The Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) is the leading producer of electricity for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The company provides services to various governmental, industrial, agricultural, commercial, and residential sectors. With over 7.1 million customers, the company employs an army of meter readers to support its growing field operations. When in the field, meter readers depend on their communications system to stay connected with service offices.
By 2013, the company employed over 2000 field meter readers, reporting to 160 service offices. The readers are responsible for reading meters, performing service orders, and doing field observations. Prior to Zello, the main means of communication between service offices and their field readers was by calling readers on their personal phones. This quickly became cost prohibitive, as the company was reimbursing each reader at the flat rate of $55 USD per month.
In addition to being expensive, it was difficult to keep track of all 2000+ employee phone numbers. Often, phone numbers were not updated and calls were not 100% reliable. Since there was no call history available, phone calls could not be monitored or managed properly.
Due to the myriad of problems of using personal phones, the company started looking at alternative forms of communication. By early 2013, the company determined that Zello@Work push-to-talk (PTT) voice communications offered the features they needed at a reasonable cost. The service was fast, reliable, cost effective, and offered a history feature.
Because of the critical nature of SEC’s work, the company decided to use Zello Enterprise Server in a closed-loop environment instead of the Zello@Work hosted solution. Though both services offered the same features, the Zello Enterprise Server allowed the company to run Zello on their own on-site servers. By using Zello Enterprise Server, the company maintains total control of their Zello networks, reducing the risk of loss of service due to ISP disruptions.
By March 2014, Zello@Work was installed onto three on-site servers, supporting a total of 1640 licenses. The company then pre-installed Zello@Work onto new company-owned devices for their employees. Devices included Dolphin 9700 and 7800 devices, as well as Motorola MC65 devices. For its initial roll-out phase, about 600 readers and 40 supervisors in service offices were deployed with Zello@Work on their devices.
By implementing Zello@Work, SEC saved a substantial amount in fixed monthly operating costs. The monthly cost for the cell phone provider was reduced from $55/reader to about $8/reader. After factoring in the cost of new devices for employees, Zello helped save the company 30% on monthly communications expenses. The money saved was diverted to help improve other areas of customer service.
Zello provides fast and reliable communications between service offices and their field meter readers, resulting in fewer missed and unread meters which, in turn, results in more revenue. Zello also makes training new readers easier. With up to 200 meters to read in 4 hours, this can be a daunting task for any meter reader. By using Zello with a GPS app, meter readers unfamiliar with a route can now instantly get route directions from their service office. This eliminates the need for someone from the office to walk the route with them, saving the company even more time and money.
Saudi Electricity Company is the leading producer of electricity in all parts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The company’s operations consist of generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power. Its organizational structure is made up of key operational activities (business units) in power generation, transmission, distribution, customer services, joint regulatory activities and support services. The Company has electricity generating capacity of 58,462 MW, power transmission network length of 54,318 km-circular, power distribution network length of 465,501 km-circular, and over 7.1 million customers. Overall, the number of cities, villages, and settlements electrified reached 12,644.