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TrustPower sees bigger savings in online billing

By Nick Stride

Friday 6th October 2000

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TrustPower's "world-first" metering and bill-paying technology, unveiled last week, looks at first glance similar to the boxes Powerco launched two years ago. Both promise to revolutionise bill payment for power and other network services.

Like Powerco's Home Power system, the new scheme involves boxes with an LED display, a key pad and a swipe card slot. The boxes, marketed by POS (point of sale) Power, a joint venture between TrustPower and Insight Data, will allow householders to monitor power consumption and time-of-use price information.

They promise the ability to activate or shut down appliances remotely and can interface with other service providers such as gas and water utilities. But there, says Insight's Ian Bailey, the similarity ends. And that's as well because Home Power, after a much-hyped launch, has disappeared from sight.

Mr Bailey says the major points of difference are that POS Power allows consumers to use both credit and debit (ATM) cards and that it is online via the telephone, delivering the low communications cost of the internet and the ability to provide real-time information, email messaging and advertising.

Its power metering application is exclusive to TrustPower which is hoping for a big uptake among its 230,000 customers. The partners foresee 7500 units being installed in the next year and then up to 50,000 a year. They have yet to sign any other service provider but say the system could be used to bill for pay television, internet access or even pizza delivery.

Revenue is expected to reach $20 million within two years.

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