By - Jon Brown

2019 Credit and Collections Conference for Utilities
April 4-5, 2019 | Ottawa, ON

Download PDF
 

Overview

Utilities face increasing pressure from stakeholders and communities to improve their financial performance and profitability by minimizing write-offs for uncollectible accounts. Improving collections performance has a significant bottom line impact for utilities as even one-half a percentage reduction in bad debt write-offs generates significant financial return and it improves utility reputations in the communities they serve.

As utilities seek to improve customer service and satisfaction, it makes sense to look at all customer touch points, especially collections processes.  For many utilities, a holistic view of the customer experience they provide leads to better customer satisfaction, increased standing among their peers, and improved financial results.

Join us at EUCI’s 11th Annual Credit and Collections for Utilities: Canada conference, where utility and industry experts will speak on potential solutions as well as challenges on the horizon in this critical effort to improve collections. Conference attendees will take away knowledge necessary to implement effective solutions within the area of credit and collections for their companies and have many opportunities for quality networking with industry peers.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the art and science of a collection call
  • Discuss how to reach different types of customers (seniors, millennials, etc.)
  • Examine methods to improve collection results by improving the customer experience
  • Discuss programs that aid low-income/vulnerable citizens
  • Discuss what to consider when modifying or designing your billing stream processes
  • Discuss the legalities of collections for utilities
  • Examine how to understand the factors that influence customers decision-making
  • Discuss the Protection of Vulnerable Energy Customers Act introduced by the government

Credits

AP_Logo

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 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

This program will include case studies, panel discussions and PowerPoint presentations

Agenda

Thursday, April 4, 2018

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

8:30 – 8:40 a.m. :: Opening Remarks


8:40 – 9:00 a.m. :: Welcome Address from Hydro Ottawa

Hydro Ottawa the proud host utility for this conference, is wholly-owned by the City of Ottawa. The company’s core businesses are electricity distribution, renewable energy generation and energy conservation and management services. Julie Lupinacci will welcome her power industry colleagues to Ottawa and review how the focus of this conference supports this critical effort to improve collections.

Julie Lupinacci, Chief Customer Officer, Hydro Ottawa


9:00 – 9:45 a.m. :: Keynote address: “The Reluctant Collector”

“Lucky You!” Two words that Kevin Hobbs, recently fired from his job and reassigned to receivables, did not expect to hear. He was soon to hear much more, including ‘when someone hands you a lemon, you can quit, make lemonade or…make the best lemonade – ever!

From his latest book, “The Reluctant Collector”, Tim Paulsen shares why Kevin is ‘lucky’ and a few of the lessons learned from the owner of the lemonade stand including:

  • The content of your letter or email does not matter
  • Beware of accountants
  • Don’t negotiate
  • Switch from the Tangle to the Tango
  • The art and science of a collection call

Tim Paulsen, Founder and Managing Director, International Centre for Professional Collections (ICPC)


9:45 – 10:30 a.m. :: Customer Experience and Revenue Assurance

In this presentation, ENMAX will provide an update on how they continue to improve collections and cover the following topics:

  • Operating in a retail and regulated environment, where revenue assurance and customer experience are both top of mind
  • Where we came from with respect to customer experience to where we are today
  • How customer feedback has shaped our conversations, processes and overall effectiveness in collections
  • Our (near) future state, where technology and process enhancements will deliver an improved customer experience with benefits to operational efficiency and bad debt

Rob Mulligan, Manager, Mid-Markets & Revenue Assurance, ENMAX Customer Care

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. :: Networking Break


10:45 – 11:30 a.m. :: Best Collections Practices at Peterborough Utilities

Peterborough utilities has a customer base of approximately 36,000 customers. As a result of being a smaller utility, we are more apt to see our customers out in the community than larger utilities. In this session, attendees will learn how we do collections a little differently and the following topics will be addressed:

  • Lower arrears
  • What are utilities doing regarding moratoriums
  • Reaching different customers (seniors, millennials, etc.)
  • Scripting for call centers

Terri Keough, Supervisor Customer Service, Peterborough Utilities Services Inc.


11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. :: Neighbours Helping Neighbours – Manitoba Hydro’s Crisis Intervention Fund

Since 2004, Manitoba Hydro has partnered with the Salvation Army to provide Manitoba’s most vulnerable citizens assistance when faced with a crisis. Customers are provided with emergency funding (up to $400) in addition to flexible payment options as required to assist with energy bills to help avoid disconnection of services.  Customers are also provided with referrals to community support services providing counseling and job training. The cost of operating the Neighbours Helping Neighbours Program is primarily funded by Manitoba Hydro, with additional funding provided through customer contributions of neighbours helping neighbours. This presentation will discuss how joining forces with the Salvation Army has helped Manitoba’s most vulnerable population for many years.

Colleen Galbraith, Credit & Recovery Services Manager, Manitoba Hydro

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. :: Group Luncheon


1:15 – 2:00 p.m. :: Utility Collection Legalities

Ensuring customers pay for the services they receive is a crucial aspect for all utilities. In this presentation, Senior Counsel from Hydro Ottawa will talk about the litigation process and collecting on the judgment. The comparison between collections in a regulated environment (i.e. electricity account) and an unregulated environment (i.e. damages to a plant) will be shared.  This presentation will provide with a better understanding of the legalities associated with collections.

Shaun Logue, General Counsel, Hydro Ottawa


2:00 – 2:45 p.m. :: The 5 W’s of Controls in the Billing Process

In a world of increasing automation, regulation, data volumes, customer service expectations, and management expectations, controls are inherent in all our work activities. This presentation will cover from both a theoretical and practical perspective, the why, who, what, when, and where of controls. You will gain a better appreciation of: what to consider when modifying or designing your billing stream processes; how internal auditors can help; why a preventative control is superior to a detective control; and what the benefits of controls are. The presenter will provide real world examples based on his 25 years of power industry experience, covering multiple functions, areas, and perspectives.

Darcy Mazurkewich, Supervisor Site Management, Fortis Alberta

2:45 – 3:00 p.m. :: Networking Break


3:00 – 3:30 p.m. :: The Digitization of Collections

Understanding your customer and their channel preferences and providing them with an ability to engage in a frictionless, personalized manner increases the likelihood of payment and reducing your costs. Digitization is a monumental change that is even greater than the internet. Exponential technology advances, greater consumer power and increased competition mean all industries face the threat of commoditization. The utilities that act now by building a strategic advantage will leave their counterparts wondering what happened. In this session, Simon Howard will share the types of solutions now available to Canadian utility providers and show how they can be deployed simply with minimum investment using an agile method and what an immediate impact on your collection’s process will look like. 

Simon Howard, Business Development Director, TALKINGTECH 


3:30 – 4:15 p.m. :: Understanding Taxpayer Behaviour

Organizations are constantly striving to better meet their clients’ needs and expectations. However, these efforts can be complicated by the fact that what people say and what they do may be quite different. How then can we hope to understand the factors that influence our clients’ decision-making? The Canada Revenue Agency’s Innovation Lab is tackling this question by adapting principles from economics, psychology, and even anthropology to better understand taxpayer behaviour. This presentation will discuss how the Lab has incorporated these insights into its communications products, from the wording used in letters all the way up to big picture themes.

Aaron Rosenberg, Principal Policy Analyst, Canada Revenue Agency


4:15 – 5:15 p.m. :: Panel Discussion: Utilities and Collection Agencies

In this panel discussion, panelists will respond to audience inquiries on how collections can continue to improve while providing exceptional customer service. Collections experts will weigh in on the impact from changes to collection legislation across Canada. Ask as many questions as possible of our panel of experts to learn what could work best for your utility.

Moderator: Peter Sorrentino, President, General Credit Services Inc. 

Shaun Logue , General Counsel, Hydro Ottawa 

Colleen Galbraith, Credit & Recovery Services Manager, Manitoba Hydro 

Shirley Siega, Collections and Payments Performance Manager, BC Hydro 

John Kim, EVP/Principal, SinglePoint Group International 

Simon Howard, Business Development Director, TALKINGTECH 

5:15 – 6:15 p.m. :: Networking Reception


Friday, April 5, 2019

7:45 – 8:15 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast


8:15 – 9:00 a.m. :: New Mandatory Requirements for Disconnects and Reconnections

In late 2017, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) released a decision order following the passage of the Protection of Vulnerable Energy Customers Act introduced by the government earlier in the year. This order from the OEB bans electricity distributors from disconnecting or threatening to disconnect homes for non-payment from November 15 to April 30 every year and requires that homes currently disconnected due to non-payment be reconnected without charge. In this session, learn what Hydro One has done to deal with a shorter disconnection period, tactics to keep account receivables and bad debt in check during and after the Winter Moratorium, help reconnected customers get back on track and how customer satisfaction increased as a result of this change in approach.

Cesar Martinez, Customer Care Manager, Hydro One


9:00 – 9:45 a.m. :: Roll Rates – A New Metric for EPCOR

One of the primary initiatives that EPCOR is focused on to improve in house collections are Roll Rates (movement in age of arrears from one aging bucket to another monthly). This includes some technology changes along with how the company is reallocating resources to be most effective. In this session, the presenters will share their perspective and include the following topics:

  • Review definition of Roll Rates
  • Why did we look at this?
  • Starting point
  • What actions we took in 2018
  • Where we are now
  • What’s next

Holly Strach, Collections Manager, EPCOR Utilities

Adrian Szeligowski, Analyst, EPCOR Utilities

9:45 – 10:00 a.m. :: Morning Break


10:00 – 10:45 a.m. :: Customer Service Realignment at Toronto Water

Toronto Water is undergoing a Customer Service realignment, which includes a 24 / 7 Customer Care Center. This Customer Care unit will be the central point from which all customer contacts are managed and will also manage the Customer Care Centre. The team is responsible for working directly with the customer and field staff when responding to a service request.  This presentation will cover some of the areas that this new customer and operations unit will support including:

  • Billing issues
  • Utilizing digital information for customers
  • Toronto Water Program Services
  • Reduced truck rolls

Carlo Casale, Manager, Customer Care Services, Toronto Water


10:45 – 11:30 a.m. :: The Customer Crisis Fund at BC Hydro

This presentation will provide an update on the Customer Crisis Fund that BC Hydro launched in May 2018. The Customer Crisis Fund is a program that offers support for residential customers who are experiencing a temporary financial crisis, such as a loss of employment, unanticipated medical expenses, or a death in the family, and are facing disconnection of their BC Hydro service, despite attempting to make payments. BC Hydro has made collections part of the Contact Centre Team, which allows the company to flex the workforce between Collections and Contact Centre to offer some seasonal benefits. An update on post-repatriation collections will also be included in this presentation.

Shirley Siega, Collections and Payments Performance Manager, BC Hydro


11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. :: Load Bus and Leave for Chaudière Falls Tour

Join us for this interesting tour of Chaudière Falls Hydroelectric Facilities and experience the breathtaking views of the Ottawa River, while learning about clean energy and the storied history of this historically significant site. The Ottawa River and Chaudière Falls played a significant role in how Canada was formed. The events most central to the history and formation of Canada occurred along, and because of, the Ottawa River. Learn how Hydro Ottawa continues its hard work to be a leader in clean, green, sustainable power generation.

12:45 p.m. :: Return to Hotel and Conference Adjourns

Speakers

Carlo Casale, Manager, Customer Care Services, Toronto Water

Colleen Galbraith, Credit & Recovery Services Manager, Manitoba Hydro

Terri Keough, Supervisor Customer Service, Peterborough Utilities Services Inc.

John Kim, EVP/Principal, SinglePoint Group International

Julie Lupinacci, Chief Customer Officer, Hydro Ottawa

Cesar Martinez, Customer Care Manager, Hydro One

Darcy Mazurkewich, Supervisor Site Management, Fortis Alberta

Rob Mulligan, Manager, Mid-Markets & Revenue Assurance, ENMAX Customer Care

Tim Paulsen, Founder and Managing Director, International Centre for Professional Collections (ICPC)

Aaron Rosenberg, Principal Policy Analyst, Canada Revenue Agency

Patricia Rowe, Senior Counsel, Hydro Ottawa

Shirley Siega, Collections and Payments Performance Manager, BC Hydro

Peter Sorrentino, President, General Credit Services Inc.

Holly Strach, Collections Manager, EPCOR Utilities

Adrian Szeligowski, Analyst, EPCOR Utilities

Location

Hilton Garden Inn Ottawa Downtown

361 Queen St

Ottawa, ON K1R 0C7

Reserve your room:

please call 1-613-234-6363

Room Block Reserved For:

Nights of April 3 – 4, 2019

Room rate through EUCI:

$CAD 199.00 single or double plus applicable taxes
Make your reservations prior to March 3, 2019.

Venue Information

Register

Utility employees qualify for a reduced rate

Event Standard RateAttendees
Proceedings package $ CAD 495.00
Host Utility
Sponsors
Supporting Organization

By clicking Accept or closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them. more information

By clicking Accept or closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. We use cookies during the registration process and to remember member settings.

Close