WESTERN Power has taken a major step into e-commerce, offering its biggest customers an opportunity to monitor energy bills and pay accounts via the Internet.Western Power says it will expand to cover all users in the coming years but has limited two new programs for big users.The em-Power program covers major users such as QV1 and the Swan Brewery. Modems fitted to the meters send in the consumption readings every 24 hours allowing daily energy usage checks.Western Power general manager retail, John Lillywhite, said the em-Power Web site was available exclusively to Western Power’s 200 biggest customers.It offered on-line electricity usage information on demand, securely and free of charge. It also enabled businesses to measure and compare the effectiveness of various energy efficiency efforts.In the second program, EnergyPartner, medium-size users with annual bills of around $14,000 are updated monthly and bills can be paid via the Internet.“We are offering our business customers a more cost-effective, convenient and secure way of doing business with Western Power,” said Mr Lillywhite.One of the trial customers was Mr Tony Lalor of Asphar & Associates in West Perth.“We have been on the system for two months and as one of the guinea pigs we were able to advise them on what worked and what didn’t – and they listened,” he said.“For example the colours of the forms, while they looked dynamic on new technology computer screens, they were virtually unreadable on our older screens.“When we told them this they changed it.”He said the ability to pay bills was fast and easy.The program is aimed at helping the top 10,000 energy-consuming small-to-medium enterprises. The service will be further expanded to around 75,000 business customers in the near future.Mr Lillywhite said the new program was an important tool in enabling the organisation to provide timely and important information to its customers via both the em-Power and EnergyPartner Web site.It gives them the power to better manage their electricity consumption and expenditure in a convenient manner, he said.He added that further e-business opportunities were also being explored, including the introduction of an ‘Energy Gold’ program for major customers and on-line bill paying options for residential customers in the near future.“Western Power recognises that many of its clients are now doing more and more of their business on-line, attracted by the time and cost savings,” Mr Lillywhite said.
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