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Peace Gets Global Chance

The early deregulation of electrical and gas markets in New Zealand has given Auckland-based development house Peace Software a chance to gain an important edge in the evolving markets of Canada and the US.

Peace had its origins developing billing and customer information systems to New Zealand authorities from 1984 and quickly moved into the export market opening up headquarters for its international operation in Atlanta and a presence in Canada and Australia.

The company lost all its New Zealand electricity sites through industry consolidation but now has about 10 North American customers and a quarter of its of its 200 plus staff are located in the US.

Energy integrates customer and commodity management systems and is being deployed in 20 markets around the world. It is based on BEA's Web-based WebLogic application server with CRM (customer relationship management) tools, reporting, and electronic billing. Energys uses the latest browser technology enabling rapid deployment in multiple locations, broad access to internet-based information, support for virtually any desktop computing system and cost-effective system administration.

Among its US customers is Michigans largest elecvtrcity supplier Nordic Electric which last year signed off a multimillion dollar licensing and services deal for Peace's flagship Energy billing and customer information system. Nordic supplies power to about 5000 large businesses. It has also won business with Enron, BC Gas and Dominion Retail.

In December last year American Electric Power (AEP), one of the world's largest energy providers, licensed Energy for its dealings with more than one million customers in the deregulating Texas electricity market.

In January Peace struck a deal with Australian company Advance Energy, to expand its interactive customer web site using Energy Version 6 software. The site offers customer self-service and e-commerce interaction.

The implementation was an upgrade on the original software installed seven years ago which has provided the framework for the business expansion of energy supplier Advance Energy in Australia's deregulating electricity market. It supports everything from acquiring customers to complex billing and call centre customer care.

Last week Peace announced it had signed Canadian gas utility Enbridge Commercial Services as the latest international client to automate its customer management and billing systems.

The company has licensed Peaces Energy software to enhance its operational and customer service systems for commercial and industrial natural gas markets. Enbridge Commercial Services is a subsidiary of Canada's largest natural gas distributor.

The Energy software will enable Enbridge to more fully automate contract management and billing services to over 6,000 large commercial and industrial gas customers by the end of the year. Customers will be able to customise and consolidate bills for multiple locations, charges and services, as well having access to sophisticated consumption data and analysis tools.

Robert Wood, vice president of customer care at Enbridge says the company was impressed with Peace Software's string of successful implementations in Canada and the United States. "Well leverage the full functionality of the Energy suite to sharpen our competitive edge in every business function, positioning us to deliver dynamic Internet customer service innovations."

The decision to install the Energy system supports the company's plans for new business development in Canadian and US where gas markets are being deregulated.