as a positive but it also means to him that he has been paying excessive amounts for months. In this case, the customer perceives the gas provider to be too expensive. Optimized consumption forecast through “Advance Payment Check for Gas” The intelligent forecast of SANDY provides the customer with a more transparent insight in his consumption. The analysis can be used early on to determine if an additional payment or a refund must be expected in the accounting period. This allows both contract parties to adjust the monthly payments with flexibility. No financial resources are tied up for either side and no one has to expect unexpected demands. In addition, the customer benefits with immediate profit from energy saving actions without having to wait for the next accounting cycle
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Target Group
Power company energy distribution companies
Added value for your customer
 financial planning security by preventing unexpected high additional payments or credits prevention of excessively high monthly advance payments consumption based, prompt and continuously adjusted advance payments positive insight into your services for non-customers
Added value for your company
 intelligent and innovative enhancements for your products reduction of the cancellation rate due to high additional payments establishment of the potential for new customer acquisition customer satisfaction and customer loyalty is increased by preventing excessively high advance payments fast, easy, cost-efficient integration in existing systems scaling with growing customer base all of the benefits of “Software as a Service”, for instance high availability, automatic updates, no maintenance expense no use of personal data high degree of security with secured and encrypted interfaces
Technical Details
Cloud service Communication via state-of-the-art RESTful API Input: –   past meter readings of the customer (minimum: quarterly, recommended: monthly to weekly) –   desired forecast period (point in time annual invoice) –   optional: Price information for the calculation of the advance payment   Output: –    predicted consumption of the customer in the requested forecast period   Security: –   encrypted data transmission via HTTPS –   authorization via individual API key –   reliable operation in the Microsoft Azure Cloud

 A solution with many possibilities

The service logic that is used in the background of the “Advance Payment Check for Gas” can be modified for applications in other areas, such as settlements for power customers. Our tip: Enhance the “Advance Payment check for Gas” with our product “Disaggregation Gas”. It provides the customer with a breakdown of his consumption by heating and water treatment and thereby an even more transparent bill.

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