Updated: Meridian halts $20 million Oracle billing project

Two year Customer Experience project on hold, website reports

Meridian Energy has stopped development on a $20 million, two-year effort to replace its billing and CRM systems with Oracle technology, according to a report.

According to the website New Zealand Energy and Environment Businessweek, the project was halted after the departure last week of Meridian's retail director, Steve Ferguson, formerly of Kiwibank. Staff were told the next day, the report says.

Oracle declined to comment, referring Computerworld's enquiries to Meridian.

According to the report, Meridian spokesman Alan Seay says the decision is separate from a restructuring and headcount reduction process the company is now going through.

Speaking to Computerworld this afternoon, Seay said the project was on hold as it had reached an "analysis point".

"We decided it was prudent to stop and think about the way forward," he says.

Seay says Meridian hopes to have developed a recommendation on the future of the project by the end of the year. In the meantime, he says, the development team is still in place.

At the time of writing, Ferguson was still listed as a member of the management team on Meridian's website, but a call to his line confirmed he had left the company.

In January, TrustPower followed Meridian in selecting Oracle for a similar billing and customer system replacement project. TrustPower's community relations manager, Graeme Purches, said in a statement that TrustPower wanted to move to a service oriented IT architecture model.

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