Category Archives: Safari Utility Data

Utility Data Management for Marketers

For energy marketers, utility data management and utility relations are a big piece of the success “pie”. The energy customer is, after all, a customer of the utility as well as the energy marketer. In this relationship the customer is, of course, at the center. And as every good energy marketer knows, keeping the customer happy requires keeping the utility happy. Given the sheer number of utilities under which many marketers operate today, good utility relations can be an important strategic advantage. But maintaining that relationship can also be a challenge.

Enter Safari Suite Utility Data Management. Having grown up with the Safari Suite comprehensive system for energy sales and service, the Utility as a manageable entity has long been an integral feature of our energy marketing software and system. From automated EDI to tariff and price modeling, and from dynamic customer data management to utility-specific data operations and rates, Safari has you covered.

EDI Transaction Management

As our blog post on Safari 3rd party interfacing points out, Safari is “EDI ready” in many deregulated markets.

The Safari UDI component (or Utility Data Interface) acts as a bridge between the Safari system and the EnSite customer’s commercial EDI provider to enable seamless, automated communication between the Marketer and EDI utilities (for Bill Ready, Rate Ready, and Dual Billing). In terms of sophistication, the EDI system goes beyond simple data or transaction transfers to conduct complex behind-the-scenes processes in Safari (such as automated price generation/submission for Rate Ready end users). These automated processes permit the Marketer to manage high-volume EDI transactions with minimal human intervention.

Tariff and Price Modeling

Safari Suite’s robust tariff and price modeling functionality takes the guess work out of estimating or creating  “pass-through” Utility charges. The Tariff Model is set up by the EnSite user for one of two purposes:

  • To generate Transportation/Distribution charges based on the Utility’s tariff for the customer’s assigned Utility Service Class
  • To generate comparison pricing based on the Utility’s tariff for the customer’s Sales Class to demonstrate on the invoice the difference between what the customer is paying the marketer and what the Utility would charge for the same service.

In addition to the user-designed Tariff Model, EnSite employs internally developed “tariff programs” that determine rules and methods used for nominating natural gas to the Utility, balancing daily nominations with supply, and managing storage balances.

Account Utility Data

Safari Suite’s Customer Care system manages a variety of date-effective utility data applicable to individual Accounts. Known as “Utility Services”, such account-level data describes characteristics of the Account set by the Utility. Examples include the Account Rate Class, Service Class, its electricity  Capacity/Transmission Obligations, its Maximum Daily Quantity for gas nominations, and much more. In fact, there’s no limit to the amount or type of Utility service data that can be managed in Safari. Users can easily manage updates to values for service data over time, and updates of utility service data via EDI transactions is fully automated.

Utility Rates and UOM Conversion

Users can create and manage unlimited rates for modeled utilities in Safari, known as Tariff Rates. Tariff Rates are available for selection throughout Safari for such purposes as factoring line loss (distribution loss) into metered volumes purchased at the city gate, assigning the utility’s BTU value to natural gas supply,  charging unit-based fees such as transportation fees, setting rates for electricity charges related to Capacity and Transmission, and much more. Tariff Rates are also utilized in setting up utility-specific “conversion factors” that allow Safari to translate usage in one Unit of Measure to billed units in a second Unit of Measure.

Safari Suite: Unlimited Utility Support

As this review demonstrates, the Safari utility is a highly developed, constantly evolving, and inherently flexible model for managing utility-based Account data and processes involving utility usage, rates and charges. It will continue to evolve, as Safari Suite users in partnership with EnSite bring more utilities and utility tariffs into the system.

Don’t get left behind—grow your markets with Safari Suite. We are standing by to incorporate your market footprint into the system that knows how to support your business, your utilities, and the customers you both serve.

Safari Third Party Interface

As an energy marketer, does your billing and customer care system “work well with others”? In the real world of daily energy management activity—Utility transactions, meter data uploads, real-time price quotes, GL data feeds to corporate accounting—a system with the ability to communicate clearly with third party systems is not just a nice-to-have: it’s a must-have.

EnSite built the Safari Suite application to accommodate data interfaces with multiple business partners, as well as internal applications.

We approach each third-party interface effort based on the identified business need, employing the most efficient solution – and the easiest to implement – that accomplishes the task. This practical approach to third party system communications can save time, effort, and future IT headaches born of unneeded complexity. To that end, EnSite has at its disposal an array of interface options, from relatively simple data imports/exports to complex data integration projects.

EnSite Safari Suite® comes equipped with ‘standard’ data imports and data exports which satisfy many shared client needs. For example, the Mass Market Customer Import protocol provides a standard tool for automatic import of complete data for multiple customers from formatted spreadsheets. The import process creates new Safari customers from valid spreadsheet data.

But that’s just for starters. This same ‘generic’ import/export interface is designed to accommodate custom data transfers developed by EnSite for individual clients (or by clients themselves). The interface itself is subject to such customization, with specialized application screens and data validation appearing seamlessly integrated into the standard import/export work flow from the end user perspective. This approach allows for ease of training and standardized work flow management applicable to both standard and custom data transfer procedures.

Automation – At Your Service

The EnSite Safari Suite application can be used in concert with the included EnSite Safari Suite® File Service to allow unattended execution of EDI and non-EDI data imports/exports. This component, a standard Safari feature available to all users, allows administrative definition of one-time or recurring processing schedules, priorities, and processing parameters. The component runs as a Microsoft® Windows® Service application, either on a dedicated application server or a database server, and functions as a virtual user of the application, automating import/export tasks continuously and around the clock.

Beyond Data Transfer – Safari EDI and More

EnSite has worked with clients to develop tightly integrated 3rd party functionality and communications within the EnSite Safari Suite product and interface. These integrated processes utilize custom Windows-based Safari Services designed for the purpose of administering these integrated 3rd party processes within Safari. While not as simple as the methods discussed above for data transfer, such efforts pay off in terms of efficiency of daily operations, accuracy and timeliness of data, and streamlined user work flows.

One model of EnSite’s advanced data interface capabilities is Safari’s on-board “Utility Data Interface”, or UDI. The independent UDI component acts as a bridge between the Safari system and the EnSite customer’s commercial EDI provider to enable seamless, automated communication between the Marketer and the Utility. In terms of sophistication, the EDI system goes beyond simple data or transaction transfers to conduct behind-the-scenes processes in Safari that permit the Marketer to manage high-volume EDI transactions with minimal supervision. (Learn more at ensite.com).

EnSite Safari Suite EDI and API

Using the above components and processes, users of EnSite Safari Suite®, in consultation with EnSite, can configure the Safari Suite system to integrate with many third-party systems operating on a variety of platforms.