Utility Billing and Payments Conference

Utility Billing and Payments Conference

May 17-18, 2022 | Online :: Central Time

“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 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

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In

12:15 – 1:00 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 – 1:00 p.m. :: Lunch Break

1:00 – 1:45 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)

1:45 – 2:30 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

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

2:45 – 3:30 p.m. :: 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

3:30 – 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

Bill DeSimone, Products & Innovation, Mastercard

Nicole Haskins, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Paymentus

Darren Brady, Chief Customer Officer, Smart Energy Water

4:30 p.m. :: Day One Adjourns

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In

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

 

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. :: How open banking is taking uncertainty and friction out of monthly utility payments

Today, consumers and businesses have shifted from paper checks to direct payments from their bank accounts as they seek more convenience and time savings when managing their finances. Friction in the billing space is an omnipresent challenge given sub-optimal onboarding experiences and latency with ACH payments.  Now utility companies can better de-risk ACH payments and avoid ACH returns through advanced analytics and open banking.  Learn how open banking technology is fundamentally improving the payment experience and solving real-world challenges, offering more ways to collect your utility payments with greater speed, convenience and peace of mind.

Silvana Hernandez, SVP, Product Management, NAM Digital Payments

9:30 – 10:15 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

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:30 – 11:05 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 stability. Some of these approaches include:

  • How utilities must expand digital access to payment and billing/consumption information with proactive communication to increase collections and reduce billing costs.
  • How targeted communication strategies informed by data analytics can help utilities influence customers to engage in their use and better manage their bills .
  • How utilities should consider solutions that offer greater education to end-customers on both their usage and billing in one place.  

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

Michelle Camp, Senior Director, VertexOne

11:05 – 11:45 a.m. :: Improving the Billing and Payments Experience for Utilities with Technology

Most customers only think of their utility when they submit a payment, and that means billing and payment interactions can quite literally define the utility customer experience. So how do you optimize the billing and payment experience to ensure it meets your customers’ expectations? Incorporating a digital platform is one way helping utilities to build operational excellence and deliver a superior customer experience. In this presentation we will discuss the means to engage and empower customers with the right technology tools and intelligence.  Happier customers mean less burden on your call center, better brand sentiment, and improved relations with the people in your territory.

Ally Gearin, Customer Quality Specialist, Alliant Energy

Darren Brady, Chief Customer Officer, Smart Energy Water

11:45 a.m. :: Conference Concludes

Speakers

  • Darren Brady, Chief Customer Officer, Smart Energy Water

  • Jon Brock, Account Director, Utilities Practice, ISG

  • Michelle Camp, Senior Director, VertexOne

  • Jeffrey Daigle, Director, CX, E Source

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

  • Bill DeSimone, Products & Innovation, Mastercard

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

  • Ally Gearin, Customer Quality Specialist, Alliant Energy

  • Nicole Haskins, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Paymentus

  • Silvana Hernandez, SVP, Product Management, NAM Digital Payments

  • 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)

  • 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

Register

Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event

REGISTER NOW FOR THIS EVENT:

Utility Billing and Payments Conference

May 17-18, 2022 | Online
Individual attendee(s) - $ 1195.00 each

Volume pricing also available

Individual attendee tickets can be mixed with ticket packs for complete flexibility

Pack of 5 attendees - $ 4,780.00 (20% discount)
Pack of 10 attendees - $ 8,365.00 (30% discount)
Pack of 20 attendees - $ 14,340.00 (40% discount)

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 April 15, 2022 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

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: Basic
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. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its web site: www.nasbaregistry.org

 

 

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

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