Utility Billing and Payments Conference

Utility Billing and Payments Conference

February 28-March 1, 2022 | Austin, TX

“Things are evolving fast in how people do business in so many types of business. The EUCI Billing and Payment Conference is a chance for utilities to explore how to keep up with the trends in our unique space.” – Business Development Manager, Puget Sound Energy

“The information presented during the conference was very valuable and I can easily relate it back to my workplace!” – Credit & Recovery Services Supervisor, Manitoba Hydro

“Excellent content and relatable examples!” – Retail Billing & System Team Leader, Nebraska Public Power District

No one likes to see a bill in the mail or electronically, However, by improving the way in which consumers review and process monthly billing statements, utilities can transform this stressful endeavor into something they and the consumer can benefit from. As utility providers continue to work diligently to create exceptional experiences for their customers, payments often get in the way. It is no secret that consumers enjoy having more options for paying bills. By providing consumers with a variety of payment options, such as QR code scans, mobile applications, online portals, payment plans, and the ability to keep credit cards on file helps improve customer relations. By offering multiple solutions, utility companies can increase collection rates and improve the customer experience at the same time.

Utilities have done remarkable things to keep the lights on the past two years as they have been faced with unexpected expenses and reduced revenues. This annual utility billing and payments conference (hosted by Austin Energy) has never been more important as utilities continue to struggle with this loss in revenue and the unique challenges of pandemic. Case studies and real-world examples of optimized approaches will be discussed throughout the conference providing attendees with valuable ideas for consideration. Speakers and attendees will examine best practices and explore innovative strategies for improving billing and payments.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss using technology to make informed decisions and improve the customer payment experience
  • Review how the formation of a new data solutions team can help to mitigate risk, increase efficiency, and provide business insights
  • Discuss what utilities are doing to improve CX and what technologies they are using
  • Explore how to improve collections, reduce bad debt and enhance customer engagement
  • Review how offering multiple pay channels has improved customer satisfaction pre and post covid
  • Discuss the implementation of a digital assistant helps by providing the most common functionality for bills and payments
  • Discuss voice of the customer research gathered from various customer billing and payment experiences that helps redefine your customers’ billing & payment experience
  • Review strategies and best practices for achieving debt relief and revenue security
  • Discuss how consumers continue to look to their utilities for support and to help them get back on track because of the pandemic

 

Agenda

Monday, February 28, 2022 : Central Time

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Registration and Continental Breakfast

12:15 – 1:15 p.m.
Lunch Break

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Conference Timing

 

9:00 – 9:10 a.m. :: Opening Announcements

9:10 – 9:30 a.m. :: Keynote 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 uniquely challenging 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 Energy’s new headquarters and review the importance of customer billing as it pertains to rising energy costs and debt-recovery issues.

Kerry Overton, DGM, Chief Customer Officer, Austin Energy

9:30 – 10:15 a.m. :: Using Technology Across Multiple Channels to Improve the Billing and Payment Experience

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. When it comes to billing and payments, utilities can improve both cash flow and the customer experience by continually adapting to the changing communication needs of customers and improving the ease of doing business. In this presentation, hear how Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) has capitalized on technology to address customer needs and improve ease of doing business through:

  • Online Bill Presentment
  • Online payments
  • Text to Pay
  • IVR payments
  • Kiosk deployments

Thomas Fryar, ITS, Manager, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority

Maureen Russolo, VP, Customer Experience, Cogsdale (a Harris Utilities Company)

Brian Thomas, EVP, SilverBlaze (a Harris Utilities Company)

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:30 – 11:15 a.m. :: Dominion Energy:  Advanced Data Solutions Team’s Efforts to Mitigate Risk and Increase Efficiency in Response to Pandemic

Recently, Dominion Energy created an Advanced Data Solutions Team to mitigate risk, increase efficiency and provide business insights.  The Team utilizes low-code tools that enable business users to rapidly develop applications and integrations, thereby reducing traditional IT programming efforts.  Matthew May and Elisabeth Thomson will discuss the deployment of the team, platform, and its successes, including customer service and billing-related projects.

Matthew May, Manager Customer Billing, Dominion Energy

Elisabeth Thomson, Manager for Customer Analytics & Quality Control, Dominion Energy

11:15 – 11:45 a.m. :: Sourcing the Customer Experience (CX): What Works in an Ever-Changing Environment?

Many utilities are beginning to focus on Customer Satisfaction, Net Promoter Scores, or First Call Resolution as they work with consumers via multiple channels.  The industry is tiring of pandemic-related offerings and are ready to move forward.  This session will focus on what the utilities are doing to improve CX, the players that have offerings in this space, and how they are being deployed (either in-house, sourced, as-a-service, or other).  Attendees will get answers to the following:

  • What CX Technologies are Utilities using?
  • What are the Sourcing Models that Utilities Use?
  • What are the Market Trends in CX?

Jon Brock, Account Director, Utilities Practice, ISG

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. :: Building Upon “Pay as You Please”:  More Options for Customers

In 2019, Austin Energy presented on their plan to increase pay channels and improve customer convenience and satisfaction.  See how the utility has increased their pay channels and customer satisfaction scores, and how these channels benefited the customers, both pre- and post-Covid. 

John Winemiller, Supervisor, Customer Account Management, Austin Energy

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. :: Lunch Break

1:15 – 2:00 p.m. :: Improving Billing, Payments and CX by Implementing a Digital Assistant at AEP

In 2021, AEP launched a digital assistant (chatbot) on their website and in the IVR called “Aepril” to help improve customer engagement/customer service. In the initial launch, AEP focused on providing the most common functionality for bills and payments, including account balance and due date, bill pay, and payment extensions and arrangements. In this presentation, Eric Davis will share his experience on what went on behind the scenes including the design of the digital assistance, customer surveys, usability testing, as well as QA testing the conversation design. The following topics will be addressed as well:

  • Rationale behind doing the project
  • Design and research process
  • How we marketed Aepril
  • Customer adoption and lessons learned
  • Future functionality

Eric Davis, User Experience & Design Thinking Manager, American Electric Power (AEP)

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. :: Evaluating Billing Problems and Solutions from the Customer Perspective

The billing and payment experience is one of the most critical utility customer journeys.  Isn’t it time to evaluate the customer experience from their perspective?! In this session attendees will hear about voice of customer research gathered from various customer billing and payment experiences. We’ll evaluate the problem space, create “how might we…” questions that allow us to ideate on solutions in fun, useful, and innovative ways. And share 5 easy tips you can bring back to your utility to begin redefining your customers’ billing & payment experience more holistically. At the end of the session, attendees will be able to:

  • Define key moments of the billing and payment journey
  • Begin their own review of their billing & payment offerings
  • Use design thinking principles to enhance their customer experience

Jeffrey Daigle, Director, CX, E Source

2:45 – 3:00 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

3:00 – 3:45 p.m. :: Paymentus & Puget Sound Energy : Customer Centric Payment Innovations

This session explores how utilities have incorporated emerging digital bill payment methods such as digital wallets, contactless payments and voice or staff-assisted payments while also supporting customers who need financial flexibility now, and in the future.

Joining Paymentus is Puget Sound Energy, their partnership launched in 2020, designed to make the process of paying their bills faster and easier for their customers. This project, required multiple internal integration points within SAP CIS and web front end SiteCore, resulting in more than 30,000 new autopay signups; immediate adoption of the new PayPal payment method (representing approximately 44,000 transactions per month); and a dramatic improvement in J.D. Power customer service rankings.

Kristina McClenahan, Product Development Manager, Puget Sound Energy

Barbara Zickler, Regional Sales Director, Paymentus

3:45 – 4:30 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.

Moderator:

Jon Brock, Account Director, Utilities Practice, ISG

Panelists:

Maureen Russolo, VP, Customer Experience, Cogsdale (a Harris Utilities Company)

John Herron, Vice President, VertexOne

Huss Harb, Director, New Payment Flows, Mastercard

Barbara Zickler, Regional Sales Director, Paymentus

Arvina Barnes, Director for Channel Sales, Smart Energy Water

4:30 – 5:00 p.m. :: Tour of Austin Energy’s New Headquarters

The new Austin Energy Headquarters has been designed to provide the ultimate in flexibility, representing the office of the future. This project is designed to hit three metrics: LEED Platinum, Austin Energy Green Building’s Five Star rating, and WELL Building Certifications. The design incorporates a holistic approach to user wellness throughout the building by maximizing connections to the outdoor environment, daylight, circulation, and social interaction. Join us on this walking tour of Austin Energy’s state-of-the-art building and all its special features.

5:00 p.m. :: Day One Adjourns

 

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Continental Breakfast and Check In

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Conference Timing

 

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. :: Improving Payments and More at CUC using Online Services

Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) is focused on growing online relationships with customers in a variety of ways including bill payments and outage or crisis communications. By growing the online services in multiple ways, it expands touchpoints to enable the company to better deliver on customer needs and improve customer engagement. Digitally engaged energy consumers are more accessible and report higher satisfaction ratings. CUC is seeking to ensure customer interactions are seamless and painless by growing online services, which provide customers with greater control over their consumption.  Customers who control their consumption and thus their budget have an improved view of the Company on a whole leading to positive payment performance and improved cash flow.  

Nichelle Scott, Manager, Customer Services, Caribbean Utilities Company

9:30 – 10:00 a.m. :: Getting Customers Back on Track after COVID

Following the challenging times of the COVID-19 Pandemic, utilities now face changing expectations from consumers. SECC’s latest research will showcase the current state of the consumer and how utilities can build engagement, improve outreach, and increase customer satisfaction especially among the hard-to-reach renter demographic.

Jason McGrade, Deputy Director, Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:15 – 10:45 a.m. :: Debt Relief and Revenue Security in Uncertain Times

The impacts of COVID-19 on the financial security of utilities are continuing to reveal themselves. In this session, experts will discuss strategies and best practices for achieving debt relief and revenue security. Some of these approaches include:

  • How utilities must expand digital access to payment and assistance options with proactive communication to increase collections and reduce billing costs.
  • How targeted communication strategies informed by data analytics can help utilities influence customers to pay on time.
  • How utilities should consider programs that make bills more affordable for end customers who are financially struggling.

Attendees will leave with insights on how they can implement changes within their utility to reduce debt, ease the concerns of utility staff and customers, and pave a path for continued financial certainty.

John Herron, Vice President, VertexOne

Chirag Shah, Director of Product Management, VertexOne

10:45 – 11:15 a.m. :: New Billing & Payments Paradigm for Utilities

Customers get notified to pay their bills. If they have issues, they get in touch. They might enroll for autopay and paperless billing. Is this all for utility billing and payments CX? Absolutely not! There’s more to the story, and in this presentation, we explore what’s new in utility billing and payments and how digital platforms are playing their part in building operational excellence and delivering superior experiences.  Join us as we discuss the means to engage and empower customers with the right tools and intelligence, learn how to streamline billing, decode digital payments ecosystem, and explore ways to build systemic efficiencies with the latest technologies such as AI/ML/NLP.

Arvina Barnes, Director for Channel Sales, Smart Energy Water

11:15 – 11:45 a.m. :: Navigating the Utility Bill Pay Experience: A Deep Dive into Consumer and Biller Needs

The US bill pay experience is one of the most cumbersome and inefficient consumer experiences and the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need and opportunity for billers to offer consumers better electronic payment options. Close to 60% of consumers in the U.S. say the way they pay their bills is very important to them (Mercator) and they are increasingly demanding more from their payment experiences. Join us to learn more about what consumers and billers are looking for within the bill pay space and how you can implement changes within your business to meet these needs.

Huss Harb, Director, New Payment Flows, Mastercard

11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Closing Remarks

12:00 p.m. :: Conference Concludes

Speakers

  • Arvina Barnes, Director for Channel Sales, Smart Energy Water

  • Jon Brock, Account Director, Utilities Practice, ISG

  • Jeffrey Daigle, Director, CX, E Source

  • Eric Davis, User Experience & Design Thinking Manager, American Electric Power (AEP)

  • Thomas Fryar, ITS, Manager, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority

  • Huss Harb, Director, New Payment Flows, Mastercard

  • John Herron, Vice President, VertexOne

  • Matthew May, Manager Customer Billing, Dominion Energy

  • Kristina McClenahan, Product Development Manager, Puget Sound Energy

  • Jason McGrade, Deputy Director, Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative

  • Kerry Overton, DGM, Chief Customer Officer, Austin Energy

  • Maureen Russolo, VP, Customer Experience, Cogsdale (a Harris Utilities Company)

  • Nichelle Scott, Manager, Customer Services, Caribbean Utilities Company

  • Chirag Shah, Director of Product Management, VertexOne

  • Brian Thomas, EVP, SilverBlaze (a Harris Utilities Company)

  • Elisabeth Thomson, Manager for Customer Analytics & Quality Control, Dominion Energy

  • John Winemiller, Supervisor, Customer Account Management, Austin Energy

  • Barbara Zickler, Regional Sales Director, Paymentus

Location

COVID Protocols: Ensuring the safety of all speakers, attendees, and employees at Austin Energy’s headquarters is our top priority. We are following the suggestions of the State of Texas and City of Austin/Travis County officials and public health entities as they develop. All attendees must wear masks and practice appropriate social distancing while inside City of Austin (Austin Energy) sites.

 

Austin Energy Headquarters

4815 Mueller Blvd

Austin, TX 78723

For more information:

please call 512-494-9400

 

Nearby hotels:

Residence Inn by Marriott Austin-University Area
1209 E 51st St. 
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 469-7842 

0.7 miles from Conference Location 


Embassy Suites by Hilton Austin Central
5901 N Interstate Hwy 35
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 454-8004

1.6 miles from Conference Location 


Courtyard by Marriott Austin-University Area
5660 N Interstate Hwy 35
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 458-2340 

2.0 miles from Conference Location 


AT&T Hotel and Conference Center
1900 University Ave. 
Austin, TX 78705 
(512) 404-1900 

4.2 miles from Conference Location 


Hampton Inn & Suites Austin @ The University/Capitol 
1701 Lavaca St.
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 499-8881 

4.5 miles from Conference Location 

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, February 11, 2022 Standard RateAttendees
Utility Billing and Payments ConferenceUS $ 1495.00 US $ 1695.00

*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 package US $ 395.00

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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 17, 2021 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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CEUs

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 0.9  IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.9 CEUs for this event.

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


Upon successful completion of this event, program participants interested in receiving CPE credits will receive a certificate of completion.

Course CPE Credits: 11.0
There is no prerequisite for this Course.
Program field of study: Specialized Knowledge
Program Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Delivery Method: Group-Live
Advanced Preparation: None

CpeEUCI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit.

 

 

Who Should Attend

This conference was developed for those working or specializing in the following areas:

  • Retail mass market, commercial, and industrial customer billing
  • Wholesale billing
  • Electronic billing presentment and payment (EBPP)
  • Revenue management
  • Analytics
  • Customer service
  • Strategy and planning
  • Web services
  • Finance
  • Communications
  • E-business strategy
  • Business planning
  • Information systems
  • Community service and development
  • Pricing
  • AMI

Health & Safety Guidelines

As of July 21, 2021

EUCI considers the safety of all those onsite at event name as our top priority including our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and event staff. In these efforts to host a safe and productive event, we pledge to follow all guidelines and mandates set by State and local authorities as well as CDC guidelines.  Please note, these guidelines and mandates may change from time to time.

On-Site Safety Practices Include:

  • Acceptable face coverings required of all Attendees at the Event who are not fully vaccinated, or for all participants where required by venue. Participants are responsible for providing their own face coverings.
  • Daily self-health screenings for all attendees
  • Reminders to socially distance when appropriate, wash your hands often, cover your cough, or sneeze and stay home if you are sick
  • Modify gathering and seating areas to allow for appropriate physical distancing
  • Attendees will have the option to indicate their comfort level for personal interaction through the use of Green/Yellow/Red stickers displayed on their conference badge.  Unless otherwise indicated with a Green sticker by both attendees, handshakes and other physical contact should be avoided
  • Provide access to appropriate first aid personnel and share local resources for pharmacy, urgent care, and hospital

 Prior to arriving at the Event, we encourage each attendee to do the following:

  • Visit the Event Website for any updates to our Health & Safety Guidelines
  • Familiarize yourself with the Event’s Onsite Terms & Conditions. Acknowledgement and acceptance will be required to pick up your badge onsite.

Event Management has the right to remove or exclude anyone from the event if they do not follow our Health & Safety policies or do not follow Health & Safety instructions set forth by the Event or venue staff.

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