Signal, Why it's the Best Utility Rate Engine
By Tarpan Dixit
| Reading time 4 minutes
Many companies, including some utilities, have attempted to build utility rate engines. While most have ultimately failed or abandoned development due to the complex challenges involved, others cut scope and developed solutions for narrow use-cases. Signal is the first and only rate engine that provides revenue grade accuracy, comes out of the box with full coverage in North America and select international markets and includes what-if and distributed energy (DER) features. This makes Signal both a rate engine and a recommendation engine.
Earlier this year, Oracle Opower evaluated different rate engine solutions to plug into their next generation of digital engagement products. After careful consideration of all available solutions, including building a rate engine in-house, they selected Genability Signal. Together, we will deliver rate analysis, rate education reports, what-if analysis, and many new insights to millions of residential and commercial customers.
What makes a great rate engine?
Rate engines are no longer just about batch billing. They must be configurable on the fly, scale quickly, provide multiple calculations in an instant, and offer a suite of new features that support the distributed energy landscape. A rate engine should enable web or mobile digital engagement, batch reports, and offer insights useful for customer service. Customers want to understand the cost impacts of modifying their energy usage whether through purchase of products and services or simple changes in when they operate appliances. Whether it’s forecasting cost impacts of usage changes, evaluating costs across multiple tariff plans, or modeling new energy products like solar or EVs, the rate engine sits at the heart of the customer experience.
We’ve built Signal with all of this top of mind, specifically focusing on four core areas; Flexibility, Accuracy, Scalability, and Performance.
Genability has modeled every tariff we have seen whether residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural. Our data covers over 95% of the United States and select international markets, more than 1,200 load serving entities and nearly 15,000 tariffs complete with riders and electives. The diversity of tariffs we currently model includes time variant rates, demand charges, indexed rates, and numerous other configurations. When a utility proposes a new tariff, we likely have a similar tariff structure in production elsewhere. No need to invent anything.
For over five years we’ve provided cost and savings information to New Energy companies. Our customers include leaders in residential and commercial solar, energy storage, EV charging, energy efficiency and smart appliances. We bring that expertise and functionality to Signal so that your customers can instantly model cost and savings impacts of distributed energy purchases. Signal is versatile. It generates accurate calculations with the data you have; AMI data, monthly meter readings, or forecasting with incomplete data.
We have the most accurate tariff engine on the market. This has been demonstrated both by our track record of acquiring new customers, but also by third party validations like NREL’s in 2015. Once in production, we’re continuously QAing thousands of calculations against expected and actual bill values to ensure accuracy is preserved for all customers, irrespective of tariff or elective. We can model, verify & introduce new tariffs structures in as few as ten business days, and make simple rate changes in one business day. _Every time a change is made, we run extensive regressions against every permutation of every tariff, elective, and rider. By making sure the changes successfully regress against these control data scenarios, we ensure accuracy is preserved for all customers. When working directly with utility companies who have access to granular usage and bill determinant information, _we guarantee 99% accuracy.
A major focus when designing Signal was making sure onboarding of new utilities is fast and always improving. We’re currently in production with more than 50 companies, all with various platforms in applications including solar, storage, commercial building energy management, EV charging, and smart appliances. We have solutions in place that address common stumbling points during integration including things like rounding, daylight savings time, holidays, etc. Our team actively supports tariff mapping to whatever data sources are available whether utility billing systems, meter data management systems, or other databases. We’ll make sure you get into production as quickly as possible, and frequently support multiple integrations simultaneously. Once in production there is dedicated staff monitoring the accuracy of our services, and a support team that is always available to answer data or engineering questions. We scale technology and resources to make sure there’s always more than enough capacity to support call volume well beyond actual levels.
Utilities are scaling vertically in the number of customers, as well as horizontally with new tariffs, products and services. Signal is built to support calculations simultaneously for multiple utilities. Signal is fast and reliable. Our cloud based solution is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and scales automatically with demand (see figure 1 below). We use advanced caching so rates return quickly, and have a parallelized architecture to provide speed and scale. With Signal, all of your data is secure. Our databases use industry-standard backup procedures and failover. Your data is always available.
Signal comes with strong SLAs that ensure speed and throughput. We understand that calculations must occur instantaneously for website and mobile engagement. Paper reports and outbound communications require the ability to run millions of customers through multiple calculations. Our services are designed to deliver sub 150ms response times for on-demand calculations and can handle millions of accounts to populate information on outbound communications.
We take great pride in actively supporting our more than 50 customers, ranging from large organizations, like Engie and GE, to emerging energy customers like Drift who are growing their businesses. Genability is committed to serving you and your end customers Our support team is comprised of subject matter experts available to help you along the way. More information about Genability is available here on our website.
See how Signal might help you by contacting sales.
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