[Dirk Briese][February, 22 2008]The status of competition in the German billing market shows diverse structures. The companies serve different market segments within the billing market, dependent on their backgrounds and core competences.

Competition is still largely geographically limited to the regional level. Indeed it can be stated that competition exists to a lesser extent between the different service providers than it does between the service providers and those energy suppliers (and local authorities) that to date have performed their own billing. Even today, spun-off billing service providers still account for the majority of holding and affiliated companies.

However, there is movement in the market, which is leading to an increasing external market share for some (full) service providers. Service providers are also recording a small but increasing number of supra-regional market successes in the area of billing. For most companies, though, sales volumes are still generated more from the subprocesses than from full service billing (with the exception of billing for holding and affiliated companies).

Meanwhile, more than 30 billing service providers – up from 15 in 2003 – position themselves explicitly as full service providers. This number is expected to increase further, both from spin-offs, particularly from the larger suppliers, interconnection companies and transmission system operators, and from cooperative activities among the smaller suppliers.

The following table presents a comparison of the billing service providers in Germany, showing their activities in the billing subprocesses as well as the numbers of employees and numbers of meters supervised. This data is based on a study by trend and market research institute trend:research on “Outsourcing in the Billing Process” (Outsourcing in der Verbrauchsabrechnung).

Company  Billing service subprocesses Employees Comment
M MR BESC P/M CS ARM B/IT EDM
24/7 United Billing P C C C C C C N 300 >1.1 m bills
A/V/E N C C C C C C C 226 >2 m (incl. enviaM customers)
BAS N C C C C C C C ca 270 3.2 m meter readings
CentraPlus N C C C C P C C ca 180 900,000 meters
Drecount N P C C C C C C ca 120 500,000 meters
e.dat C C C C C C C C 120 230,000 meters
EnBW Vertriebsund Servicegesellschaft N P C N C C C C >1,000 n/a
Enseco GmbH C C C C C C C C 300 >3 m meters
Entega Service C C C C P C C C 198 ca 820,000 meters
Envia Service N C C P C C N N ca 260 n/a (responsible 1.6 m enviaM customers)
EVU Zählwerk N C C N N C N N n/a 678,000 meters 843,000 meter readings
Factur N C C C C C C C 150 >300,000 supervised end customers
ISG Abrechnungs-service Portfolio not yet known ca 30 (estimated) n/a
LAS GmbH N C C C C C P C ca 160 ca 550,000 meters
Mainova Service Dienste GmbH N C C N C P N N n/a 1.42 m meters
NEW Service   C C C C C C   n/a 350,000 meters
Prego Services N N C N N C C C ca 250 n/a
Regiocom P C C C C C C C 400 3 m meters
rhein ruhr partner Portfolio not yet known 135 (estimated) 700,000 meters
swb Messung und Abrechnung C C C C C C C C 186 ca 900,000 meters
SWM Services Portfolio not made public n/a n/a
Varys GmbH N N C C N P C C 34 n/a

Footnote for table:
M – Metering, MR – Meter reading, BESC – Billing energy supply contracts, P/M – Print/mailing, CS – Customer service, ARM – Accounts receiveable management, B/IT – Billing/IT (licences, system management), EDM – Energy data management
N – no process coverage, P – partial process coverage, C – complete process coverage