By - Jon Brown

2020 Credit and Collections Conference for Utilities
June 18-19, 2020 | Montreal, QC

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Overview

Remote attendance via video conference is now available!

Utilities face increasing pressure from stakeholders and communities to improve their financial performance and profitability by minimizing write-offs for uncollectible accounts. There are several best practices that utilities can employ to improve revenue assurance including maintaining good customer data and making themselves accessible. Some utilities are hesitant to change practices, fearing a corresponding drop in customer satisfaction, but the opposite is often the case with utilities that implement and strictly enforce collections policies end up having higher customer satisfaction.

How can the utility sector better identify vulnerable customers, work in partnership with them, strategically engage third parties and improve profits? This conference will bring together forward-thinking credit, collections, billing and customer services professionals within the utility sector from the U.S. and Canada to answer these questions and more. This essential event offers utilities the opportunity to gauge industry benchmarks with best practices, providing a platform to look beyond and develop innovative new ways to eliminate bad debt and increase revenues.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the art and science of a collection call
  • Discuss how to reach different types of customers (low income, bockchain, etc.)
  • Examine methods to improve collection results by improving the customer experience
  • Discuss programs that aid low-income/vulnerable citizens
  • Explain how leveraging technology improves collections and customer service
  • Evaluate using customer panels to improve the customer experience
  • Discuss how to navigate the OEB’s new customer service rules

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, June 18, 2020

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

8:30 – 8:45 a.m. :: Opening Remarks


8:45 – 9:00 a.m. :: Setting the Stage 

This session will set the context, themes, and participatory discussion tone for the conference. Conference chair, Peter Sorrentino will present current trends in the market as it relates to credit & collections in the utility industry. Attendees will be invited to provide input regarding key discussion interests to highlight throughout the conference sessions.

Peter Sorrentino, President, General Credit Services Inc.


9:00 – 9:45 a.m. :: Bringing 40 years of Utility Collections Knowledge to the Audience

Based on his experience with Newfoundland Power and Nova Scotia Power, Mel Osmond will pass along to the attendees the processes he has found to work (and not work) in a Utility collection environment. Mel will also provide lessons learned from the Dunning Matrix project his Team introduced at Nova Scotia Power last year.

Mel Osmond, Credit Manager, NS Power


9:45 – 10:30 a.m. :: Engaging Customers Through the Use of Technology

Customers continually look to us for improved communication methods through the feedback received via surveys, focus groups and key stakeholder sessions.  The FortisOntario group of company’s Customer Communication Program (“CCP”) has been developed to define and deliver a set of technology-based techniques to meet customer expectations.  The focus of this presentation will include a high-level overview of CCP objectives but also highlight the internal challenges faced when developing the plan.  Elements of labor resource management, process development and program governance all became challenging topics once technology requirements were set.

John Sander, Manager of Customer Engagement, FortisOntario

10:30 – 11:00 a.m. :: Networking Break


11:00 – 11:45 a.m. :: Hydro-Québec’s Ongoing Strategy to Improve Collections

This presentation will provide an overview of Hydro-Québec’s strategy to continuously improve collections. Areas of emphasis that will be covered during the presentation and that the company is focusing much of their attention on include the following customers:

  • Low income customers
  • High-end collections
  • Blockchain customers

Angelo Cristofanilli, Credit Risk Management Advisor, Hydro Québec


11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. :: Leveraging Technology to Assist with the Residential Winter Disconnect Moratorium

Since the implementation of the mandatory residential disconnect ban by the Ontario Energy Board in 2017, Hydro Ottawa has had to review our business processes to accommodate this new regulatory requirement. A decision was made to eliminate the hand delivery of our 48hr disconnection notices and leverage the technology of an auto-dialer instead. This change highlighted the importance of having valid contact information for our customers therefore we have implemented new processes to help manage this important requirement.

Reporting is a key factor in measuring our efforts. In addition to our auto dialer reports, Hydro Ottawa also developed a new query to monitor accounts that are affected by the disconnection ban. This query is helping us track our customer’s behaviors during the disconnection ban. Jeanne Parker, Acting Supervisor Collections will discuss Hydro Ottawa’s efforts and success rates since implementing these changes.

Jeanne Parker, Acting Supervisor Collections, Hydro Ottawa

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. :: Group Luncheon


1:30 – 2:15 p.m. :: Leveraging Customer Panels to Drive Customer Satisfaction and Experience

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) launched its Customer Panel initiative in 2016 as part of a broader customer experience strategy to collect and utilize the voice of the customer to develop, prioritize or launch projects.  While customer satisfaction research, tracking surveys and industry best practices helped to identify opportunities and define next steps, ultimately small group discussions with residential or business customers helped validate assumptions, uncover improvements and even put a few things on-hold for another time.

During this session, TEP will share how they implemented the program; mini-case studies on bill redesign, pre-pay energy, and a small business contact center; overall and project specific research findings that increased customer satisfaction; and how you could design and implement a cost-effective customer panel program at your company.

John Bord, Manager of Customer Operations, Tucson Electric Power (TEP)


2:15 – 3:00 p.m. :: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in the Utility Industry

The utility industry has begun to see its 2 percent annual growth turn into no growth and in some cases an actual decline. Cutting costs has become just as important as investment in this capital-intensive industry. Robotic Process Automation (RPA), while adopted widely in other industries, is becoming a key element in helping utilities reduce costs while improving business processes. Recent activity has seen utilities begin to use RPA in Customer Service, Finance, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivables, Supply Chain, Back-Office, and Field Operations. This presentation will cover the history and future of automation in the utility industry, who the players are in the RPA space, what other utilities are doing with RPA, and how to implement RPA successfully at your utility.

Jon Brock, President, Desert Sky Group, LLC

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. :: Networking Break


3:30 – 4:15 p.m. :: Make Better Credit Decisions

Information is a powerful thing. At TransUnion, we realize that. We are dedicated to finding innovative ways information can be used to help individuals make better and smarter decisions. We help uncover unique stories, trends and insights behind each data point. This allows a variety of markets and businesses to better manage risk and consumers to better manage their credit, personal information and identity. Today, TransUnion reaches consumers and businesses in more than 30 countries around the world on five continents. This presentation will provide an overview of TransUnion as well as valuable information about the credit industry, so attendees have a better understanding of how credit really works.

Kevin Pretty, National Account Executive, TransUnion


4:15 – 5:00 p.m. :: Mixed Panel Discussion

The panel will feature several experts talking about what is being done or considered to improve credit and collections practices. The objective of this session is to have an open Q&A discussion to conclude the first day of the conference on a high note so “bring your thinking caps”.

Moderator:

Peter Sorrentino, President, General Credit Services Inc.

Panelists:

John Bord, Manager of Customer Operations, Tucson Electric Power

Joe Dimeo, Collections Manager, Enbridge

Angelo Cristofanilli, Credit Risk Management Advisor, Hydro Québec

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


Friday, June 19, 2020

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


8:30 – 9:15 a.m. :: How Customer Service Impacts Collections

The theme of this presentation is to present the characteristics of customer service that impact the ability to collect arrears when dealing with a customer. The presenter will discuss when dealing with a customer on the phone or in person, how a friendly but firm approach and being empathetic will net the best results. Examples of what not to do and what to do from videos and personal experience will be shared. This will be an interactive session as attendees will be asked questions in order to obtain their involvement. There will also be a group exercise to stimulate discussion and ideas. Attendees will look at how best to deal with an upset customer that has received a collection call or notice.

Enzo Augimeri, Manager Customer Service, Oakville Hydro


9:15 – 10:00 a.m. :: Streamlining Customer Operations when Consolidating Operating Companies

Enbridge Gas and Union Gas are now one as the two companies combined to form Enbridge Gas Inc. It is always a challenge when two companies merge as streamlining operations and improving customer service at the same time doesn’t happen overnight. In this presentation, hear the best practices that Enbridge used to efficiently and smoothly make the transition as well as streamline customer operations.

Joe Dimeo, Collections Manager, Enbridge

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. :: Morning Break


10:15 – 11:00 a.m. :: Navigating the Ontario Energy Board’s New Customer Service Rules

The Ontario Energy Board has introduced new rules that significantly affect the way electrical utilities collect from their customers. Over the past year, Waterloo North Hydro has been preparing its team for the latest changes in the company’s collections practices. In this session, attendees will observe how one Ontario utility is adapting to these changes.

Some of the significant changes to our collection’s practices include:

  • Extension of the Disconnection Timelines
  • Changes in how to collect from Low-Income Customers
  • Adjustments in the Winter Ban
  • Introduction of the “Overdue Notice”

Aaron Melo, Customer Service Supervisor, Waterloo North Hydro


11:00 – 11:45 a.m. :: Achieving Savings and Efficiency through Collaborative Sourcing and Procurement

In today’s fast-paced business environments, the function of procurement must be prepared for change – to transition from an ‘old school’, transactions-based emphasis on savings alone to a more integrated approach to category and supply chain value management. In this session, learn how project management methodologies, supplier management programs, Customer Relationship Programs and Business Intelligence (BI) tools will continue to be foundational to procurement processes and ensure risk mitigation and compliance to trade agreements. As a trusted, not-for-profit collaborative sourcing partner, OECM works hard to provide its customers, value, efficiencies and savings and through collaborative sourcing and procurement.

Through this session participants will increase their awareness of:

  • Insights on the Finance portfolio, sector participation and trends
  • BI processes and tools OECM utilizes to gather/analyze data to streamline sourcing activities
  • Supplier Recognition Program to engage 200+ supplier partners in achieving key performance metrics, drive greater savings and customer satisfaction

Taylor Thornhill, Senior Supplier Relationship Manager, OECM


11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Conference Recap

Conference Chair Peter Sorrentino will provide a recap of the key points that were covered during the conference. This closing session will also allow conference attendees to ask questions about any presentation, issue or problem.

12:00 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns

Speakers

  • Enzo Augimeri, Manager Customer Service, Oakville Hydro

  • John Bord, Manager of Customer Operations, Tucson Electric Power

  • Jon Brock, President, Desert Sky Group, LLC

  • Angelo Cristofanilli, Credit Risk Management Advisor, Hydro Québec

  • Joe Dimeo, Collections Manager, Enbridge

  • Aaron Melo, Customer Service Supervisor, Waterloo North Hydro

  • Mel Osmond, Credit Manager, NS Power

  • Jeanne Parker, Acting Supervisor Collections, Hydro Ottawa

  • Kevin Pretty, National Account Executive, TransUnion

  • John Sander, Manager of Customer Engagement, FortisOntario

  • Peter Sorrentino, President, General Credit Services Inc.

  • Taylor Thornhill, Senior Supplier Relationship Manager, OECM

Location

Loews Hotel Vogue

1425 Rue de la Montagne

Montreal, QC H3G 1Z3

Reserve your room:

please call 1-514-285-5555

Please see nearby hotels below.

 

Nearby Hotels

Hotel Chez Swann
1444 Drummond St,
Montreal, Quebec H3G 1V9, Canada
+1 514-842-7070
230 meters away

Sofitel Montréal Le Carré Doré
1155 Sherbrooke St W,
Montreal, Quebec H3A 2N3,
Canada
+1 514-285-9000
500 meters away

Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel
1201 René-Lévesque Blvd W, Montreal, Quebec H3B 2L7,
Canada
+1 514-878-2000
700 meters away

Le St-Martin Hôtel Particulier Montréal
980 Boul. De Maisonneuve West,
Montreal, QC, H3A1M5,
Canada,
+1 514-843-3000
322 meters away

Hotel Le Germain Montréal
2050, rue Mansfield,
Montreal, QC, H3A 1Y9,
Canada,
+1 514-849-2050
482 meters away

Hotel Bonaventure Montréal
900 rue De La Gauchetiere West,
Montreal, QC, H5A1E4,
Canada,
+1 514-878-2332
482 meters away

Hotel Birks Montréal
1240 rue du Square Phillips,
Montreal, QC, H3B 3H4,
Canada,
+1 514-370-3000
804 meters away

 

 

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

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

EventEarly Bird Before
Friday, April 10, 2020
Standard RateAttendees
2020 Credit & Collections Conference for Utilities [POSTPONED]$ CAD 1495.00
(+ 14.975 % GST+QST tax )
$ CAD 1695.00
(+ 14.975 % GST+QST tax )

*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 $ CAD 495.00

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 March 20, 2020 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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