A recent EnSite Micro White Paper made note of EnSite’s operational philosophy of “continuous improvement”. Last month we once again made good on that claim with the release of Safari Suite® Version 4.17. With each Safari upgrade, EnSite brings new and enhanced operational efficiency to its flagship product for retail natural gas and power sales in the deregulated energy marketplace.
New Option to Exclude Delinquent Late Fees from Interest Compounding
Users Can Now Exclude Overdue Late Fees from Balance Subject to Interest Charges
For the Safari upgrade, Accounts Receivable has been enhanced to provide users more flexibility regarding late payments. When configured to do so, Safari automatically calculates late fees on overdue balances based on a configured interest rate. Until the current release, users could not automatically exclude any specific charges from the calculated past due balance subject to interest charges. For the latest version, Safari users may choose whether or not to include late payment fees in the balance that is subject to interest charges for a new invoice. In other words, users may specifically exclude unpaid late fee charges from overdue balances that are otherwise subject to interest charges. This enhancement will make life easier for our clients operating in jurisdictions that prohibit “compounded” late fees (i.e. charging interest on interest).
Newly Refined Invoicing Roles in Safari Upgrade
Easily Configure Permissions for Reviewers, Monitors and Advanced Billing Roles
Safari’s billing engine has been refined to permit more dynamic permissions for invoice processing. To achieve this, Safari permissions for the invoicing process have been redefined to easily support three common ‘roles’ for invoice processing and review.
- At the base level, users may be easily configured to have “Reviewer” permissions – these users may review Safari invoices and batches but may not create new invoices or modify existing ones.
- At the “Monitor” level, users may be easily configured with permissions to flag invoices for Exceptions or “reprocess” invoices based on the original batching parameters and current system data. This role essentially helps invoices through the review process but does not have the authority to create, delete, or reverse invoices.
- At the “Advanced” level, users can be provided full permissions to create, delete, or reverse invoices and batches.
Within the above described “general” roles, users may also further refine permissions for invoicing if desired.
Safari Upgrade Includes New Option to Invoice Loss Units Separately
Easily Create a Separate Invoice Charge for Transmission/Distribution Loss Units
Since its inception, Safari has had the ability to include transmission or distribution loss in the commodity charge. The Utility’s loss factor can be accommodated either by a percentage increase to the per-unit price for metered units, or by “grossing up” metered units via this factor.
With the latest Safari release, users have enhanced options for calculating loss as a completely separate charge on the invoice. Via the new method, users may easily set up the Safari contract to create a separate charge for units lost during transmission/distribution.
In addition to increased billing flexibility, the separate loss calculation also includes the option to utilize a special rate for loss units that is based upon an average unit price for commodity charges. Using this ad hoc rate, the Safari user can automatically bill loss units at a rate that is the average unit price for all metered commodity units on the invoice. Of course, a standard published rate (such as NYMEX) or a user-entered rate may also be used to price the loss units.
New Options for OFO Pricing
Daily Spot Contract Volume Processing Enhanced for Safari Upgrade – Special “Take or Pay” Option
Energy marketers know that managing pricing for OFO (Operational Flow Order) days can be a challenge, and Safari is here to help. Safari has always supported “tiered” commodity contracts, allowing marketers to easily layer “spot” daily energy deals (such as for OFO days) on top of “base load” monthly contracts.
Until now, Safari had a single method for subtracting daily spot volumes from the monthly billing volume. This was to subtract the daily contracted volumes from the total aggregated monthly billing volume, leaving the remaining billing volume, including any excess or shortfall units, to be invoiced by the “base load” monthly contract (or contracts).
In so-called “Take or Pay” markets, the end user must pay for the daily contracted OFO units regardless of whether they are consumed, but only the units actually consumed on a given OFO day should be removed from the monthly billing volume.
To accommodate these markets, Safari now permits users to set up daily fixed-unit “spot” contracts with the ability to settle at the Account level. As the illustration accompanying this article shows, the full daily contracted volume is still invoiced for these spot deals. However, rather than subtract the daily contracted volume from the aggregated monthly billing volume, in this scenario Safari will subtract only the daily billing volume from the aggregated monthly billing volume (for days with spot deals). In this way the Safari user can ensure that the entire daily OFO contracted volume is billed via the OFO contract (even if not consumed), and the monthly billing volume is reduced only by the OFO day’s billing volume.