Idaho Powers New Customer Application with IBM S/390 Data Center Server

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Somers, N.Y - 22 Mar 2000: -- In the recently deregulated energy market, Idaho Power Company is using information technology from IBM to seize new market opportunities. In a sweeping change on how it deals with customers, Idaho Power is replacing its 20-year-old customer accounting system with a new enterprise resource planning application running on IBM S/390 enterprise servers.

The new system, capable of handling more than a million transactions a day, will enable Idaho Power to improve response times and accuracy for vital services such as customer tracking and billing, customer coordination and history, as well as usage and meter reading.

Many of the efficiencies and improvements are a result of consolidating disparate customer databases into a single repository point on the S/390 server. The company will be able to react more quickly to market changes, answer customer questions faster and more reliably, and improve the overall efficiency of its customer service representatives.

"The utility market is an extremely competitive environment where fast, consistent and factual information is directly proportional to customer satisfaction and retention," said Ron Keogh, project manager of IT at Idaho. "The new Customer Information System on IBM S/390 will provide us with greater flexibility to respond to new business opportunities, the ability to quickly obtain customer information and analyze that data, and provide a single information source for our customers."

The new system is also expected to decrease the amount of redundant data entry and manual data manipulation procedures by Idaho's customer service representatives. A data warehouse under development will allow Idaho Power to analyze data to help forecast usage and spot potential meter reading problems. Eventually, the new system will expand to the Internet and allow customers to access their accounts directly from the Web.

"Idaho Power is one of a growing number of companies that is using information technology to support its overall business strategy in a competitive market," said Brenda Zawatski, director of S/390 enterprise systems. "A major part of that strategy is to use the S/390 server to efficiently and effectively integrate data center applications to improve customer service. It can handle new workloads, unexpected volumes of transactions and even link to the Internet."

The new Customer Information System (CIS+) application, which is expected to go live in November, is from SPL WorldGroup and will run on IBM S/390 servers using OS/390 operating system and IBM's DB2 database software. Idaho Power plans to deliver the Web capabilities using Java technology and UNIX System Services for OS/390. In addition to the new application, Idaho now is running a Passport Inventory work management system and Peoplesoft financials on the S/390. The OS/390 and DB2 combination is expected to reduce storage requirements and system operating costs.

Idaho Power Company services territory covers Eastern Oregon, Southern Idaho, and Northern Nevada. Idaho Power provides service to over 300,700 residential customers, 48,000 commercial and industrial customers and 14,500 irrigation customers.

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