Category Archives: Commodity Pricing

Safari 4.19 Preview: Energy Contract Pricing

Users of EnSite Safari Suite know energy contract pricing is a cornerstone of energy sales management. Safari Contracts support complex energy pricing and unit management for natural gas and electricity, a key component of success in retail energy sales. A host of features make complex energy billing with Safari manageable, efficient, and highly audit friendly.

Safari users also know that the Contract interface is constantly evolving, and that’s especially true for our latest release of Safari Version 4.19. Read on to find out more about the latest innovations in Safari energy contract pricing and management.

New Price Type Management Dialog Box

The Exhibit Pricing Details screen has been enhanced to include a new, separate dialog box for the management of pricing assigned for the exhibit. This  “isolates” the Price Type management functions in the screen’s upper grid from functions at the screen’s lower grid. This enhancement greatly reduces the likelihood of user errors and system errors that can be caused by the screen’s two grids being simultaneously available for editing.

EnSite Safari Suite Energy Contract Pricing Interface

View Pricing Rate Details from the Pricing Screen

On the Exhibit Pricing Details screen and the Charges tab of the Add/Edit Contracts screen, where Index/Rate Names are displayed, users can now double-click the Rate Name to open the applicable Rate screen to show the Rate and its Values.

The applicable Rate shown at the Contract Pricing grid or the Charges tab may be a Pricing Rate, Tariff Rate or Pipeline Rate, or the Composite Rate for a Composite Pricing Index. If a Rate is double-clicked at one of these locations, the appropriate Rate screen opens. If the rate is a Composite rate, a user can double-click the individual Rates (under the Component Name column at the Composite Pricing Index screen’s lower grid) to open the Pricing Rates screen to see the Pricing Rate’s values.

EnSite Safari Suite Energy Contract Pricing Interface

Copy Energy Contract Pricing from Source Spreadsheets

Entry of energy Contract Pricing has been enhanced for Version 4.19 to allow the user to set up prices and volumes in a spreadsheet and then transfer the entries to the Exhibit Pricing Details screen using standard copy and paste methods.

EnSite Safari Suite Energy Contract Pricing Interface

 

Complex Energy Pricing for Retail Energy Billing

Billing for “units x price = cost” is not so tough, wouldn’t you agree? Of course, retail energy billing for large commercial and industrial end users is a tad more complex. And by “a tad” we mean, of course, about a metric ton. In this article, learn how EnSite Safari Suite has grown up with the C & I market to become a powerhouse of complex energy pricing for large-scale consumers of electricity and natural gas.

From General to Specific: Safari Complex Energy Pricing

Safari Suite does a lot of great things. One reason for this blog is to isolate and define particular market scenarios that have informed the “DNA” of the system, and one of these is the commercial and industrial retail energy marketplace.

While it’s true that Safari is a leader in EDI automation, customer care, commodity management, third-party system integration, cycle billing, and more, the system’s ability to manage complex energy pricing for demanding high-volume end users has contributed greatly to the success of the product in the retail energy space. As energy marketers know, the process of negotiating and closing a sale for complex energy pricing products, while complicated in itself, is only half the battle. The other half is to price, invoice, settle, and audit high-volume sales consistently and efficiently over time.

Safari Suite helps our customers join these two halves into a cohesive whole — and that’s how they win  in their markets.

Safari Pricing via Price Components

Safari pricing employs “building block” price components that build upon the “base” floating Index or fixed Buy Price to assemble a complex invoiced sale price for commodity or other unit-based consumption (such as Basis or Demand). A wealth of “standard” price types are available, but it’s fairly common for Safari users to employ custom price types as well. Each of the price types discussed in this article can be thought of as standard types from which customized pricing can be constructed.

Retail energy pricing can be divided into two broad categories: pricing for fixed or contracted units (with or without settlement) or full requirements pricing.  Within each of these two categories, Safari supports fixed price and index-priced offerings. Hybrid “hedged” indexed pricing includes the ability to trigger and track unlimited fixed price “blocks” of the contracted volume.

In addition to the base Buy Price/Index component, Safari price types support useful pricing “upgrade” components applicable to the various price offerings.

Margin/Adders/Fixed Basis – “plug-in” dollar amounts for Margin, a fixed Basis price for natural gas, and multiple Adders are available as additive price components for many price types.

Percent Upgrade – a user-entered percentage value can be automatically applied to the assembled price (e.g., Buy Price/Index Price + Margin times “X” percent) and added to the final unit price. Applicable to both contracted/full requirements unit prices and settlement (excess) unit prices.

Fuel Upgrade – a published Utility Tariff Rate (i.e., a managed rate specific to a Utility) is user-selected to upgrade the assembled price by the Utility’s published loss factor to recapture fuel/line loss in the metered unit price. Applicable to contracted/full requirements unit prices and settlement (excess) unit prices.  (Note: Safari also features billed unit upgrades and special line-item unit pricing for loss units).

EnSite Safari Suite Complex Energy Pricing

Full Requirements Pricing

Full requirements pricing types in Safari share the basic characteristic that unit volume does not impact how commodity or other units are priced. The pricing mechanism prices all units the same. The differences among these price types allow marketers to choose between a fixed price or an indexed price, as well as other components that affect the final sale price (described above).

In addition to standard fixed price and index priced offerings, Safari full requirements price types are available for higher/lower index pricing (where the higher or lower of two specified index prices are used at billing time). Additionally, cap/collar/floor pricing is available.

A full requirements “base load” deal may also be utilized to price settlement units for one or more fixed unit deals that are pricing contracted units (see Fixed Unit Pricing and Settlement below for other settlement options.)

Safari Price Indexes

Price types may utilize a fixed “buy price” or an index rate, called a Pricing Rate in Safari. Rates are managed by Unit of Measure for specific commodities, and for specific frequencies (monthly, daily, hourly). Pricing Rates in Safari are typically managed as a mix of published rates (such as NYMEX rates) and in-house proprietary rates and rate blends. To quickly move published rate data into the system, Safari includes a dedicated import protocol for pricing rate values.

In addition to ‘standard’ pricing rates, Safari supports composite rate and WACOG rate maintenance. Composite Rates provide the user with the means to build a custom Pricing Rate that is an additive or averaged composite, or blend, of two or more “standard” Safari Pricing Rates. WACOG rates are based on prices and volumes of purchased natural gas supply packages tracked via Safari Supply Management.

There’s much more to learn about Safari Pricing Rates than can fit in this post. Fortunately, you can learn all about Safari rates and rate management at our recent blog post on the topic.

Fixed Unit Pricing and Settlement

Safari offers a wealth of fixed unit management and pricing options, which will be the topic of a future dedicated blog post. Here, we’ll cover the pricing basics in order to get an overview of user options for fixed unit pricing.

Base Price – Safari fixed unit deals can be managed for fixed price and index priced pricing products, as well as “hybrid” types that provide for indexed baseline pricing supporting triggered fixed price blocks (see below).  The “base” price is applicable to the contracted units for a given account/meter. For all such price types, users may also choose settlement indexes for pricing of any units over or under the contracted units (with “under” units priced as customer credits). Users also have the option of pricing contracted units only, with no settlement pricing on the invoice.

Settlement – Safari includes options for both daily and monthly settlement. Monthly settlement may be for monthly units or aggregated daily units.

For pricing units consumed over the fixed amount specified for the customer, the selected Over index (Safari Pricing Rate) will price the units, along with optional Premium and Fuel components (see above).

For pricing units not consumed by the Account, i.e., units short of the contracted volume, Safari utilizes the selected Under index. Users may also apply a “Restocking Fee,” which will reduce the customer’s credited price per unit by the user-assigned dollar amount.

The automated over/under pricing with user-input premiums for each means that users can employ the same pricing index for both excess and shortfall units.

Estimated Pricing

For Safari Prepay Billing, estimated pricing is fully supported. To create the Prepay Invoice, Safari utilizes a “parallel” set of pricing indexes that invoice Prepay customers for forward estimated index prices when published prices are not yet available. These indexes can be employed in standard Safari Price Types to pre-invoice for projected usage. For later period settlement, the actual index price is utilized by Safari to “true up” the originally priced units for the actual published index rate.

Hedged and Fixed Block Pricing

For natural gas, Safari supports sophisticated hedging price types that allow users to fix the commodity price and assign a floating index to Basis, or to fix the Basis price and assign a floating commodity index. End users can then trigger specific volumes for a total fixed price per unit as needed up to the marketer’s cutoff, with any untriggered volumes priced at invoice time using the base price containing the floating index.

EnSite is currently developing Fixed Block pricing for electricity as well. Users will be able to establish baseline index-driven pricing for electricity units and to trigger fixed unit blocks for fixed pricing.

Learn More

You can learn more about how Safari Suite helps energy marketers exercise control over every aspect of their business and their data – visit the Safari Suite home page at ensite.com.

How Does Your System Rate?

For energy marketers, so much depends on price—and it had better be the right price. Fortunately, users of EnSite Safari Suite® have a wide array of standard options and built-in safeguards enabling precise control over retail energy pricing rates for commodity, basis, demand, or virtually any other product offering that requires unit pricing.

At the commodity exhibit pricing product, Safari users can employ a ‘base’ fixed unit price or indexed price offering. Indexed offerings (and settlement pricing for all offerings) utilize Safari Pricing Rates. For both of these base pricing options, users can employ add-on pricing components for margin, basis, fuel (line loss), premiums for settlement pricing, and more.

Safari Retail Energy Pricing Rates
Safari Pricing Rates (Simplified)

In support of indexed price offerings, Safari provides a dedicated Retail Energy Pricing Rate Maintenance system that lets users exercise precise control over the rate that is ultimately applied to the product/unit.

  • Safari’s Retail Energy Pricing Rates are managed by frequency, with Safari supporting monthly, daily, and hourly rates.
  • For each Frequency type, users may input rates that reflect published rate values (such as NYMEX LDS for monthly application or Gas Daily Daily rates for daily pricing) or custom/proprietary rates developed by the Marketer may be managed.
  • For periodic rate values, Safari provides users with a “Pricing Precision” system setting that governs the decimal values permitted for rates to be used in calculating a dollar-amount invoiced cost of goods. Users may choose to employ 0 – 6 decimals for Safari Pricing Rates. (Safari will automatically round rates input with more decimal values than are supported for the system setting.)
  • Rates are managed for Unit of Measure (UOM), such that the Pricing Rate value reflects the price for a distinct unit quantity. A Pricing Rate for the MMBTU UOM, for example, will price MMBTU units during invoicing. However, if the customer’s contracted units are in a different UOM, Safari provides automated rate conversion at invoice time. Thus a $3.00 rate for MMBTU can, for example, price Therms at a converted rate of $0.30 per unit. Conversion factors are user-maintained by Utility for precise control over this process.
  • Safari offers the flexibility of fixed- or index-priced contracted commodity units with settlement for over/under units via indexed pricing (with additional available adders for each). “Trigger” pricing products support contracted commodity or basis price at a “floating” (index) price with the ability to trigger fixed commodity or basis price for partial (or all) contract units. Commodity or basis for non-triggered units is priced by the assigned “floating” index at invoice time, when the published index value will have settled.
  • Rate values may be manually input, or Safari users may import rate values from spreadsheet source files using a variety of automated import protocols. Rate imports are standard Safari offerings provided to all users.
  • For a defined Pricing Rate, users may maintain “actual” rate values and forward “estimated” values. Estimated values are used by Safari’s special Prepay invoicing system, with the priced units subject to automated “true up” to actual published rate values on subsequent invoices.
  • Safari supports composite rate and WACOG rate maintenance. Composite Rates provide the user with the means to build a custom Pricing Rate that is an additive or averaged composite of two or more standard Safari Pricing Rates. WACOG rates are based on prices and volumes of supply packages tracked via Safari Supply Management.
  • For meter reads spanning multiple months, Safari Pricing Rates are automatically prorated to an invoiced price value representing the weighted average for the rate over the read period. For example, a meter read for 1/14/16 – 2/13/16 would be priced by a weighted blend of the monthly rate’s January and February values.

In addition to retail energy pricing rates, Safari supports Utility-specific rates and Pipeline-specific rates for factoring BTU, Line Loss/Shrinkage, MDQs, and more.