By - Jon Brown

Billing and Payments for Utilities 2017
January 19-20, 2017 | Phoenix, AZ

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Overview

Billing and customer satisfaction is at the heart of most businesses, but for the utility industry, changes in the market environment, the advent of distributed generation, and smart grid technologies, as well as energy efficiency mandates, have converged to place growing strains on utilities. Customer billing has evolved over the years from a basic model where utilities gathered energy consumption data every other month to produce a paper invoice sent via snail mail to a dynamic model where energy consumption is tracked frequently. The innovative metering and communications technology available in today’s utility market has revolutionized the way utilities collect and use daily usage and billing data.

As energy costs continue to rise, customer payments represent an ongoing challenge for utility providers. To alleviate this burden, utilities can improve both cash flow and the customer experience by adapting to the changing communication needs. To ensure a two-way conversation, utility providers need to make sure they are able to efficiently interact with customers across all channels, including email, SMS and mobile. New ways to improve customer relationships and payment behavior include using highly-targeted proactive messaging and personalized web and e-billing portals, which ensure that each customer’s communication channel preferences are covered.

This conference will bring together utility and industry experts who interact daily with the billing process and payment systems. Speakers will address issues specific to the massive amounts of data from smart meters and how to inform, educate, and encourage customer loyalty in these rapidly changing times. Conference attendees will learn best practices, keep up with the latest developments, and enjoy networking with industry peers.

Learning Outcomes

  • Assess the functional requirements that are necessary for your billing system
  • Discuss common challenges that are experienced during billing system implementations
  • Discuss how CIS upgrades help provide customers with a better billing experience
  • Evaluate new initiatives for utilities that utilize smart meter data
  • Discuss programs that leverage smart meter data to transform the billing process
  • Identify technologies available for assisting with utility billing and payment processing functions, online and mobile payments
  • Critique the business and political processes and factors entering into a decision process

Credits

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EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.1 CEUs for this conference and 0.3 CEUs for the workshop.

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

Case Studies, Panel Discussions and PowerPoint presentations

Agenda

Thursday, January 19, 2017

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. :: Registration

1:00 – 1:15 p.m. :: Opening Announcements

1:15 – 2:00 p.m. :: Setting the Stage

This session will set the context, themes, and participatory discussion tone for the conference. Jon Brock will provide a conference overview and summarize the three primary topics and how they pertain to Billing. The audience is encouraged to provide input regarding the key discussion topics highlighted throughout the conference:

  • CIS and billing
  • Smart meters and billing
  • Continuous improvement and billing

Jon Brock, President, Desert Sky Group, LLC

SESSION I: CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENTS TO BILLING

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. :: The Next Generation of Prepay at Salt River Project

case-studySRP manages the largest prepay network in North America. Their award winning program has been a customer satisfier and provides significant operational and customer benefits. However, due to a dated technology that does not support remote communications, certain benefits can’t be offered. This presentation will highlight the initiative SRP is currently undergoing to transition from their current prepay program to one that maintains all the benefits customers love today while introducing new benefits of prepay smart meters. Some of these benefits include:

  • Allow prepay payments using all payment channels, thus eliminating the need for the smart card (token)
  • Maintain real-time prepay data for customers
  • Offer status/usage/balance viewing on mobile device, web and in-home display
  • Eliminate the need for meter exchanges to enroll
  • Allow for Time-of-Use rate plans
  • Initiate power on remotely

Valerie Pomerenke, Customer Billing Manager, Salt River Project (SRP)

2:45 – 3:15 p.m. :: Networking Break

3:15 – 4:00 p.m. :: Customer Billing / Payment Tools for Increased Satisfaction

case-studyBilling and Payment for customers is a top driver of customer satisfaction.  What are some ways a utility can increase customer satisfaction and improve your bottom line with enhanced customer billing/payment options?  In this session, the following options will be discussed:

  • New Mobile application for customers to pay their bill
  • Walking a path for bill re-design
  • Enhanced e-bill options and decreased customer costs
  • Pay-as-you go options

Denise Smith, Director of Customer Care and Experience, Tucson Electric Power Co.

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. :: Bill Redesign in an Omni-Channel World

The monthly bill remains the number one channel of interaction between a utility and its customer.  How should a utility re-design a bill in today’s always-on/always-connected world of personalization, preferences and multiple channels? In this session, the following aspects of this topic will be discussed:

  • The CX framework required to redesign a utility bill in a digital world
  • Two case studies from recent utility bill re-designs
  • Connecting the paper bill with personalization, preferences and omni-channel

Dennis Crumb, President, optimalCX solutions, LLC.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. :: Networking Reception


Friday, January 20, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

SESSION II: SMART METERS AND BILLING

8:30 – 9:15 a.m. :: Transforming the Billing Process while Leveraging Smart Meters Data

case-studyCustomer billing plays a vital role in the utility smart grid transformation.  With the deployment of smart meters, utilities now gather energy consumption data as frequently as every 5 minutes.  In this session, you will learn how Southern California Edison (SCE) leveraged smart meter data to transform the billing process.  With over 720 consumption intervals per customer available monthly for 5 million customers, SCE was able to utilize the data to improve billing process performance while offering additional customer products to decrease cost and increase customer satisfaction.  SCE will share how this was achieved along with lessons learned.

Charlie Hu, Director – Revenue Services Organization, Southern California Edison

9:15 – 10:00 a.m. :: Applying Continuous Improvement and Lean To Payment Exceptions

case-study

Maintaining multiple payment channels with various service providers coupled with customers providing incomplete/invalid account information can make posting timely payments a huge challenge.  In this session, you will see how developing a common vision and a compulsive reason to act can result in your team having key metrics with clear goals, a transformation plan to get you there and every employee’s actions aligned.  Learn how visual management, standard work, and individual contributor involvement can reduce exception work, reduce costs, and increase employee engagement.  Specific examples include reducing the backlog of customer payment inquiries by 79% and improving the processing of energy assistance payments to reduce the lead time by 90% and 71% reduction in time actually spent on the process.

Lauren Barginear, Supervisor, Treasury Transactions

Steven Bott, Manager, Continuous Improvement, Ameren

10:00 – 10:30 a.m. :: Networking Break

10:30 – 11:15 a.m. :: Payment Strategies at Georgia Power

case-study

Georgia Power has continued to work aggressively over the past several years to improve our payment strategies. Some of the recent changes that we have implemented to improve payments include:

  • Started taking payments at places other than our local offices
  • Started taking credit/debit cards
  • Instituted one of the fastest growing prepay programs in the country

Scott Whitmire, Project Manager, Georgia Power

11:15 – 12:00 p.m. :: Using AMI Data to Improve Revenues

case-studyAlabama Power is doing some interesting things with AMI data that very few utilities are doing, which is helping them improve their revenue booking process. In this session, Jenifer White will share how the utility is using the smart meter data on a daily basis to track actual energy sales to budgeted energy sales for the month and identify:

  • Industry trends
  • Metering issues
  • Communication issues
  • Load variance for customers
  • Methods to more accurately calculate unbilled revenues

Jenifer White, Revenue Billing & Controls Manager, Alabama Power Company

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group luncheon

1:00 – 1:45 p.m. :: Improving Billing Accuracy at Baltimore Gas & Electric with AMI

case-studyBGE customers are benefitting from the company’s ongoing investment in improving the reliability of their equipment. Since 2002, BGE has invested more than $5 billion in system upgrades and expansions and will invest an additional $3 billion in the next five years. Part of the investment includes the company’s recently completed smart grid deployment. BGE’s new billing system enables optimal utilization of the new technologies offered by these upgrades, which has improved billing accuracy. There is a focused effort on continuous improvement in billing especially related to exception handling, estimation reductions and overall workflow all leading to more accurate and timely bills.

Gina Maggard, Principal Project Manager, Baltimore Gas & Electric

SESSION III: CIS AND BILLING

1:45 – 2:30 P.M. :: The Journey to Implement Automatic Meters for Billing

case-study

In 2009, over 80 percent of the Region of Peel’s water meters were either pin style or touch pad reading technology.  Despite this dated technology the Region’s utility rates were some of the lowest in North America and 98 percent of the bills are based on actual reads.  This presentation focuses on the journey undertaken by the Region to move to automatic meter reading technology which was a challenge to justify given the Region’s strong financial position. 

The discussion will include the business and political processes and the factors entering into the decision process undertaken to implement drive by radio frequency technology rather than a fixed area network and the rationale for not implementing time of day billing. Shaun Hewitt and James Kosmalski will share their experiences from an operational and administrative perspective.

Shaun Hewitt, Director of Operations Support, Region of Peel

James Kosmalski, Manager of Meter Operations, Region of Peel

2:30 – 3:00 P.M. :: Afternoon Break

3:00 – 4:00 p.m. :: Vision of the Future: Panel Discussion

In this session, a panel of industry experts will discuss what they see as the critical components and challenges for utilities based on the valuable experience and information obtained through customer feedback. This interactive panel will respond to inquiries from the moderator and audience on how technology and various solutions have become more easily scalable and how they can be deployed to continue to improve customer relations and billing.

John Bord, Manager of Customer Experience, Tucson Electric Power

Charlie Hu, Director – Revenue Services Organization, Southern California Edison

Shaun Hewitt, Director of Operations Support, Region of Peel

Jenifer White, Revenue Billing & Controls Manager, Alabama Power Company

4:00 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns

Workshop

Improving Customer Satisfaction

Thursday, January 19, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 11:45 a.m. :: Workshop Timing

Overview

Customer experience for today’s utility industry continues to take on new importance and dimensions resulting from trends in technology, markets, and customer expectations. Utilities are operating in a challenging environment as a result of rising customer expectations, changing customer behavior, multi-channel access, smart meter rollouts, Customer Information System transformation, and tough customer service standards. These result in reduced customer satisfaction, increased revenue leakages and increased cost to serve. The evolving regulatory landscape compounds the challenge. Utilities need to implement new business models and strategies for enhanced overall efficiency and improved customer satisfaction.

In this workshop, utility and industry professionals will provide guidance and share their innovative strategies for enlisting technology to improve customer satisfaction. Attendees will take away additional knowledge and resources required to implement effective solutions in order to accommodate the customer of today and the future.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss customer service challenges for utilities
  • Explain coping with change
  • List steps to improve customer service
  • Discuss the results of improving processes and systems
  • Evaluate the role of the billing system

Agenda

I. How California Water Group Won the JD Power Award for Best Customer Service in the West
  • Taking a proactive approach with customer engagement
  • Implementing a multi-year initiative to leverage technology and customer-centricity
  • Making a step-level shift from traditional, excellent customer service at the transactional level to innovative, cross-channel “total customer experience.”
II. Role of the Billing System in Providing Excellent Customer Service
  • What role does the billing system have in providing excellent customer service to utility consumers?
  • Have the requirements for the billing system changed?
  • What impact does the Billing System have on the customer experience?
III. Improving Customer Satisfaction Scores at Tucson Electric Power
  •      Utilizing Journey Maps to Identify Customer Pain Points
  • Collecting the Voice of the Customer through Customer Panels
  • Tracking C-Sat Initiatives and Impacts through a Cross-Functional Steering Committee

Presenters:

John Bord, Manager of Customer Experience, Tucson Electric Power

Mr. Bord is accountable for analyzing and understanding the company’s residential, multicultural and commercial customers through primary research initiatives and business intelligence. He supports customer-facing business units to enhance the effectiveness of energy efficiency programs, new product development, business communications, billing and payments, renewables, customer service and call center communications. Prior to joining TEP in 2012, Mr. Bord was Chief Marketing Officer for Guevavi, an international customer engagement firm that worked with Fortune 500 clients in the U.S. and Latin America. From 2001 to 2008, John served as a Senior Business Segment Manager at Salt River Project, where he also managed marketing, communications and community events for the Hispanic consumer segment. Before joining SRP, he was Executive Director of Arizonans for Cultural Development, a statewide nonprofit advocacy organization. In 1997 and 1998, he was invited to the White House by President Clinton for the National Medal of Arts Awards. He received his Bachelor of Science in Communication with Honors from Arizona State University and earned an MA in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix

Yvonne Nomizu, CEO and Managing Director, PCG

Ms. Nomizu has worked in the service arena for more than 30 years as a line manager in the service-intensive businesses of hotels/hospitality, consulting, financial services, and high tech. She has led marketing and new products at Johnson & Johnson, Holiday Inn, and high-tech startups, and she managed service operations at Goldman Sachs and Westin. Her customer service experience also includes five years in the hospitality industry, where she was trained in all facets of hotel operations, opened new hotels, conducted consumer research, planned guest services, and streamlined service operations. As a principal with CSC Index, Ms. Nomizu reduced overhead by $35 million, managing a 70% corporate staff reduction and retraining existing staff for a shared services model. In her work with federal government agencies, she was involved in the formulation of a division-wide customer satisfaction strategy at the IRS. At McNeil Consumer Products (Johnson & Johnson), she championed acquisition of LACTAID nutritionals and led the brand to a 7.4 unit share gain in six months, winning the J&J Entrepreneurial Award. She graduated cum laude with an A.B. from Harvard and has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Jon T. Brock, President, Desert Sky Group, LLC

Jon Brock formed Desert Sky Group to address the needs of the utility and energy industries, specifically the need for independence and unbiased advice in changing markets. Formerly the co-founder, President, and COO of utility advisor UtiliPoint International, he has over 23 years of experience delivering unmatched advice for today’s utility and energy markets.  He serves on the Executive Advisory Committee for CS Week, the Planning Committee for the Smart Grid RoadShow, and is an active member of the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals. He has served on utility/energy-related boards in the member and advisory member positions and has provided testimony and audit services to state and provincial commissions related to utility customer service and technology investments. Mr. Brock holds a B.S. in management science/computer systems from Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Tulsa.

Speakers

Adrienne S. Alcazar, Director, Field & Payment Services, Customer Accounts & Operations, CPS Energy

Lauren Barginear, Supervisor, Treasury Transactions

Chris Bond, Senior Consultant, User Experience, optimalCX solutions, LLC.

Steven Bott, Manager, Continuous Improvement, Ameren

Jon Brock, President, Desert Sky Group, LLC

Dennis Crumb, President, optimalCX solutions, LLC.

Maria Dechellis, Chief – Customer Support and Services, City of Baltimore

Shaun Hewitt, Director of Operations Support, Region of Peel

Charlie Hu, Director – Revenue Services Organization, Southern California Edison

James Kosmalski, Manager of Meter Operations, Region of Peel

Gina Maggard, Principal Project Manager, Baltimore Gas & Electric

Valerie Pomerenke, Customer Billing Manager, Salt River Project (SRP)

Denise Smith, Director of Customer Care and Experience, Tucson Electric Power Co.

John Stoll, Managing Director – Customer Utilities, Chelan Public Utility District

Jenifer White, Revenue Billing & Controls Manager, Alabama Power Company

Location

Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa
9495 W Coyotes Blvd
Glendale, AZ 85305

To reserve your room, please call 1-623-937-3700 or book online here.
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.

Room Rate:

The room rate is $209.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

Room Block Dates:

A room block has been reserved for the nights of January 18 – 19, 2017.

Rate Available Until:

Make your reservations prior to January 5, 2017. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.

Register

Event Standard RateAttendees
Proceedings package US $ 295.00
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