Redknee and Elster agree prepaid energy partnership

Redknee and Elster have inked a strategic agreement to offer an end-to-end prepayment solution for utilities, which will combine the Redknee Connected Suite for smart utility billing and Elster’s smart grid software solutions.

Elster’s smart grid software solutions provide utilities with a unified and simple approach for securely collecting, processing, storing and managing smart grid data. The software eliminates challenges that arise for utilities operating separate data collection and management systems, and its built-in workflow automation and guided decision-making are designed to enhance operator productivity and reduce the cost and complexity of utility operations. Elster covers the entire energy value chain from smart meter platforms to meter data management solutions, giving utilities confidence that all the elements of Elster’s solutions are interoperable.

The Redknee Connected Suite rates and bills data from smart meters and home energy management systems in real-time. It enables energy providers and utilities to seamlessly manage prepaid energy accounts by remotely connecting and disconnecting smart meters, managing load reduction and balancing control. Energy providers can enhance the client experience by allowing customers to make payments to their prepaid energy accounts, receive notifications and access energy consumption information, in real time, using their smartphones or other mobile devices.

The joint offering will be available in Asia, Europe, and South America. For North America, Elster has a long-standing partnership with Exceleron, which is a leading provider of prepaid account management solutions to electric co-operatives and public power utilities there.

Commenting on the announcement, Kim Arlund Nørgaard, Global Head of Solutions at Elster said: “At Elster our vision is to provide a single, unified multi-vendor, multi-network application suite that caters to all scenarios, and our partnership with Redknee is a major step in this direction. By integrating our adaptive smart grid software suite with Redknee’s flexible real-time software, we are effectively combining best-of-breed software to provide a new, innovative energy solution, which will enable our customers to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to evolve with smart meters and smart grids.”

Redknee’s CEO Lucas Skoczkowski added: “Redknee is pleased to partner with Elster to provide an innovative prepayment energy solution. This strategic agreement emphasizes Redknee’s ability to support the connected digital economy, and to address new opportunities for growth with our proven converged charging, billing and customer care solutions.”

While Redknee is better known for supplying real-time software solutions to communication services providers, the vendor has been addressing the utility sector for several years. In a contract announced earlier this year, Redknee is supporting a major Asia-Pacific conglomerate as it launches as an energy retailer. The Redknee Connected Suite will rate and bill data from smart meters and home energy management systems in real time and enable the service provider to offer customers real-time insights into their energy consumption.

Through its acquisition of Orga Systems in July 2015, Redknee is also engaged in what will become one of the world’s largest smart prepayment roll-outs, at the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) in the Philippines. Initially targeting 40,000 homes by the end of 2015, Meralco plans to extend the ‘Kuryente Load’ prepaid service to another 100,000 residential customers in the future.

Redknee has also teamed up with mobile network operator Digicel to enable the service provider’s customers in Papua New Guinea to buy prepaid electricity top-ups using their mobile phones.