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Power & Gas Management

Transmission Services Management

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Development Philosophy
Value & Benefits
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Value & Benefits

Market changes, uncertainties and unpredictability are today a fact of doing business. Traditional responses to changing market conditions are no longer good enough. Standard Market Design initiatives will bring major changes to the industry – all of which will require significant technology adjustments. Standardization will significantly impact business practices and cultures. Participants will require one set of data and architecture for management information systems able to support a dynamic environment for real-time decision making to optimize assets, exploit opportunities and create value through rapid response, instantaneous and effective analysis, hedging and thorough and accurate reporting.

In an open market, companies must trade to:

  • Buy and sell energy
  • Balance supply and demand
  • Avoid penalties for imbalance
  • Manage risk
  • Obtain best price to stay competitive and protect profitability (or for public power companies to meet load requirements at the best possible price)
  • Optimize business activities

With trading being an ongoing activity while the market continues to change, this requires a platform that provides the flexibility to reconfigure capabilities easily and the ability to add new generation, products, markets etc without a major system overhauls.

Measuring all information through the ability to view data in any way is key to an overall transaction management infrastructure. Combined with the company risk management policies, this will bring value to an organization in various ways:

  • Lower trading cost
  • Reduced inventory cost
  • Increased business opportunities
  • Reduced credit risk
  • Reduce counterparty risk
  • Optimized usage of physical assets
  • Better utilization of personnel
       
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SoftSmiths Differentiators

"Powerful solutions that transform your business"

Focus

SoftSmiths' entire focus is on creating, integrating and delivering scalable, adaptable and tailored energy transaction management systems for Load Serving Entities, Generation Production Entities (GPE), Purchasing / Selling Entities, Transmission Providers and Control Area Operators who operate in physical markets to sell, purchase, trade and deliver energy in the most efficient and cost effective way. SoftSmiths’ solutions improve visibility of the process and transaction data allowing users to make faster and more informed decisions that can improve profitability, operational efficiencies and cash flow.

SoftSmiths help customers succeed by developing true partnerships; working with our customers to provide solutions to real world challenges, that best meet their requirements and completely support their operations.

SoftSmiths accomplish this through:

  • Employing our in-depth understanding of industry business practices.
  • Using our experience in developing and deploying scalable, high-volume transaction management systems
  • Integrating the best and most cost-effective technology into a lower-cost higher-value transaction computing model.
  • Having a track record of solving the complex challenges brought by deregulation.

SoftSmiths provides:

  • Seamlessly integrated end-to-end solutions from deal capture to settlement, supporting straight-through-processing within a single data repository. This means that a deal is entered into the system, scheduled and / or booked out, checked out, and settled as a single object, with a single audit trail documenting all actions taken on it.
  • Solutions that enable commercial, operational and security/reliability entities to interact in a real-time and user-friendly environment.
  • Solutions that enforce and support business processes thereby improving information control, communications, visibility and efficiencies, and
  • Enable utilities to conduct and manage next-hour, day-ahead and long term transactions
  • Organize physical schedules in a single, disciplined repository,
  • Manage the interrelationships between reservations and energy schedules,
  • Create, submit and manage NERC e-Tags, as electronic schedule requests, via an integrated transaction management process
  • Support pre-schedules, real-time and after-the-fact checkout activities,
  • Facilitate the management and notification of transaction curtailment, and
  • Facilitate the reservation management and grandfather contract management
  • Facilitate exchange of transaction data among EMS, Accounting and Billing system
  • An integrated Business Solution
  • Business Practices Knowledge
  • Breadth of Product
  • Integration and Delivery
  • Custom Capability
  • Service & Support
  • Turn-Key solutions (hardware, software and integration)

A new Solution – for a new era

  • Developed from the ground up using industry standards for reliability, performance, openness and portability.
  • Subscribe & Publish Architecture
  • Developed with an approach to look at the challenges from a business perspective combined with our in-depth industry knowledge.
  • Striving to make technology conform to the business, not vice-versa
  • Delivering a seamlessly integrated end-to-end solution from deal capture to settlement, centralized around a single repository.
  • Excels in an environment with physical business deals (energy is flowing and being delivered)
  • Providing interoperability and extensibility capabilities using interfaces consistent with the electric industry and internet standards (among other XML, SOAP)
  • Supporting changing business practices through an unmatched level of adaptability, flexibility and scalability.
  • SoftSmiths proven solutions are designed to help utilities manage the increased volume and complexity of energy transaction management brought on by deregulation—we provide our customers with a competitive edge, not just another tool.

Ease Of Use

  • Interfaces and features that address the business users’ needs for every-day use and are laid out logically and intuitively—SoftSmiths is not a rigid, one-size-fits-all solution
  • Drill down capabilities (slice & dice the information)

Flexibility

  • SoftSmiths’ solutions evolve with the marketplace and the business to solve real, ongoing challenges for public utilities
  • SoftSmiths take the time to understand the role of each business unit and mold products around them to deliver flexible solutions that will help customers now and adapt to their needs in the future avoiding re-writing software every time business rules change.

Adaptability

  • SoftSmiths doesn’t lock customers into a solution that will be outdated in three years
  • SoftSmiths’ solutions can be easily and cost effectively tailored to fit
  • SoftSmiths’ solutions are not legacy systems retrofitted for new requirements, they are tools that can be tailored for any public utility in any region.

Scalability & Maintainability

  • e-Merchant and e-Wheel utilize a multi-tiered, multi-threaded application framework specifically designed to support the development and deployment of large-scale, high-volume, distributed, commercial applications, with hundreds of users, and hundreds of thousands of transactions

Interoperability/Extensibility

  • To interface with custom and/or off-the-shelf applications, customer interfaces can be developed using the e-Link XML API. The system as shipped interacts with all NERC compliant tagging services and FERC compliant OASIS nodes.
  • e-Link interfaces are designed using publish and subscribe, so transfers are event driven and occur as events take place.
  • EMSLink provides seamless integration between 3rd party Energy Management Systems and SoftSmiths e-Merchant (and e-Wheel). It provides net scheduled interchange data in the required format to EMS/SCADA systems for use in Automatic Generation Control (AGC). It complements the capabilities already provided by e-Merchant (and e-Wheel) to make use of EMS/SCADA information, such as meter data, to perform control area energy accounting functions such as calculation of inadvertent interchange

System Availability

  • The system is defined with high availability and can be configured with fail over capability to self-recover in the event of hardware failure—so business critical transaction management data is available to the customer at the right time and place.

Intimate knowledge of the industry and customers’ needs

  • Thorough understanding of how regulations and competitive standards impact our customers’ organizations
  • Understand how the physical business/transactions works and how to alleviate inefficiencies and redundancies in customer operations
  • “In the trenches” with customers, attending work groups, SMD conferences
  • SoftSmiths are thought leaders in the (physical?) transaction management space


Service & Support

  • Our approach to technology and customer services is based on our commitment to helping our customers succeed by developing true partnerships.
  • SoftSmiths offers different levels of technical support and maintenance services, including 24x7, so you can select the service levels that fit your business needs.
  • We offer a full spectrum of services from business analysis, system implementation use and IT training, to Turn-Key solutions, including hardware, software installation and configuration.
       
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Benefits

Operate efficiently and reliably while monitoring critical performance

  • Improves visibility into resources and obligations in real-time as the volume and complexity of transactions increase improving reliability, reducing costs and minimizing errors
  • Improved decision making through the delivery of accurate and timely information to the right person, at the right place, at the right time
  • Enhances reliability through improved ability to plan, forecast and execute
  • Availability of and access to reliable and timely information enhances business process effectiveness and reduces costs—turning risk into opportunity

Improve Customer Service and differentiation

  • Through improved accuracy of invoices and statements building trust and differentiation for customers
  • Improved ability to measure value of products offered

Reduce the settlement cycle

  • Improved cash flows as a result of more accurate and timely back-office information
  • Reduced and easier to resolve disputes in the settlement process result in increased speed to booked revenues
  • Enhanced capability to monitor the market and contractual requirements to avoid cost (i.e. congestion fees, penalties)

Reduce Complexity

  • Increased efficiency of processes throughout the enterprise, real-time knowledge of positions, resulting in reduced costs and increased optimization of resources
  • Allows for quick, one-time entry of deal information, supporting straight-through processing in its deal capture, deal valuation, risk measurement, tag creation, reporting, scheduling (visibility into OASIS), metering and settlement capabilities, that eliminates entry redundancies, transaction errors and automates the various manual steps currently needed.
  • Centralized around a single data repository to enable all reporting activities and data transfers, and to query this data for ad-hoc report creation.
  • Through the assignment, definition and enforcement of roles/responsibilities, business process and audit trail capability (Security)
  • Improved ability to respond to regulatory requests

ROI

By deploying SoftSmiths solutions, customers achieve measurable ROI by reducing their cost of doing business and avoiding unnecessary costs and penalties. With SoftSmiths, customers can grow revenues, improve cash flows, increase staff productivity and improve service quality for business partners and customers by streamlining processes, keeping current with evolving industry standards/regulations and having real-time access to business-critical information enterprise wide. If an organization knows what its resources and obligations are in real-time, it is better prepared to make decisions that can positively impact the health of the business. Having the power to make better-informed decisions, impacts ROI immediately.

Customers rely on an established and knowledgeable partner

SoftSmiths partners with customers to help address and plan for uncertainties such as market changes and new regulations, for example, (FERC orders, SMD, RTO structural changes). SoftSmiths constantly track industry changes modifying its standard products accordingly and rolling them out to help customers migrate and adapt to evolving regulatory standards and survive in the new business environment.

SoftSmiths achieve this through:

  • Adaptability/Flexibility: SoftSmiths has designed, developed and deployed its systems to meet the diverse challenges of changing business practices. Having this level of flexibility, scalability and adaptability is unmatched in the energy commercial software product market.
  • Maintainability: covered by a maintenance agreement the product is updated and enhanced on a regular basis, it does not have a replacement cycle. New technologies are incorporated in major releases of the product.
  • Scalability: application framework specifically designed to support any size operation, up to and including large-scale, high-volume, distributed, commercial deployments. The system can initially be deployed at any scale and grow with your business, whether the transaction volume increases or the number of users.
  • User Friendliness: Interfaces and features addressing the business users’ needs, resulting in a high rate of end-user adoption.
       
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Quick Reference Features and Benefits

BENEFIT ACHIEVED BY BUSINESS IMPACT
Improved decisions
  • Single repository, straight-through-processing, information sharing and consistency
  • Company-wide information sharing which supports:
  • Visibility into resources and obligations in real-time
  • Overall risk management
  • Improve financial positions across all parties to Reduce cost
  • Minimize errors
Reduced operational risk
  • Improved system availability
  • Enhanced security
  • Minimized business disruption through system loss
  • Reflects continuity and reliable business
Flexibility
  • Configurable to market changes and changing business needs
  • Ability to innovate and adapt solutions to business needs
Scalable and robust
  • Built for growth and resilience
  • Ability for system to grow with the markets
Business responsive
  • Improved functional coverage
  • Delivered faster
  • Improved Time-to-market of new products and service to market
Higher benefit/cost ratio
  • Reduced effort for functional upgrades
  • Integration with legacy systems
  • Greater return from systems investments
  • Maintains the value locked in legacy systems
Technology innovation
  • Easier to introduce new technology
  • Less disruptive
  • Ability to technologically innovate without major business disruption

   
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The Power of the Integrated Solution


Automatic Scheduling

e-Merchant includes the Trade Blotter for quick entry of common transactions, such as buying power for load or selling excess generation. Traders enter only a few unique values, such as counterparty, MW, and price - and e-Merchant automatically creates schedules, reserves transmission and creates an E-Tag. Straight forward, quick and simple.

Contact us for more information at 713-626-9184 or at mkt@softsmiths.com.

Click here to learn more


Automatic Transmission Reservation

e-Reservation provides automatic real-time interaction with one or more OASIS nodes simultaneously and allows you with a SINGLE application to:

  • gather requests and reservations, and integrate these into the overall transmission inventory,
  • submit, withdraw, rebid, and confirm requests,
  • gather and display availability (ATC) and pricing information, and
  • download lists of points, products, and other administrative data.

Contact us for more information at 713-626-9184 or at mkt@softsmiths.com.

Click here to learn more


NERC E-Tag Automation 

Why enter deal and schedule data twice, when you can have a scheduling system tightly integrated with a tagging system, as SoftSmiths has done with its SoftSmiths Power and Transmission applications? SoftSmiths' Electronic Tagging Portal Suite (ETPS) software supports integration with your scheduling system or ours. This includes both automatic tag creation from your schedules when you are the author, and automatic schedule creation from tags authored by others, thereby streamlining your scheduling process, avoiding double entries and eliminating potential errors.  

Contact us for more information at 713-626-9184 or at mkt@softsmiths.com.

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Settlement and Reconciliation

Since there can be so many discrepancies (errors in schedules, dispatch instructions, delivered energy from transmission grids etc) you may leave money on the table if they are not in your favor. Without a system that can identify an error, you can never verify what the RTO/ISO tells you is correct. e-Market provides you a solution for this 'shadow settlement', to help you :

  • Ensure the accuracy and validity of the RTO/ISO’s final settlement amount.
  • Minimize time-consuming settlement reconciliation activities
  • Produce backup documentation to support disputed settlements

Contact us for more information at 713-626-9184 or at mkt@softsmiths.com.

Click here to learn more

Real-Time Integration

Our e-Link application enables you to seamlessly integrate back-office systems for risk management, trading, scheduling, generation, load, meter, and NERC E-Tag information.
Critical information is transmitted in real time, optimizing decision-making processes enterprise-wide.

  • EMS/SCADA system to e-Merchant
  • Meter data to e-Merchant
  • e-Merchant to Financial Applications
  • e-Merchant to Risk Analytical Applications
  • Pricing Feed to e-Merchant

Using Subscribe and Publish architecture, critical information is transmitted in real time, optimizing decision-making processes enterprise-wide.

Contact us for more information at 713-626-9184 or at mkt@softsmiths.com.

Click here to learn more

An Integrated Solution from Fuel Management to Spark Spread to Transaction Reconciliation

In a ‘back-to-basics’ marketplace that deals with a difficult environment due to high fuel costs, you can now have complete insight into your cross-commodity, heat-rate linked transactions, optimize your portfolio of generation assets, reduce cost, and increase revenue opportunities.

Contact us for more information at 713-626-9184 or at mkt@softsmiths.com.

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How to Optimize Gas Trading and Streamline Back-office Operations?

In a commodity-short market with high and volatile prices, a single platform is required to truly achieve front and back office optimization. SoftSmiths' e-Merchant for Natural Gas provides optimized gas trading and scheduling on a single system platform. Benefit from a seamlessly integrated system that requires no off-system spreadsheets, provides communication via EDI, and updated NAESB standards.

Contact us for more information at 713-626-9184 or at mkt@softsmiths.com.

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How to provide critical visbility to your Asset Managers, Dispatchers and Power Marketers and decision making tools to improve yield form you asset capabiities and power portfolios?

In today's electric energy market place, the delay in bringing Generation and Marketing information together puts Asset Managers, Dispatchers and Power Marketers at a disadvantage in optimizing assets and maximizing return. Firms suffer from not having true integrated real-time visibility into their generation and marketing activities. SoftSmiths' e-Merchant delivers the crucial link between Energy Management Systems and Marketing activities.

Contact us for more information at 713-626-9184 or at mkt@softsmiths.com.

Click here to learn more

System-Ready for Sarbanes-Oxley

SoftSmiths offers seamlessly integrated end-to-end solutions from deal capture to settlement, supporting straight-through-processing within a single data repository. This means that a deal is entered into the system, scheduled and / or booked out, checked out, and settled as a single object, with a single audit trail documenting all actions taken on it.

 

Benefiting from the centralized single data repository, the system provides the ability to:

       Assign, define and enforce roles and responsibilities, business processes and audit trail.

       Eliminate entry redundancies, transaction errors, and automates existing manual processes

       Display and monitor real-time knowledge of positions and credit exposure across the enterprise

       Improve response to regulatory requests and new reporting requirements

       Ensure integrity of financial results

We support your company’s documented Sarbanes-Oxley processes and controls through such key features as Security, Straight-Through-Processing, Automation , Audit Trail and Process Adaptability.

SoftSmiths’ Energy Transaction Integration Manager (ETIM) solution enables companies operating in the wholesale power and gas markets to build and implement a flexible, real-time, and efficient enterprise-wide Transaction Management Infrastructure (TMI), integrated with all of the key applications in the transaction chain.

Contact us for more information at 713-626-9184 or at mkt@softsmiths.com.

Learn more about Sarbanes-Oxley on our resource page.



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VALUE & BENEFITS

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