Gas Natural, Spain
Gas Natural (GN) is one of the 10 largest European energy multi-nationals and a leader in the vertical integration of gas and power in Spain and Latin America. It is also the largest global LNG operator in the Atlantic basin. The merger of Gas Natural and Union Fenosa in 2009 resulted in company operations in 23 countries on five continents with over 20 million customers, 9 million of those in Spain.
Gas Natural is the leader in the Spanish gas distribution market, operating through 10 distribution companies across 13 autonomous communities, and two sales companies.
Gas Natural's contract portfolio, which includes 25 bcm of gas, and its access to a further gas supply portfolio of 6.5 bcm make it one of the leading utility companies in Europe, strongly positioned in the gas business, conventional power generation and the integrated management of fuel supplies.
Gas Natural, despite its world stature and dramatic growth, is highly cognizant of its corporate responsibility to satisfy the growing demand for energy required for societal development and protecting the environment and turning the search for cleaner energy sources into a necessity.
Gas Natural has over 5.7 million gas meters deployed throughout Spain of which 4 million meter or about 70% of the total are located inside the consumer premises. Gas Natural had been using manual meter reading to read over 5.7 million meters. The task of meter reading was outsourced to third party companies for bimonthly meter data collection. The cost of meter reading varied from city to city even when serviced by the same contractor. The company was spending over 10 million Euro's each year to pay for the meter reading.
However, company's manual reading system was inefficient, especially since over 70% of the meters were inside the consumer premises and access to them when was a major problem. An average of nearly 800,000 meter about 14% of the total meters, couldn't be read due inaccessibility to the customer premises for variety of reasons. The statistics showed that the number of unread meters was increasing and hence the cost. Inefficient meter reading process had a major impact on customer billing. Customer billing information was not as accurate or comprehen sive as Gas Natural wanted it to be. It was reflected in number of calls (nearly 720,000 calls per year) they received from irate customers.
The answer to Gas Natural problems was a system that increased the efficiency of Gas Natural meter reading operations with a leap from a manual meter reading process to an automated meter reading (AMR) solution.
The Gas Natural targeted a variety of objectives for improved customer service in meter reading and substantially improves its business processes and increase energy efficiency. Gas Natural's primary goals were elimination of estimated gas bills and minimized disruption for customers.
Having established the need for a new remote meter reading system, the Gas Natural chose an integrated metering and communication solution from Nuri Telecom from a wide field of well-known suppliers, to deliver value to the utility and its customers.