Utility Overview

Gainesville Regional Utilities, known as GRU, is a multi-service utility owned by the City of Gainesville. They are the 5th largest municipal electric utility in Florida. Their combined services make them the most comprehensive utility service provider in the state.

The Challenge

The heavily customized, outdated and unsupported CIS system created various challenges that inhibited the integration of new functionality and core systems like FMIS and EAM. Moreover, the lack of support, coupled with no integration with modern technology like AMI, limited the scope of progressive efforts.

Thus, the legacy CIS system needed to be replaced.


Initial Goals and Objective

The GRU CIS Replacement Project had two primary objectives: to improve operational excellence and customer satisfaction. To mitigate financial risk and turnover losses, critical processes were automated using cost-effective solutions that could be supported long-term. Additionally, the project aimed to create a unified customer system of record to ensure that all customer-related interactions and documents were integrated and retained

Project ICE was a joint effort that involved employees from across GRU. The City Commission and GRU Executive Leadership provided full support for this initiative. The project had 80 participants, including a Core Team with 5 Functional leads from the Business Units, 2 from Finance, 2 from IT, and 2 from AMI Project.


Implementation Innovation

FastStart Migration is a migration toolkit, built from best practices and benchmarks, that accelerated the extraction, transformation, and loading of our data so the entire implementation used real data that was mirrored in the existing active system. Image- Introducing Automation to Streamline Customer Service with Cloud CIS

This allowed the GRU team to compare the data in the new system throughout the implementation with the same data in the production system, identifying any functional gaps immediately and addressing those in real-time instead of later at go-live.


The Results: Measurable Improvements

  • Enhancing Billing Adjustments: The new solution has improved the billing adjustment process by allowing staff to categorize volume by age and generate productivity reports. This has solved the challenge of distinguishing adjustments in the Legacy SAP system.
  • Introducing Automation: A web start service lacked security logic, resulting in manual ID verification, notifications, and reversals, leaving the utility vulnerable to loss. A new solution now verifies identity, issues adverse action letters, assesses security deposits, and prevents requests as needed.
  • Cross-Training to Support Billing: The Call Center has implemented AMI Dispatcher positions and cross-trained CSR's on entry-level Billing roles. This has increased Billing department productivity and reduced turnover by 200%.
  • Optimized Collections & Fraud Prevention: Automated service request reversals happen when move-in deposits are unsatisfied. Configurable letter templates created by Customer Operations in one centralized location prevent the need for duplicative work and review by the Marketing and Communications team.
  • Reducing Workarounds: Before, the legacy system had few new processes and no real-time status of other systems, leading to CSR's contacting various departments for updates. Today, GRU is fully integrated with other applications and benefits from new features.


Looking Ahead 

Image for Improving Billing Adjustments and Payment Management through Automation with VXcis

GRU's Call Center and Customer Operations have implemented changes to improve customer satisfaction and minimize the utility's risk of loss. Just as GRU made history as AAC's first utility CIS integration in 2007, history was also made as GRU became the first multi-service CIS implementation for VertexOne. GRU's commitment to excellence continues to be the catalyst for various industry leaders.

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