Idealog: Responding to pandemic situations
Have you noticed how so many celebrities and other Mumbai residents have been posting their electricity bills on social media generated by Adani complaining how high it is? Its clearly a case of missing readings because they aren’t able to send meter readers out therefore generating bills based on estimates.
The estimates not working for the current situation because they rely on availability of other information e.g. customer’s history, similar customers’ bill, current season etc. In absence of other customers’ actual bills, the model fails because it acts as the primary benchmark for usage of a customer in the same usage bracket over a period – as it has happened due to the #COVID19 pandemic situation.
What could have been done?
For starters, I am wondering why metropolitan utilities don’t already have AMI to remotely read the meters?
What they could have done instead is allow the customers to read the meter on their behalf and send them the reading with a picture of the meter and generate reading on that basis. This would have not only prevented a customer service disaster but also would have piloted a new model. Such a pilot could have been useful to establish whether it can be extended to normal circumstances as well. They always have an opportunity to address gaps later when they go out reading the meters themselves.
Cloud platforms today allow enterprises to innovate and bring new services to market in no time and address issues just like this. And challenging times like these are just the opportunities to summon such platforms.