On 28 November 2017, the AEMC made a final rule to change the settlement period for the electricity spot price from thirty minutes to five minutes, with the changes to be implemented by late 2021. 5-minute settlement (5MS) provides a better price signal for investment in fast response technologies, such as batteries, new generation gas peaker plants and demand response. It is one of the biggest changes the Australian market has seen since the NEM was formed in the ’90s, with the impacts on all those involved in the sector no less wide-ranging.
An Australian B2B Energy supplier needed to meet the regulatory changes for 5-minute settlement of interval metered customers and provide high availability, resilience and scalability required of mission-critical billing systems.
One of the largest considerations with moving to 5-minute settlement is the increase of data. With standing data changes and additional meter data to manage, Gentrack needed to handle the increased data load with around 70 different industry procedures affected and around six times more meter data to manage and store.
Choosing an accurate, market compliant software solution that can handle the increased data load and keep the mission critical meter to cash processes running within the available processing window is crucial in ensuring retailers and energy suppliers can make a smooth transition to 5-minute settlement.
Gentrack’s approach to building cloud services to deliver functional components strategically provides value to customers in ever changing regulatory environments.
The development of Gentrack’s Meter Data Services on AWS predates the industry’s 5-minute settlement regulatory changes. However, the scheduling of the 5MS industry program fast-tracked the urgency and implementation of this service to market, with the need to process large volumes of interval data as a by-product of the industry-wide changes in Australia.
Gentrack’s Meter Data Services on AWS is a fully managed cloud service that supports the ingestion, analysis, and querying of large volumes of meter data. It is designed to be used by multiple systems within the utility’s enterprise including Gentrack’s Billing System and other systems to support critical workflows and processes and provides:
• Efficient storage of meter data
• Processing of large complex account workloads
• Turning detailed consumption data into actionable insight
The product facilitates low latency access to meter data, aggregates energy usage, and gives controlled access to meter data, allowing providers the ability to scale using native cloud services with data while supporting all interval based NUOS calculations in the NEM.
It is designed not just for 5-minute interval data, but potentially finer increments, through the ability to scale using native cloud services and can execute many processes concurrently.
The performance and scalability needed to meet data increases from 5MS also creates the opportunity to realise some efficiency improvements for retailers.
With this implementation, there was a 25 per cent timeframe reduction for processing meter data and associated invoicing cycles, allowing the retailer to bill their customers a day ahead of the previous process.
This pulls forward significant cash flow for the critical first of the month billing cycle, and for subsequent cycles.
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