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The smart grid will require change to billing IT infrastructure to enable utilities and other energy providers to deal with specific challenges. Some of the change is absolutely necessary (for instance, ensuring that billing systems can scale to new volumes of data and more frequent meter reading, and deal with management and rating of new mandatory tariffs) and some of it is discretionary (support for new services that utilities and other electricity retailers may choose to offer – such as electric vehicle roaming).
The smart grid billing challenges can be addressed in different ways, and each company will choose to do things differently. Decisions on billing system change – for instance, whether to go for a “big bang” or an “adjunct system” approach, will be taken in the light of the company’s competitive market position, and its existing IT infrastructure.
In the last couple of years, much smart grid investment has been meters, and much billing-related investment has been in data-collection and management (Meter Data Management, MDM) rather than in the charging, billing and customer care. But contracts for highly capable billing systems are starting to point the way towards increased opportunities for billing system vendors.
Four types of supplier are competing for the smart grid billing system market: established enterprise IT system vendors with a very large footprint in the utility space; MDMS vendors whose systems can offer rating and charging; billing system vendors with a telecoms background; and new entrant vendors that have built billing system for smart grids from the ground up.
"Smart Grid Billing Outlook 2012-2016" assesses both the demand for smart grid billing systems / Customer Information Systems (CISs), and the supply-side of the market, identifying and characterising four types of supplier, and profiling ten example vendors. It additionally provides five-year market forecasts for capex and maintenance spend on billing systems and other IT infrastructure globally, and the regional split of this spend in 2012 and 2016.