The use of robotic process automation, or RPA in energy and utilities is expanding every day.  When you think about one of the most customer-centric industries, the energy and utility industry comes to mind.

Gas, power, water, and waste management, touches almost every person worldwide and the increases in population is causing an extensive demand for these services.

Energy and utilities need to digitize their processes while satisfying their customers but, it can be overwhelming without the right guidance.  Robotic process automation can be deployed to handle some the repetitive tasks. As a result, RPA will increase the company’s efficiency and help it deliver outstanding customer service.  All you need to know is when and where to start with Robotic Process Automation? But before that, let’s discuss what robotic process automation is all about?

 

What is Robotic Process Automation?

We regard RPA as software robots or bots that are programmed to execute rule-based, high volume, repetitive tasks.

When employing these bots, the level of human-computer interaction is reduced. You can expect the system to execute many tasks free from errors and conducted at higher volume and higher speed.  When RPA bots are introduced into your systems to improve processes at your workplace human workers are free to focus on higher value activities.

One major thing that RPA helps you do is to reduce the amount of time required to finish off some time-consuming tasks. This is a quick win and almost immediately boosts the efficiency within the organization.

 

The Intersection Between Robotic Process Automation and Businesses

It is easy to think that every technology deployed in businesses or organizations is coming on board to replace humans. Some individuals become defensive and tend to stand against robotic software. However, bots are designed to increase efficiency and productivity across organizations and empower the human workforce.

 RPA in energy and utilities is a transformative technology. Bots work on low-value tasks like copy-and-paste, analysis, reporting, moving files, and folders. Some advanced software robots can conduct cognitive functions, including data and text interpretations.

Watch this video to witness the impressive results RPA had improving quality control.

 

Benefits of Using Robotic Process Automation in the Energy & Utility Industry

Within the energy and utility industry, like many others, there is a consistent need to process a high volume of information and complete transactions rapidly. As a result, there is a high chance that human error will occur.  But leveraging application modernization and using robotic process automation, errors can be reduced, productivity can be increased and customer service can be improved.

 We detailed a few of the benefits of RPA in the energy and utility industry below.

 

 RPA for Billing and Statements

 The payment processes included in billing and statements can be automated to enhance the relationship between the company and the customers. RPA in energy and utilities, can handle invoice generation, sending bills to financial institutions like banks, or sending bills to third-party payment channels.

 This helps achieve on-time data delivery and super-fast bill generation across different processes.

 RPA can help organize receivables or correct overcharges. Another advantage is building a sustainable sales analytics and data management system that helps create efficient reports and statements.

 

RPA for Complaints Management

No customer wants to be left out. Every individual wants his complaints resolved, and people like it done as soon as possible.

When leveraging RPA as an energy and utility company, the backlog of unresolved complaints is reduced through automated response and with RPA systems from companies like Saisystems, complaints can be routed directly to the customer service desk for human intervention.

 

RPA for Meter Reading Validation

Meter reading is an integral part of the utility company’s processes. Without meter reading, it is impossible to bill the consumer for their consumption. As much as this is a core process, human errors can be catastrophic to the company’s image and bottom line.

Human errors can lead to overcharging or undercharging and this can, in turn, lead to generating and validating incorrect bills.

Realizing the potential risks associated with incorrect meter reading or validation; utility companies now integrate RPA into their systems. It validates the meter reading and processes the correct reading.  If the bot identifies an incorrect reading, it flags it and escalates it to the right department for resolution.

 This reduces the workload on the validation team and cuts down complaints for incorrect billing.

 

RPA for New Account Setup

RPA is a rule-based technology. And every utility company has a set of rules to be followed before they can open an account for a consumer. Every new account must meet certain requirements before being opened but the team can overlook some criteria in opening the account for a new consumer.

As a result, a company may open an account for an individual who doesn’t meet all requirements. To reduce this kind of error, RPA crosschecks information and ascertains that the potential new account satisfies every rule throughout the setup. Otherwise, the software flags it as an issue and escalates it to the right department for resolution.

 

RPA for Risk Assessment

It is easy for utility companies to conduct a risk assessment with efficient sales analytics and data management systems through RPA. This allows them to obtain data from different sources, create a report specific to their customers, and distribute it to relevant departments to start task execution. RPA in energy and utilities brings about data accuracy for the utility companies that deploy it.

 

FAQs

Is artificial intelligence the same as robotic process automation?

 Artificial intelligence (AI) is not the same as robotic process automation. And RPA is not AI. However, the combination of RPA and AI opens up the space for new developments at the enterprise level.  Integrating advanced AI skills in RPA as machine learning models makes it easy to handle significant cognitive processes.

Does RPA require coding?

RPA deployment doesn’t require any code before you start using it. That’s because RPA systems are built for the company’s specific needs.

How long will it take to learn RPA?

You don’t necessarily need to have skills training or certification. You can use RPA without training and learn as you deploy the software. But it helps when you have the foundational RPA training provided by the RPA vendor.

What does RPA implementation look like?

RPA is easy to start with, but it is crucial to assess the long-term journey when you begin RPA implementation. Take a critical look at the RPA journey and likely use cases from other applications. You will need the right team and tools to implement RPA for a long-term journey for good business change.

 

Conclusion

RPA is a technological development that changes the face of business across every sector. Most importantly, it increases the productivity rate and the competitive edge to serve customers in the best version possible. It is cost-effective when deployed by the right experts. Your company grows faster and prepares for unpredicted future events. Moreover, you can check out the secret to selecting your perfect RPA vendor as a bonus.

References

  1. https://www.uipath.com/rpa/robotic-process-automation
  2. https://enterprisersproject.com/article/2019/5/rpa-robotic-process-automation-how-explain
  3. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/robotic-process-automation-rpa.asp
  4. https://www.crmt.com/resources/blog/robotic-process-automation-in-energy-utilities-industry/
  5. https://www.royalcyber.com/blog/business-operation/rpa/rpa-in-energy-utilities/
  6. https://www.comtecinfo.com/rpa/rpa-in-energy-and-utilities-industry/
  7. https://www.automationanywhere.com/rpa/robotic-process-automation