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Northern Ireland Electricity completes stage two of £15m systems integration programme with Parity Group


Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) has just completed the second phase of a £15 million major systems integration programme with Parity Group. Parity has managed the project – on time and to budget – to meet the requirements of Further Electricity Market Opening in Northern Ireland (FEMO) and important elements of the All Island Single Electricity Market (SEM). Parity Group was responsible for managing the systems integration programme for FEMO and Data Aggregation (for the SEM) including the provision of project management, supplier management and contract management expertise necessary to meet the extremely tight deadline. Key business areas included customer care and billing and data aggregation.

Serving around 800,000 customers in Northern Ireland, NIE provides electricity to both domestic users and businesses and is part of Viridian group, one of the largest businesses headquartered in Northern Ireland. The SEM is the flagship scheme ahead of the imminent EU-wide common energy market. FEMO in Northern Ireland will allow domestic consumers to choose their energy provider according to their own needs and transfer their custom easily once suppliers have entered the new market.

Meeting the requirements of FEMO and Data Aggregation required NIE to ensure that its systems were able to accommodate not only the new demands placed on it internally, but also from its customers. Therefore, the IT systems had two distinct requirements. Firstly, to process customers’ provider selections and ensure any changes in service provider were accomplished smoothly. Secondly, rationalising which utility company has supplied energy to which customer and ensuring the information is aggregated appropriately for billing and settlement.

Parity’s role as IT consultants specifically revolved around managing the IT system integration and associated contract billing and relationship management. The team defined the precise requirements of the two strands of the project with the help of two UK-experienced consultancies – Engage and St. Clements Services – and then managed the contracts of three sub-contractors; Oracle, PRI and Northgate Information Systems, who were respectively responsible for customer care and billing, an automatic billing aggregation system, keypad metering and legacy system evolution.

Once these four separate elements were completed under Parity’s supervision, an 80-day integration test was performed to ensure a smooth collaboration from the disparate providers, ultimately to a successful conclusion. Parity and its partners are now looking to re-use the skills and experience gained on this programme in the Smart Metering area, which the Government is committed to in order to achieve significant household carbon savings.

Michael Atkinson, NI 2007 Programme Director at Northern Ireland Electricity commented, “We have been very impressed with Parity’s work on the programme delivery and training, given the tight deadline and steep learning curve. Parity has displayed a professional and very determined approach to delivering their part of the overall programme. The successful completion of this phase of development is a testament to the team’s hard work and dedication to the task.”


About Parity Group plc

Parity is a UK-based Business and IT Technology services organisation, delivering technical, resource and training solutions that contribute to the business transformation and economic performance of both private and public sector clients.

Parity’s expertise in IT project consultancy minimises business risk associated with systems implementation, integration or business change for its clients. As agents of change, Parity provide the skills, competencies and concepts necessary to improve business performance for IT enabled projects, programmes and change initiatives.

Having been established for over thirty years, Parity has developed deep industry and expertise in Finance, Utilities, Telecoms and the Public Sector delivering, people, skills and concepts for IT enabled projects and programmes throughout the UK.

Parity believes that better relationships deliver better results. Many of Parity’s current client relationships span more than ten years, and include; Barclays Bank, British American Tobacco, BT, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Department for Work and Pensions, HBOS, Ministry of Defence, Northern Ireland Electricity, Royal Bank of Scotland, Scottish Power, The Cabinet Office, The Charity Commission and the NHS.


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 IT system integration
 IT project consultancy
 IT Technology

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