Smart meter remote commissioning
How we helped save costs by implementing a remote commissioning process
In order to meet a long-term requirement that all customers must have a working Smart Meters installed in their property by mid 2025, our client needed to ensure all installed Smart Meters were commissioned and remained functioning. Commissioning a meter involves linking it to the communication network via the comms hub, linking the comms hub to the in-home display and then ensuring the comms hub is sending readings to the central collections agency who stores all the readings.
Not all Smart Meters can be commissioned on the day of installation and sending highly skilled engineers back to the site to commission the meters was costly.
Remote commissioning was restricted by signal failures, bad connections, faulty equipment and the inability of customers to complete the process.
Our client needed a cost-efficient way to commission those Smart Meters which were not set-up on installation or have failed to communicate since installation.
Addressing the problem, we set up a team in Cape Town to make proactive outbound calls to customers where it had been identified the meter was not commissioned or was not communicating correctly. This involved working with the end customers in their homes to take them through the appropriate steps to get the meter working correctly.
In addition, we received inbound calls from both meter readers visiting sites and also meter installers on sites trying to commission large numbers of meter installations in one go e.g. a new build project. In each occasion we would work with the field engineer to commission the Smart Meters.
The key to unlocking better performance was based on the skill of our people, our technology and our processes.
Using our omnichannel dialler we were able to:
- Reach customers at different times of the day
- Include two-way SMS communication into the campaign
- Introduce hybrid strategies utilising voice messages and SMS to reach out to the customer driving inbound calls
A high skills set was ensured through training, access was created to back office systems and we had direct access to DCC systems. All of this was supported by a dedicated campaign management team
Overall, we were able to achieve a resolution rate of 40%. For every meter we were unsuccessful in commissioning we were able to provide the client with a ‘next best action’ for them to follow up. We came across issues such as:
- No signal due to location of the meter
- Customer unable to follow the process
- The smart meter had never been installed
- Faulty equipment
In addition, by using an offshore location in South Africa, costs were reduced by 50%.