Power NI, an electricity company in Ireland, is piloting a business intelligence tool, normally used in enterprise, to give consumers better visibility of their power usage and bills.

The QlikView BI tool from QlikTech currently allows the power company’s domestic customers to compare their bills on a quarterly basis, and with their bills spanning two years, via Power NI’s ‘Energy Online’ service.

Customers can also compare their electricity usage with other consumers in the same circumstances in the area, for example, those with the same size property and number of occupants.

Power NI hopes to be able to use QlikView to offer personalised offers to customers, as well as enable them to take control of their power usage and reduce their bills.

While the data is only available on a quarterly basis for a pilot set of 260 domestic customers at present, Power NI’s business customers can already see their half-hour usage data the next day.  

This will be possible for the domestic customers as soon as smart meters providing half-hour usage visibility are rolled out.

“We are ready when they have the smart meters in,” said Eugene Maguire, strategic development manager at Power NI.

In addition, Power NI has plans to enable business customers to compare their usage with other organisations in their sector.

A total 5,000 customers are currently involved in the pilot, and the company’s goal is to roll the technology out to an initial 250,000 customers. Power NI has 800,000 customers in total, which includes those on pre-pay metering systems.

Power NI has been using QlikView in the business for three and a half years. It has deployed it “almost like” an enterprise solution, to enable more “timely” decision-making and improve service in areas from customer service to finance and sales, Maguire.

Some 800 million rows of data are fed into the tool, which is currently based on a legacy system. Power NI is currently migrating from this system, and by May, after a two-year programme, will be using QlikView on Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing system. It also uses QlikView for its Cisco system for managing call centre call volumes.