Imagine a vulnerable adult living alone who uses legacy prepayment meters for their electricity and gas. Currently, the only way to top up these meters is to visit a corner shop or supermarket. Prepayment customers, who are often those living in financial difficulty or fuel poverty, also pay higher rates for their energy than credit customers.
Now imagine if that same customer could top up their meter from home using just a mobile phone – and get a fairer price in exchange for the reducing the extra administrative costs of the payment system to the energy supplier. This is the reality GLOBAL-365 wants to achieve through its new product, SMARTprepay®.
SMARTprepay® aims to be the first available technology capable of providing price parity between prepayment and credit customers. The product was developed in response to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s programme to install smart electricity and gas meters in every household in Great Britain by 2020. In order to get its product to market faster and cheaper, GLOBAL-365 used the high performance computing infrastructure and expertise at the Hartree Centre to test reliability and refine its software, making the system as robust as possible.
Thanks to support from the STFC Hartree Centre, GLOBAL-365 was able to get SMARTprepay® to market faster and most cost-effectively than they would unassisted. The company also has the opportunity to access the Hartree Centre’s hybrid cloud environment in future to help deliver and maintain a secure, reliable service. The expertise gained through this project will also benefit future customers of SMARTprepay® by providing easier and more reliable top ups – and provide energy companies the opportunity to offer fairer pricing structures to those most in need.
In 2017, GLOBAL-365 was selected for the Wayra Fair By Design accelerator programme funded by the Fair by Design Fund, which intends to eliminate the ‘poverty premium’ within 10 years.
"Businesses need to make money. But we thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could use disruptive technology to help people at the same time? By saving energy companies money, we enable them to offer price parity between credit and prepayment customers. The Hartree Centre’s expertise made our testing process cheaper and more reliable, enabling us to get SMARTprepay® to market faster."