Browser-Based Rating Engine Development

Centric extends CIS with a custom rating and billing engine to meet operational and regulatory requirements.

The Business Need

An Ohio-based power company is a regulated electric business serving 500,000 customers in a 6,000 square mile area. The client generates electricity at 10 power plants, mainly located along the Ohio River, and has approximately 3,750 megawatts of total generating capacity.

The client’s Customer Service Organization wanted to replace the existing bill calculation software with a product that would be flexible and scalable to handle future billing needs and regulatory requirements.

Centric’s High-Impact Approach

Centric was selected to develop a Rate Engine that would accurately bill all of the current rate structures. The Rate Engine Centric developed was also designed with the flexibility to accommodate Real Time Pricing and Time of Use Billing options.

In addition to the Rate Engine, a web-based Tariff Modeling application was designed and developed. This enabled the client’s Billing Specialists to maintain the various rate structures and provide real-time testing of new rates as well as changes to existing rates. The solution leveraged a combination of technologies. The Rate Engine was written in COBOL, leveraging the the client’s existing Mainframe CIS system environment. The Tariff Modeler was developed in Java and the Mainframe DB2 database was connected to the web tier via DB2 Connect.

Centric utilized the waterfall development methodology that was familiar to the client, while augmenting the process with activities and artifacts based on the Rational Unified Process (RUP) to better support the development of the web-based Tariff Modeler components.

Centric provided the following services:

  • Project Management – Tracked time vs budget, performed variance analysis, managed project risks and issues and reported project status
  • Requirements Analysis – Defined and documented detailed requirements for the Rate Engine and the Tariff Model
  • Application Design – Detailed the components to be built for the Rate Engine and created an Object Model and Sequence Diagrams for the Tariff Modeler
  • Application Development – Developed and documented the designed application components and performed unit and integration testing
  • Application Testing – Conducted extensive, automated parallel testing between the new Rate Engine and the current version, testing all of the client’s rates and executing Use Cases for the Tariff Modeler
  • Implementation and Support – Migrated the applications to the production environments and provided post implementation support

Results

The project went live on time and within budget. The Centric solution provided the client with a robust billing engine with the flexibility to support future Time of Use and Real Time Pricing offerings.