MECOMS for Indian Utilities under R-APDRP

R-APDRP and Future Roadmap (Click to expand) Compliance of MECOMS Distribution Load Forecasting Solution with R-APDRP SCADA DMS scheme

MECOMS facilitates DISCOMS to create an environment of sustainable growth and achieve quarter on quarter increment on ROI with a customer focused approach, 360° view of business, derive accountability, promote transparency, increase reliability of data for rapid decision making, address ageing workforce through use of technology and avoid human interference all resulting in reduce AT & C losses.

MECOMS is a solution for IT applications like Meter Data Acquisition, Meter Reading, Billing, Collections, MIS, Energy Audit, New Connection, Disconnection, and Customer Care Services, Web self service, etc. to get verified baseline AT&C losses. Furthermore, MECOMS is geared up for far more diversified requirements like ABT Billing, Power Trading, Demand Forecasting etc.

In the purview of R-APDRP, MECOMS is the best-of-breed solution, offering mature processes in an Integrated Operations and Management framework.

Table of Contents

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Centralised Customer Care Centre

MECOMS Customer Relationship Management has extensive functionality to offer a state-of-the-art service to customers and prospects. This module will handles every aspect of utility customer information for New connection, Dis-connection, meter reads, rating, billing, and more-while also undertaking associated functions like payment processing, collections, field service, and meter management. It helps utilities in any market maximize revenue, create cost efficiencies, and respond to market change. The solution is flexible and adaptable in nature hence reduces time of adoption therefore lowering Total cost of ownership. It scales from a few thousand to many millions of customers. Upgrades are quick and easy. As a result, Customer Care and Billing clients reliably meet market windows and regulatory deadlines while enjoying a low total cost of ownership, modular architecture and a high return on investment.

Pre-sales activities are managed via Campaign and Opportunity Management with advanced features for segmentation of targets groups, cold calling, lead follow-up, mail merge via integration with Outlook and Word.

MECOMS CRM has a perfect fit with the requirements of call centre operators who are in direct contact with customers and need fast access to key information. Via Computer Telephone Integration (CTI), a popup screen automatically appears upon a customer call. This screen can be populated with information on invoices, payment status, advance frequencies,... Starting from this popup screen, the operator can easily drill down to more detailed information whereby a 360° view gives the operator single-screen access to all relevant information on the customer’s connection(s), contract(s), invoices, payments. It also offers queuing and routing of traditional phone calls in addition to email, chat, fax, and web callback requests. It also provides blended predictive and preview dialing, interactive voice response (IVR), multichannel reporting, tools for supervisors to manage the call center, and call recording-for a comprehensive, unified solution. All inbound and outbound communication with customers is can be logged and an internal workflow with settings for notification, escalation,... can be initiated to ensure to customer’s request or complaint is tackled on time and feedback can be sent to the customer.

Centralized Customer Care Services solution will be interfaced with following other modules, system, applications, hardware etc.

  • Call Switching Equipment / PBX
  • Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
  • CSR and Supervisor Terminals
  • Interactive Voice response system (IVRS)
  • Voice messaging
  • Computer telephony integration (CTI)
  • SMS, Email
  • Billing
  • Dialer

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MECOMS MIS focuses on:
  • Data acquisition eliminating human intervention, Processing, Management
  • Business Intelligence for analysis, trends, simulations
  • Information based decision making and reporting
  • Settings per report on periodicity, layout,...
  • Revenue monitoring and Reconciliation monitoring
  • Creation of different formats for different level
  • Generation of scheduled report as per pre-defined frequency
  • Provision of monitoring system

MECOMS will be connected to Databases through Microsoft Dynamics AX layer to create static MIS reports for CCB, MDM, WAM, GIS Application etc.

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Web-Self Service

Aimed at enriching the customers and business associates with high quality experience that will provide them a user friendly portal. It will make it easy for them to communicate with the utility through the web instead of phone calls, faxes, visits and other ways. MECOMS Energy Portal offers account services in the domains of Customer Relationship Management, meter reading, billing and service management. Other applications can easily be integrated.

MECOMS Energy portal is a secure web site that requires user authentication via login and password. Passwords need to match with a certain format and can be changed by the user. Users who forgot their password can receive an e-mail with their password after answering a set of questions.

The MECOMS Energy Portal is available for customers with a single access point but also for owners of multiple homes. Customers can view and change contact information, check their current contract and do price simulations, get an overview of their consumption, check their invoice information and retrieve a pdf copy of their invoices. Graphical representations of consumptions, pricing simulation are available. New customers can submit a registration form with personal and contract information. Based on this, a process for setting up a prospect and contract is triggered in MECOMS.

Thus this portal will also act as a source of information for the customers regarding policies and procedures. This in turn will improve customer satisfaction and reduce work load on the employees.

To brief MECOMS Energy Portal will provide user:

  • New Registrations
  • View Contracts
  • Maintain Connection account
  • Graphical and tabular representation of consumption for last 1 year or more,
  • Consumption calculator,
  • Payment history
  • Perform Price Simulations,
  • View invoice Information
  • Retrieve PDF copy of invoice
  • Billing and payment through credit / debit cards,
  • Log service request and view its current status,
  • Log complaint and view its status
  • View Rules , law , policy and procedures and commercial information
  • Allow contractors/ business associates to register online, download tenders, purchase tenders and also submit tenders.

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MECOMS offers advanced functionality in the domains of Meter Data Acquisition, Meter Data and Master data Validation and Meter Data Processing. Metering module will provide DISCOM’s with facility to measure the accuracy, reliability and correctness of data collected by meter data management system. The metering module will validate the meter data against set of user defined business rules & parameters to ensure the correctness of the meter read data.

Data Collection and Storage

The data collected from the meter device through various Pre-processors that will accept data in various formats like XML, .CSV etc. This data will reside in the MECOMS Journal, which is a part of Meter Data Management System. This includes aggregated data, consumption values, standard load profiles, index values etc. Multiple versions of the data are supported at every level where data is stored. This allows new or corrected data to be loaded into MECOMS without corrupting existing data. MECOMS follows concept of time stamping hence maintains the history of what has been loaded in support of retroactive adjustments and calculations.

Data Validation, Editing and Estimation

This data will in turn get validated across set of rules and parameters defined in Rule Engine. Rule Engine will include a list of out-of-box Validation, Estimation and Editing (VEE) techniques which will ensure the implementation of business rules and validation. As the meter readings differ in nature depending whether they are AMR values or Index Values, MECOMS provides different validation forms like Index Value Validation, AMR Value Validation etc

Validation, editing, and estimation (VEE) processes can be executed on the collected data in order to prepare it for aggregation or other calculations. Aggregation processes summaries multiple channel- level data streams at the contract level. Derivation algorithms provide many other calculation options, such as unit conversion, time-period conversion, and other adjustments in line with customer-specific contract requirements, and prior to applying prices. Time-of-use mapping can be applied to time-series data in order to reduce the number of data points to a more manageable set of time-of-use periods.

Meter reading requests are generated individually or in batch, based on a variety of criteria. Both meter readings on demand (for e.g. for the generation of an end note which is closing the connection) or as periodical meter readings (whereby the meters of e.g. an entire street or area are read) are supported. To avoid costly discrepancies in the meter readings, MECOMS offers tools to intercept such discrepancies via reminders, penalties and estimations.

Different modes are available to capture the meter values of manually read meters: online via websites, via meter reading cards that are sent per post (optimized via bar-coding and Optical Character Recognition or OCR) or via telephone using Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR).

Another option is the visit of a field operator collecting and transferring the meter values using a mobile device. Therefore, route planning is generated using GIS based optimization and allocated to field operators based on requested date and the operator’s availability.

Optimal routes can be regenerated based on visits that need to be inserted or deleted. The MECOMS user interface caters for follow up of meter reading performance. This includes aspects such as visits per day, missed reading, no access to meter, etc...

MECOMS® features a full blown Automatic Meter Reading system for real, near-real and historical time data acquisition, data exchange and storage of data. Any type of data capturing (remote, on-site, wired, wireless, etc) is covered and a whole range of protocols and communication channels is supported.

Extended functionality is foreseen for validation of meter reading data. Syntax validation rules ensure that the imported data is understood by MECOMS. Content validation allows to define a set of validation rules that ensure that the reading values are logic and consistent from a business point of view. Ranges of reliability can be setup and based on that, meter values can be auto-confirmed or listed for manual check and validation. This is an example of the principle of "Management by Exception" that is also used in other domains of MECOMS. During any stage of the metering process, it is possible to check, alter, add or delete meter data.

Thus, this module will ensure the following:

  • Minimize the data entry errors by validating meter reading
  • Prompt user with Alerts & Exceptions for wrong meter reading
  • Monitoring & Tracking meter consumption and performance
  • Generation of meter reading plan

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New Connection

MECOMS covers the different processes that are involved when a customer requests a new connection to be setup. New connection module will enhance the customer experience of the web portal by providing the new connection convenience.

New connection will cover the features below:

  • System will generate and issue forms of new connection, temporary connection, load extension/ reduction, name/address change request, install meter, shifting meter location and many more.
  • An internal workflow procedure can be initiated to judge the new connection request, to accept or reject it and to give feedback to the customer.
  • System will accept/reject the application form over the portal
  • Quotations for new connection installation to be sent to the customer
  • final invoicing and payment follow up
  • System will accept payment for new connection application over the portal
  • scheduling of service orders with material requirement planning and resource allocation
  • System will Gather, Monitor & Tracking customer details with respect to address and meter device
  • Reconciliation of collection
  • System will generate bill for issue of new connection, intimation letter, rejection letter, reports
  • System will generate an activity for inspection or wave of inspection
  • Accept inspection report and capture all details
  • Estimate preparation
  • Checking system capability for issuing connection
  • All connection information is available via a 360° view with direct access to other relevant information like contracts, invoices, meter readings.

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Dis - Connection

The purpose of Disconnection & Dismantling module is to penalize the defaulting consumers based on a specific set of criteria. . All communication done and actions undertaken towards such customers can be logged . A final decision on disconnection can be subject of an internal workflow procedure.

Disconnection and Dismantling will cover features below:

  • Generation of defaulting consumer list
  • Generation of disconnection list
  • Notify customers through via different media, e.g., via mail through the integration with Microsoft Outlook
  • Process of dispatching disconnection notices
  • Via the Service Management Module, service orders for the dismantling of the connection are
  • generated, scheduled and dispatched amongst the field operators
  • Capturing of Non disconnection reasons
  • Creation of exception report on disconnection
  • Updating of customer status
  • Updating of dismantlement status
  • Linkage with New Connection module
  • Tracking and escalation of disconnection failures
  • Generation of optimal route and plan
  • Termination of connection
  • Exception reports on payment by disconnected consumers
  • Transfer of dues from one connection to other connection(s)

Disconnection and Dismantling module will be interfaced with other modules:

  • Web Portal
  • Payment in Billing and Collection
  • MIS Reporting module
  • Emails and notifications
  • Customer Care Center
  • Material Management (covering Asset Management & Maintenance Management system)
  • Meter database & GIS database

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Asset Management

MECOMS Asset Management allows to setup and manage fixed assets in a flexible manner. Asset Management System is aimed to achieve the control that is needed to efficiently track and manage asset and location data throughout the asset life cycle.

The Asset Management System will cover features below:

  • Transactions linked to the different steps in the lifecycle of an asset -like acquisition, depreciation, value adjustment and disposal- are covered.
  • Different depreciation schedules can be setup like straight line, reducing balance, manual, factor or consumption based depreciation.
  • Key information on the assets like asset type, location, serial number is setup. At every moment, an asset has a certain status (e.g. installed, active, inactive, sealed, closed,...) that can reflect a certain step in a business process like installation, disconnection, calibration.
  • Based on the attributes, pools of assets can be selected. These pools can be used for doing statistical checks on e.g. metering accuracy.
  • Establish location and asset hierarchies to roll up costs across systems, subsystems, departments and locations, to get a better understanding of the true cost of assets (such as the initial cost, financial value, and cost to maintain).
  • Monitor asset and location conditions to enable proactive (instead of reactive) maintenance that helps reduce unplanned downtime.
  • Via the integration with Service Management, maintenance history of an asset can be checked and used for reporting or statistical analysis. Inventory related processes like replenishment, barcode reading or stock counting is covered using the extended Inventory Management functionalities;

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The MECOMS Billing Module manages the meter-to-cash process in a very flexible and efficient manner. The system is highly configurable so it can be perfectly fitted to different utilities organizations. MECOMS Billing will cover the functions related to generation, printing and issuance of bills to the consumer.

The Billing System will cover features below:

  • Generation of Bill with Unique bill number
  • Configure the bill calculation logic and rebates
  • Manual updating of bills before issuance.
  • Generating bills in batches on defined periodicity
  • Group Billing
  • Generate flag for tampered meter
  • Bill correction and amendment
  • Change of Billing cycle
  • Penal billing for unauthorized use of electricity
  • Linking consumer to appropriate tariffs
  • Inclusion of Past dues and Surcharge
  • Managing Security Deposit of the Bill
  • Electronic dispatch of bill on Web Portal
  • Discontinue bill after dismantling
  • Billing for Temporary connection
  • Reconciliation of bill amount & General Ledger update
  • Download & Upload data from Spot Billing System
  • Billing Logic in Spot Billing device
  • Generation & Printing of Billing Reports
  • Batch billing as well as ad-hoc billing for individual connections or customers is possible and different options for bundling invoices are available
  • Estimation of consumption of electricity on faulty meters and bill generation on the faulty period
  • Generation of automatic bar code number and its printing on bill using Code-39
  • Download of billing logic to facilitate the spot billing
  • MECOMS has advanced functionality for credit management like automatic matching of payments on invoices, individual payment plans and reminder cycles.
  • The output -the actual invoice- is available in soft and hard formats (pdf, xml, csv) and can be published on portal sites.
  • Meter data collection and validation is integrated with mobile devices of field operators. All the business and processing logic is available to extent this mobile application to the entire meter-to-cash cycle.

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MECOMS offers extensive credit management functionality with transparent insight in invoices, payments and matching. Payments can be managed centrally - e.g. via upload of a bank file - or can be processed individually. Customer Care & Billing will provide consumers the facility of making payment on the bills generated through different payment channel like Cash, Cheque, Bank Draft, Credit Card, Debit Card, Internet Payment gateway and Net banking over the Web Portal.

MECOMS features a unique automatic matching system that can be setup to fit the needs of every organization. According to the settings, a matching % is calculated and based on that, payments are matched automatically or not. In case no automatic matching took place, the payments are listed for manual check and action (e.g. manual matching, putting on customer’s account as a kind of credit, refund to customer). In this way, one single payment can be matched on multiple open invoices.

This module will cover the following features:

  • Decentralized payment processing & centralized reconciliation of collection
  • Payment Receipt generation
  • Adaptability to different mode of collection
  • Acceptance of part/ advance payment
  • Generation of reminder, alerts & disconnection notice
  • Finance & Accounting

Customer Care & Billing will be integrated with other applications:

  • Integrated with Work & Asset Management module to cover the asset management & work flow management
  • Integrated with Customer Care & Billing for handling Financial Accounting
  • Integrated with Web Portal for making online bill payments

MECOMS Billing can manage payments from any number of sources: mailed-in payments, walk-in payments, remittance processors, etc. Data is loaded into payment staging tables;

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Maintenance Management

The Service Management Module of Dynamics Axapta supports organizations in optimizing their field operations. Although this module already covers a wide range of functionality, it is being further developed and integrated with MECOMS-specific features.

In the Maintenance Management Module, long term plans can be setup, for example for preventive maintenance activities. Based on these plans, individual service orders are generated when needed – in bulk or individually.

Before being transferred to service orders, service order requests can run through an internal approval cycle, guaranteeing correct and timely treatment of these requests.

The Service Management Module is highly integrated with other modules of Dynamics Axapta. The Human Resources Module assures the allocation of the right, available resources with the right skills to the service orders. Via the Inventory Management Module, advanced functionality like warehousing or material requirement planning is available for materials used for service orders.

Standard jobs for repetitive field operations can be setup. This allows to efficiently plan and execute typical activities like meter installation, meter replacement or meter repair.

Via cost controlling, close monitoring of costs of resources and materials and other expenses is possible, as well as extended reporting of actuals-to-budget and detailed invoicing.

Integration with portals allows for online time registration. Mobile applications make it possible for field operators to receive scheduled service orders and to send back closed service orders with actuals on material and hours.