Is your business ready to take on Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) customers?

By Andrew Hodgson

Andrew HodgsonRecent media attention has focused on the industry costs associated with the SoLR process. In the last 12 months we’ve seen around 1 million customers of failing suppliers taken on by an Ofgem appointed alternative. Costs for buying extra capacity for unhedged supply, unpaid ROC’s and debt write offs are usually smeared across the industry to avoid individual suppliers bearing the brunt, before passing onto end consumers via their bills.

Usually, businesses focus on the benefits that can arise from acquiring large numbers of customers, but there are risks for companies that take on the customers from suppliers entering the SoLR process. Scaling systems at pace can often come with associated issues – and can be politically sensitive, particularly if scaling issues might have contributed to the failure of the original supplier.

How do you make sure that your business is best positioned to take on large amounts of customers as smoothly as possible?

Firstly, it’s critical that the data taken into your systems is correct. Everyone knows the phrase ‘bad data in, bad data out’ and in energy that could mean problems from day one. Not taking on-board the right data means that you could struggle to bill your new clients, and errors built in from the beginning will only get exaggerated over time.

Clearly, you need to make sure the data you’ve received is verified before it goes into your systems. And then you need to make sure that your systems can scale to handle your new customers. Some of the successful SoLR applicants in the last 12 months have had to take on up to 300,000 new customers in a very short space of time, which can put systems under pressure. Many suppliers have had issues acquiring accounts at pace, at nowhere near this scale. Do you know your systems can manage acquired volumes within compressed time frames?

If you think that your business might potentially apply as a SoLR, it’s worth talking to your systems supplier about the take on process. Can they offer support or resources to help you manage the process? Have they proven success with incorporating very large volumes of data? What is the validation process and how can they guarantee data quality through the import process?

When energy suppliers are facing increased pressure on their reputation and customer service standards, the last thing needed is negative customer impact through what can be an emotive process. It’s important to make sure systems and processes are up to the job before more damage is done. To find out more about how AMT- Sybex can help your energy supply business get a competitive advantage, download our white paper here.

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