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The Best of Both Worlds:
Class Leading Data Validation & Energy Analytics

It’s all about the data…

Data is absolutely fundamental to energy management and is at the core of all decisions that are made.  Validating the data that is received from suppliers, data collectors and sub-meters is paramount to ensure that the information we act upon is correct.

Fundamentally, Optima Software is a platform for validating and storing all of the data required for an organisation to manage and then report on its utility (energy and water) costs, consumption, and Greenhouse Gas emissions. This encompasses a wide spectrum of activities:

  • Energy Procurement;
  • Utility Bill Validation;
  • Energy Performance, Targeting & Benchmarking;
  • Metering Data Storage (Fiscal and Sub-Meters)
  • Forecasting of Financial Budgets;
  • Recharging of Utilities to internal or external Tenants;

 

…and how to get value from it

There is more data available relating to energy management than ever before, yet many organisations aren’t getting full value from their investment in AMR metering.  Ever growing volumes of data are being collected, but the favoured tool is still the spreadsheet, which while flexible and good for analysing limited data sets is not scalable for handling large volumes of data.

Having spent many years developing over 100 reports for analysing energy data, we realised that this approach needed to change.  

Not only did we need to provide our customers with a solution that allowed them to modify existing reports, but they needed a system that would allow them to build their own reports and use data discovery tools to really drill down and analyse their data to answer the questions that would deliver value and lead to savings.

The result is our new Optima Energy Cloud and Visualizer Reporting Platform that is capable of handling the data for tens of thousands of meters, and producing reports in a matter of seconds not hours. 

 

aM&T Reporting

Monitoring and Targeting (M&T) is a simple yet powerful, structured approach to identifying inefficient performance and eliminating waste: monitor what you manage, relate it to the independent variables that influence your energy consumption and set realistic targets.  optima™ takes M&T to a whole new level, helping you achieve more accurate target setting with a choice of advanced regression analysis, formulae, performance indices, historical comparisons and load profiling.  Exception reports highlight waste where consumption exceeds target, helping you monitor your usage immediately and effectively, whilst CUSUM reports show trends in performance and the benefits of energy saving projects. Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) allow you to benchmark performance using key metrics such as floor area or production figures and produce league tables of the best and worst performers.

With advances in technology, including automatic meter reading and automatic monitoring software, optima™ also provides the option for Automatic Monitoring & Targeting (aM&T).  aM&T automatically collects utility data by a wide range of methods including meters, BMS and telemetry systems. This can then be transferred into Optima for analysis and reporting purposes. Optima aM&T brings to your attention any consumptions exceeding targets through exception reports, helping you monitor your usage immediately and effectively. Reports can be distributed electronically either via email or via the internet in Adobe PDF™ or HTML format.  

 

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Benefits

  • Quickly identify waste
  • Choice of method of targeting
  • Model any process
  • Accurate target setting
  • Exception reports to monitor usage
  • CUSUM
  • KPI’s Reports
  • Performance league tables
  • Detailed reports and graphs

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Bill Validation

Industry figures estimate that utility invoices contain errors of between 3% and 5% by value of overcharging and with ever more complex contracts being used this looks set to continue.

The optima™ Utility Billing System is a fully audit trailed energy accounting system for validating and managing the payment of invoices received in either electronic or paper form. UBS performs over 40 separate checks to identify any errors on supplier invoices so that action can be taken to recover overcharges as quickly as possible.

Electronic billing through EDI or XML saves a huge amount of time in loading invoices and eliminates keying errors and optima™ supports all electricity, gas and water supplier formats. Thousands of invoices can be loaded and validated within hours rather than weeks, invoices are validated against a rigorous set of criteria to ensure that any errors are highlighted prior to payment. Even the most complex electricity contracts can be analysed with calculation of all pass through charges including DUoS, Triads, DUoS & TUoS losses, BSUoS, AAHEDC, Renewable Obligation, Meter Operations, DC, DA and CCL, FiT and CM.  For Gas contracts, it will validate the transportation charges on pass through contracts, and even check that the calorific value is calculated correctly.

optima™ will automatically handle Withdrawn and Amended bills and allow splitting of bills that contain brought forward balances or multiple months of invoice data. Any problem bills that cannot be resolved can either be rejected or placed in suspense for resolution later. Integration with finance systems such as SAP™or Oracle™ is also provided so that detailed costing information can be transferred into corporate accounts without the need for rekeying data.

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Benefits

  • Identifies overcharges
  • Validates even the most complex invoices
  • Over 40 separate checks
  • Saves time with electronic (EDI) billing
  • Supports all supplier electronic formats
  • Automatically handles credits
  • Reject or suspend problem invoices
  • Dedicated payment process
  • Interfaces with finance systems
  • Fully audit trailed

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Budgets

Trying to predict budgets is difficult in times when energy prices are volatile. The optima™ Budgets module helps you predict energy consumption and costs for future financial years, set budgets and then proactively monitor progress with clear informative reports.

Budgets are calculated using half hourly data or invoice consumptions, together with the relevant contract prices and, where appropriate, inflation factors. Batch processing tools are provided so that even the largest customers can produce budgets quickly and easily.

Management information is provided for all organisation levels ranging from individual accounts to consolidated totals for any Operations Manager or Finance Director.

Receiving accurate accruals in a timely fashion has become essential for most Finance Directors, and optima™ delivers this by calculating Provisional invoices based on actual consumption and contract prices to create an accurate version of the real invoice. The processing power provided by optima™ means that what would take days if using spreadsheets can be done in minutes.

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Benefits

  • Easily set accurate budgets
  • Clear reports for all management levels
  • Understand expected and actual costs
  • Exception reports identify sites exceeding budget
  • Ensure accountability
  • Accurate and timely accruals

Tenant Billing

The optima™ Tenant Billing module simplifies the process of creating invoices for tenants or internal recharging of energy to departments.

One of the key features of the Tenant Billing module is its flexibility to cope with real world situations, where complex meter arrangements may require addition, subtraction and the apportionment of meters.

Accurate utility bills can be generated from sub-meters, supplier meters, AMR meters, BEMS systems or manually read meters, in any combination or proportion. The costs applied to the consumption can vary from simple cost per units charges to the most complex recharging tariffs using standing charges, capacity, demand and multiple unit bands.

Once the data is loaded, invoices can be created in bulk and then printed and issued. Payments can be recorded and debtor statements produced.

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Benefits:

  • Produce accurate bills
  • Define supplier or landlord tariffs
  • Print invoices in user-defined templates
  • Generates unique invoice numbers and tax point dates
  • Track invoice status of paid or unpaid
  • Export invoice summary to finance system
  • Report on invoices issued and outstanding
  • Produce invoices to a specific date for change of tenancies

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Greenhouse Gas Reporting

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) is an emissions trading scheme that aims to improve energy efficiency and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in the UK. Organisations in the UK consuming over 6,000MWh of electricity per annum in the qualification year of 2008 will be taxed for the carbon dioxide emissions that are attributable to energy consumption.

Organisations are required to monitor and report all energy use emissions from all sources – electricity, gas and other fuels.  All estimated consumption figures will be subject to an automatic 10% uplift.   So now, more than ever, organisations should take measures to monitor and benchmark their energy usage.

The optima™ Carbon Footprint software is an invaluable tool, enabling you to submit accurate energy consumption data and to produce quickly and easily the Footprint and Annual Reports required to comply with CRC.

Other Customers use the software for calculating their emissions for Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting and Carbon Disclosure Project. 

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Benefits

  • Calculate your CRC exposure and your carbon emission payment
  • Evaluate all your greenhouse gas emissions for an accurate carbon footprint
  • Regular and accurate CRC exposure updates
  • Regular annual, regulatory reporting and CRC evidence pack
  • Carbon standard certification
  • Early detection of energy waste

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Consultants Edition

Already used by some of the UK’s largest energy consultancies, the optima™ Consultants’ Edition provides over 30 additional features on top of the standard package, all designed to streamline the process of managing customer data.

The software simplifies data management for consultants by providing easily managed access to all customer data within one robust, secure, multi-user database platform. Unwieldy, time-consuming spreadsheet soup is a thing of the past.

Consultants use the software for bill validation, managing renewals and contract analysis, setting and reporting on customer budgets, monitoring and targeting and energy management reports.

Reports can be branded with the Consultant logo and when used in conjunction with the task scheduler, reports can be generated automatically and emailed out directly to customers. By maintaining all of the data in one location, it’s also possible to grant Consultant customers secure access to view their data.

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Benefits

  • Robust, secure, multi-user database platform
  • Work more efficiently
  • Increased service offering
  • Generate additional revenue streams
  • Over 100 standard reports
  • Produces standard documents
  • Customer access to their data
  • Includes your company logo on reports for professional touch
  • Increases your capability and credibility at the bidding stage
  • Log user activity with Audit Trail for security and data management

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Cloud Hosting

With Optima cloud, instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access optima™ via the internet, freeing yourself from software and hardware management.  There is no upfront investment in hardware or software licences, and no delays in installation or ongoing maintenance and updates.  Access to applications is easy: you just need an internet connection.

Users benefit from rapid deployment and reduced administration, as well as enhanced support since queries can be answered through shared access to the customer data.

We take data security very seriously and are accredited for the Information Security Management Standard ISO 27001:2013.

optima™ runs on enterprise class state-of-the-art servers at our secure data centre.  We manage access to the application, including security, availability and performance.  A full off-site backup service is included as well as a duplicate hosting facility for disaster recovery.

There are currently over 250,000 customer sites enjoying the benefits of being managed on the optima™ hosted platform and we have an on-going investment program to maintain performance and capacity.

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Benefits

  • Low start up cost
  • No hardware to buy or maintain
  • Access optima™ from anywhere
  • Rapid deployment
  • Reduced administration
  • Updates issued automatically

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 Contract Analysis

The volatility within wholesale energy markets means it is vital to be able to analyse offers and identify the best option quickly because suppliers can withdraw offers at any time.  The optima™ Contract & Tariff Analysis module enables Consultants and Energy Managers to take full advantage of these market conditions by enabling supplier bids to be analysed quickly and accurately.  Half hourly and non-half hourly electricity and natural gas accounts can be analysed to provide a detailed analysis of what is the best offer on both an individual account and best overall supplier basis. A typical scenario of analysing 300 half-hourly accounts against six offers would take less than 15 minutes.  Analysis of pass through contracts is supported and a database of Distribution Use of System (DUoS) and Transmission (TUoS) charges and losses is maintained and provided as part of the package.  The optional Tendering Pack provides enhanced features for tracking renewals, issuing Notice of Termination documents, and for Brokers calculating commission invoices. The Tendering Pack workflow enables the entire tendering process to be tracked and managed across the entire portfolio so that you have instant visibility of the exact position of all outstanding renewals on demand.  From the production of tender documentation through to the most detailed cost analysis, optima™ streamlines the whole procurement process.

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Benefits

  • Manage the entire tender process
  • Never miss a renewal
  • Issue NOT’s
  • Export Tendering data in supplier friendly formats
  • Load contract offers in bulk
  • Analyse HH and NHH accounts
  • Compare ‘Fully Inclusive’ and ’Pass Through’ offers
  • Identify best supplier per account or best overall
  • Analyse Gas contracts
  • Brokers: Commission invoicing
  • Brokers: Managed workflow
  • Brokers: Create custom documents

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Data Loading

Optima customers load vast amounts of invoices and interval meter readings data (typically half hourly data in the UK) on a daily basis.
With Optima, this process can be automated by arranging for Suppliers and Data Collectors to send their data on a scheduled basis to our secure servers, where our software will load and validate the data without the need for manual intervention.  Status reports and details of errors are automatically provided as part of the process.   

We support over 50 different data formats for interval meter data, as well as over 60 billing formats from Electricity, Gas and Water Suppliers.

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Benefits

  • Data is automatically loaded
  • Data is validated
  • More time available for analysing data

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Query Management

Optima Utility Billing System is the most advanced bill validation analysis software available, but this is only part of the process for getting a refund from the Suppliers that have overcharged you.

Most organisations manage their supplier invoice queries using spreadsheets and email, but this is very time consuming and you soon end up with people looking at different versions of the same information and time is wasted by finding out which is the most up to date.

It’s much easier and efficient to have one version of the truth, which is why Optima have developed Query Manager, which is a hosted web platform that allows Optima users to automatically generate billing queries and share them with their Suppliers in a secure environment.  Notes and messages can be added into the query so that everyone had visibility of progress, without the need to keep referring to email attachments and spreadsheets that are never up to date.

For Consultants who use Optima to run their Bureau Services, Queries can be shared with both Suppliers and you Customers if required.

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Benefits

  • One version of your correspondence on queries
  • Automatically populate the details without manual typing
  • Monitor the number and value of queries
  • Keep track of savings achieved
  • Evaluate supplier performance and SLA’s.

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