By - Jon Brown

2019 Billing and Payments for Utilities
January 28-29, 2019 | Austin, TX

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Overview

As utility providers diligently work to create exceptional experiences for their customers, one factor often gets in the way: payments. No one likes to see a bill in the mail or electronically, but it may be the only interaction many customers have with their utility. Because a billing statement is the one communication from the power provider that every customer receives, it is critical for customer satisfaction that the bill is understandable, efficient, and accurate.  Meeting these requirements can result in retention and satisfaction and an increase in company revenue.

Customer billing is the utilities’ “ground zero” in the battle to offset rising energy costs and related debt-recovery issues. To alleviate these burdens, power organizations can improve both cash flow and the customer experience by continually adapting to the changing communication needs of customers. Today’s customers have access to more communication channels than ever; through e-mail, SMS and mobile. To ensure a two-way conversation, utility providers need to make sure they can efficiently interact with customers across all emergent — as well as traditional — channels.

This conference will bring together utility and industry experts who must daily interact with the billing process and payment systems. They will draw upon their experience to address issues surrounding advances in billing technology and payment processing, as well as continuous improvement in customer service. Conference attendees will examine current best practices, explore the future of billing and payment strategies and enjoy quality networking with industry peers.

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Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss how technology can make the payment processing easier for consumers
  • Explain how to leverage robotics across your customer service front and back-office operation
  • Discuss how to improve collections, reduce bad debt and enhance customer engagement
  • Discuss how the functionality of a new CIS provides optimization opportunities within billing, payments and collections
  • Address what utilities in North America are doing to bill their complex accounts
  • Explain how utilities can create great workplaces that maximize your team’s engagement and potential
  • Discuss how to leverage new billing channels to improve customer communications

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 1.0 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

Monday, January 28, 2019

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. :: Registration

1:00 – 1:10 p.m. :: Opening Announcements


1:10 – 1:30 p.m. :: Welcome Address from Austin Energy

Austin Energy is the nation’s 8th largest publicly owned electric utility serving more than 448,000 customers and more than 1 million residents. In these changing times, Austin Energy recognizes that growing customer expectations are leading to rapid changes throughout the industry. Kerry Overton will welcome his power industry colleagues to Austin and review the importance of customer billing as it pertains to rising energy costs and debt-recovery issues.

Kerry Overton, Deputy General Manager/Chief Compliance and Customer Officer, Austin Energy


1:30 – 2:15 p.m. :: Changing of the Tide: CASE STUDY

Through policy changes and improved technology Fountain Utilities has been able to move the needle on improving their collections, reducing bad debt, decreasing truck rolls, and enhancing customer engagement. For the first time in 100 years the utility experienced a month where more money was coming in from collections than was being sent to collections. This presentation will share what changes took place to decrease bad debt and better manage accounts receivables.    

Denise Howell, Customer Service Manager, City of Fountain


2:15 – 3:00 p.m. :: How Digital Labor Is Transforming Customer Service Operations: CASE STUDY

This presentation will provide an overview of SCE’s Customer Service Operations Digital Labor transformation journey. SCE has implemented a Digital Labor group within the Revenue Services Department (Billing, Payments and Credit), and using Robotics Process Automation and Robotics Desktop Assist technologies, it has realized savings in the first year of implementation. Trending indicates the same results for the following year through automated efficiencies. SCE will share its journey and lessons learned in transforming their workforce to leverage robotics technologies across their Customer Service front and back-office operation.

Karen Cheung, Senior Manager, Southern California Edison

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. :: Networking Break


3:30 – 4:15 p.m. :: Meter to Cash Optimization Initiatives: CASE STUDY

Meter-to-Cash is a significant process for utility companies as it not only represents their revenue cycle but also touches the end customer directly. The rapid growth of smart meters requires utilities to cope with new demands on their Customer Information System (CIS). A CIS Implementation is complex, time consuming, and fraught with time constraints. Because of the constant pressure to GO LIVE with accurate bills, opportunities to leverage the advanced functionality of a modern CIS are often missed.   Fayetteville Public Works Commission leveraged the advanced functionality of the CIS implementation to develop work streams that deal with billing, payments and collections. This presentation will provide detail on the optimization opportunities within these work streams.

Paul Rao, Director of Information Systems, Fayetteville Public Works Commission


4:15 – 5:00 p.m. :: State of Complex Billing

Every utility has customers with complex tariffs that the existing Billing system struggles with. Some standardize tariffs so that the Billing system can handle them, some purchase a separate Billing system just for complex tariffs, some outsource the billing of complex accounts, and some resort to a manual process of billing via a dedicated department. This presentation will address what utilities in North America are doing to bill their complex accounts and who the various Billing providers are from an in-house vs service provider perspective.

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

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


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

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


8:30 – 9:15 a.m. :: How to Empower Agents to Deliver an Effortless Customer Experience

How do you keep employees motivated and focused on details? If you can keep employees motivated, what benefits can you expect? Managing employees is so much more than just telling someone what they’re doing wrong and how to do it right! A good manager should motivate, encourage, teach, help, guide and direct individuals to self-discover paths to improvement and sustain good performance. This session will focus on defining agent empowerment and the three core components of agent empowerment, challenges and solutions for empowering and motivating agents. We will share what has worked in our center to engage and motivate our team

Fancy Leigh Mills, Group Training and Content Director, HDI/ICMI


9:15 – 10:00 a.m. :: Pay as You Please:  More Options for Customers: CASE STUDY

In today’s rapidly changing world, many utilities have been decreasing pay channels such as accepting cash and closing walk in centers. In this presentation, you will hear how Austin Energy is taking a different approach by increasing their pay channels to improve customer convenience and satisfaction. The utility currently offers various payments channels including autopay, registered online portal payments, remittance payment through mail/wires and a utility service center. Beginning in 2019, the path forward for accepting payments includes kiosks, quick read codes and walk in pay stations.

Elaine Veselka, Vice President Customer Account Management, Austin Energy

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


10:30 – 11:15 a.m. :: The Next Generation of Billing and Payments for Customers: CASE STUDY

The information age has dramatically changed customer expectations around how, when and where they want to engage. They seek fast and easy transactions through their preferred channels and devices. Arizona Public Service (APS) understands that billing and payments is no exception. APS’s ability to collect on customer bills requires offering multi-channel payment options such as: autopay, mobile and remote location payment options. During this session, Jeff Johnson will discuss the current and emerging landscape along with what it means for APS. He will discuss the biggest challenges the company faces as it prepares for the road ahead and how it is mitigating potential risks.

Jeff Johnson, Revenue Operations Director, Arizona Public Service


11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Leveraging a Banking Culture for Outsourcing in the Utility Industry: CASE STUDY

Bringing the banking culture to establishing and managing outsource operations in the utility industry can have a positive influence on the results.  Customer experience is an often-overlooked component in what has traditionally been merely a cost-based decision. This presentation will provide examples of how including cultural aspects and goals can provide increased value in customer behavior and experience for utilities.

Andy Schorn, Director, Customer Revenue, CPS Energy

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon


1:00 – 2:00 p.m. :: Vision of the Future: Panel Discussion

In this panel discussion, utilities and industry experts will discuss what they see as the critical components and challenges of billing and payments for utilities based on their valuable experience and information obtained through customer feedback. This interactive panel will respond to inquiries from the moderator and audience regarding possible solutions utilities can explore to improve billing and payment processing.

Paul Rao, Director of Information Systems, Fayetteville Public Works Commission

Monica Joyner, Process Manager, Quality Management, Austin Energy

Andy Schorn, Director, Customer Revenue, CPS Energy

Jay Malin, Managing Director, AGENT511


2:00 – 2:45 p.m. :: Utility Bill Redesign: What do Customers Want?  

Redesigning a utility bill from the customer’s perspective takes far more work than designing one with solely the utility’s interest in mind. Through ethnographic research, and rapid prototyping, a cross-functional team at Nashville Electric Service was able to craft a bill that met customer’s desires while also resolving internal pain points. During this informative session, Jeffrey Daigle, will present on the process used to create a bill, how it opened the door to other channels, and helped key customer groups (new customers, younger demographics, key accounts) better understand their usage and drive positive outcomes for the utility.

Jeffrey Daigle, Sr Research Analyst- Customer Experience and Marketing, E Source

2:45 – 3:00 p.m. :: Afternoon Break


3:00 – 3:45 p.m. :: Organizational Changes and Development: CASE STUDY

What do organizational changes entail? Why is it important to address this topic in a timely manner? What benefits can your utility expect by being proactive addressing organizational changes? In this session, learn how Austin Energy continues to improve employee development in areas like billing and payments while handling organizational changes. Highlights will include:

  • Change management tactics
  • Impact analysis
  • Future improvements

Monica Joyner, Process Manager, Quality Management, Austin Energy


3:45 – 4:30 p.m. :: Expanding What’s Possible in Self-Service with Virtual Assistants: CASE STUDY

Utilities have long used automated systems as the “welcome mat” for customers. But over time as customer expectations have risen, many automated systems have not kept up, providing an experience that many customers find lacking. In this session, Salt River Project will share how they learned through research, reflection, and collaboration that they were able to expand what was possible in self-service within areas such as customer payments.  At the same time, providing a better (and fun!) experience for customers and keeping experienced agents handling complex customer issues.

Randon Wilkins, Manager, Contact Center Operations, Salt River Project (invited)

4:30 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns

 

Workshop

Building High Performance Billing & Payment Teams!

Monday, January 28, 2019

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration

8:30 – 11:30 a.m. :: Workshop Timing

Overview

Building teams that perform at consistently high levels benefits all key stakeholders—but can be challenging in today’s utility industry. A team will only achieve its fullest potential when people are engaged and inspired to do their best work. Research shows highly engaged employees on average are 50% more likely to exceed expectations than the least engaged workers. Companies with highly engaged people outperform organizations with the most disengaged workers— by 54% in employee retention, 89% in customer satisfaction and by nearly 2 to 1 in financial performance.

How do we create great workplaces that maximize our team’s engagement and potential – and the potential of the larger organization? In this workshop, the instructor will be sharing the latest research and practical ideas to help motivate people and build teams that are high performing! Attendees will walk way inspired and equipped to lead your team to an even higher level of success.

Learning Outcomes

After this workshop, attendees will understand and be able to use:

  • The 3 Characteristics of High-Performance Teams
  • 7 Key Needs that Motivate People
  • Top 10 Motivators for Workers
  • The magical 5 to 1 Ratio
  • 15 Imperatives for Building a Great Workplace
  • 20 Ways to Retain Your Best Employees
  • The 12 questions “Measuring Stick”
  • And more practical tools!

Agenda


Powerful Lessons to Help You Lead and Develop High Performing Teams

Wes Friesen has written a book called “Your Team Can Soar! Powerful Lessons to Help You Lead and Develop High Performing Teams” and will share highlights from the book. In this section of the workshop, we will explore:

  • The latest research
  • Tapping into the wisdom from a variety of experts
  • Gaining a better understanding of how to help motivate people
  • How to build teams that are high performing!

Keys to Building Great Workplaces

In this section of the workshop, we will explore:

  • How to create great workplaces that maximize employee engagement
  • How to create great workplaces that maximize employee and potential – and the potential of the larger organization
  • Discuss the 15 imperatives to build great work places
  • How to inspire your teams and help them achieve their fullest potential

Instructor

Wes Friesen, President – Solomon Training & Development; University Instructor; Portland General Electric, – Manager: Billing, Payments & Credit (retired), (MBA, CCE, CBF, CBA, CMA, CFM, CTP, CMDSM, MCOM, MDC, EMCM, ICP, CM, APP, PHR)

Mr. Friesen is a proven leader and developer of high performing teams. He managed at Portland General Electric for 37 years where his teams were noted for high performance and earned multiple awards and national recognitions. He is also an award-winning University Instructor and Conference Speaker—and is the President of Solomon Training and Development, which provides leadership, management and team building training.

He writes for business trade journals, including a management column for Mailing Systems and Technology. His book, Your Team Can Soar! Powerful Lessons to Help You Lead, and Develop High Performing Teams has 42 valuable lessons that will inspire you and give you practical pointers to help you—and your team—soar to new heights of performance. Mr. Friesen earned his B.S. in Business Administration from George Fox University and his MBA from the University of Portland. He also sits on several non-profit boards.

Speakers

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

Karen Cheung, Senior Manager, Southern California Edison

Jeffrey Daigle, Sr Research Analyst- Customer Experience and Marketing, E Source

Denise Howell, Customer Service Manager, City of Fountain

Jeff Johnson, Revenue Operations Director, Arizona Public Service

Monica Joyner, Process Manager, Quality Management, Austin Energy

Jay Malin, Managing Director, AGENT511

Fancy Leigh Mills, Group Training and Content Director, HDI/ICMI

Kerry Overton, Deputy General Manager/Chief Compliance and Customer Officer, Austin Energy

Paul Rao, Director of Information Systems, Fayetteville Public Works Commission

Andy Schorn, Director, Customer Revenue, CPS Energy

Elaine Veselka, Vice President Customer Account Management, Austin Energy

Randon Wilkins, Manager, Contact Center Operations, Salt River Project (invited)

Location

AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center

1900 University Ave

Austin, TX 78705

Reserve your room:

please call 1-512-404-1900

Room Block Reserved For:

Nights of January 27 – 28, 2019

Room rate through EUCI:

$209.00 single or double plus applicable taxes
Make your reservations prior to December 27, 2018.

Venue Information

https://www.meetattexas.com/meetings

Register

Please Note: Confirmed speakers do not need to register and are encouraged to participate in all sessions of the event. If you are a speaker and have any questions please contact our offices at 1.303.770.8800

EventEarly Bird Before
Friday, January 11, 2019
Standard RateAttendees
2019 Billing and Payments for UtilitiesUS $ 1195.00US $ 1395.00

This event has the following workshops:

Building High Performance Billing & Payment Teams!US $ 495.00
US $ 595.00

*Please note: all attendees of the conference will receive a link to downlaod all presentations that are made available by the presenters. If you cannot attend the conference but would still like a copy of these materials, please consider purchasing the proceedings package listed below

I cannot attend but would like a copy of the proceedings

Proceedings packageUS $ 395.00

Take advantage of these discounts!

  • Attend the Conference and workshop and pay US $ 1,595.00 per attendee (save US $ 95.00 each)

Register 3 Send 4th Free!

Any organization wishing to send multiple attendees to these conferences may send 1 FREE for every 3 delegates registered. Please note that all registrations must be made at the same time to qualify.

Cancellation Policy

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before December 28, 2018 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800

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