By - Jon Brown

Credit & Collections 2016
June 22-23, 2016 | Indianapolis, IN

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At EUCI’s “14th Annual Credit and Collections for Utilities conference”, attendees will hear new strategies from utilities, industry experts, and researchers as they share ideas, potential solutions, as well as the challenges on the horizon in this critical effort to improve collections. This event will offer an educational atmosphere for utility credit and customer service professionals where they can learn new strategies to increase cash flow and reach a higher level of effectiveness in the handling of delinquent accounts.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate ways to optimize internal collection efforts to manage accounts receivable, minimize write-offs, and reduce allowance for doubtful accounts
  • Explain how having proactive collection and debt mitigation strategies in place will help keep write-offs low when migrating to a new CIS
  • Discuss different ways of pursuing debt recovery
  • Evaluate how payment arrangement changes are making positive impacts on customer debt levels
  • Review what utilities need to know and implement in order to be TCPA compliant
  • Discuss effective techniques for collections shared from other sources
  • Explain how effective door knocking techniques will increase revenues and improve safety
  • Discuss programs and processes that enable successful payment programs
  • Critique solutions that enhance the management, recovery and production of A/R portfolios


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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. :: Registration

1:00 – 1:15 p.m. :: Welcome and Overview

1:15 – 2:00 p.m. :: Improving the Customer Experience at AT&T

Paying bills and worrying about credit is emotionally draining for consumers and companies alike. Making assumptions about how to handle customers without having a sound program in place will not achieve the desired customer satisfaction results. In this session, attendees will learn how online bill pay and payment arrangements at AT&T have improved accounts receivables and helped improve the overall customer experience.

Usha Gupta, Director – Customer Insights and Standards, AT&T

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. :: Managing Payment Arrangements in a Municipality

In this session, Jolisa Bagley will provide a history of managing payments arrangements at Austin Energy prior to 2011 to present day and beyond. The following topics will be covered:

  • Brief history of payment arrangements (PAs) at Austin Energy prior to 2011
    • Previous ordinances and how the company kept outstanding debt lower
  • Impact of changing to a new billing system in the fall of 2011
    • Living in a world without collections integrated into the system
  • State of collections during that time
  • Result of outstanding debt growth
  • 2013 Ordinance and results on outstanding debt
    • Where the ordinance stemmed from
    • Results of ordinance on bad debt
  • 2015 Ordinance and how the changes are making positive impacts on customer debt levels
  • The future of PAs in COA
    • Including advocates response to current ordinance

Jolisa Bagley, Customer Account Manager-Collections & Remittance Processing, Austin Energy

2:45 – 3:15 p.m. :: Networking Break

3:15 – 4:00 p.m. :: Proactive Collection Management Prior to a New CIS Implementation

This presentation will focus on strategies that APS designed to help mitigate the risk of financial losses at the launch of a new CIS system.  The content will include discussions regarding:

  • Deposits
  • Payment arrangements
  • Credit monitoring and more

Paul Battaglia, Manager – Finance and Business Operations, Arizona Public Service

4:00 – 4:45 p.m. :: Utilizing New Customer Experience Tools and Techniques to Address Credit and Collections

Having a better understanding of credit and collections customers and intentionally designing their interactions with the utility will lead to lower operational costs, lower write offs, improved brand impression and a better employee and customer experience.  It all seems easy, but it requires re-thinking current business practices as well as applying tools and techniques that are not typically considered in the realm of credit and collections. In this session attendees will learn:

  • New customer-focused approaches to historical credit and collections processes
  • How to better communicate to reduce write-offs
  • Ways to improve corporate brand image
  • Tips to drive improved participation in programs
  • How Ameren, MO dramatically improved its credit and collections journey and saved the organization significant write offs

Maureen Russolo, Vice President – Strategic Sales, E Source

4:45 – 5:45 p.m. :: Networking Reception


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. :: TCPA Compliance – Why Should Your Utility Care? Vendor Panel Discussion

TCPA lawsuits are on the rise and utilities need to understand TCPA compliance and risks. In this session, a panel of industry vendors will discuss the necessary requirements and challenges for utilities as it pertains to being compliant. This interactive panel will respond to inquiries from the moderator and audience on understanding consent and additional factors that utilities need to consider.


Steve Kusic, CEO, National Recovery Agency


Chris Clark, Director of Risk and Compliance, Neustar, Inc.

Bob Myers, Sales Executive, TCN

Keith Denglinger, VP Sales & Marketing, Helvey & Associates, Inc.

9:30 – 10:15 a.m. :: Successful Credit and Collections Performance at Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC)

Maggie Duque will discuss OUC’s approach to improve credit and collections performance utilizing technology, people, strategies, as well as third-party solutions. In this session, several topics will be discussed including:

  • The effective use of big data to analyze and develop collection strategies, customer account management and predictive analytics
  • Managing technology, people and business partners
  • Utilizing digital meter data in applications and analytics for operations, billing, metering, sustainability, marketing and customer outreach

Maggie Duque, Vice President Customer Service, Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC)

10:15 – 10:45 a.m. :: Networking Break

10:45 – 11:30 a.m. :: Moving the Focus from Debt Recovery to Debt Avoidance

This session will discuss a different way of approaching debt recovery.  Utilities often think about debt recovery only once customer accounts are in a write off status.  However, as the majority of utility customers receive services from a utility before they are billed, every account is at risk of ending in write off status.  This session will detail how Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) is working to reduce the need for debt recovery on closed accounts by focusing on debt avoidance for current ones.  The presentation will include:

  • IREA challenges regarding collections and debt recovery
  • Several business process changes that focus on debt avoidance
  • Impacts to delinquent and write off accounts from those process changes
  • Additional changes implemented after data analysis
  • Future changes being considered

Mandi Lesher, Consumer Services Manager, Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA)

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. :: Best Collection Practices for C&I Customers

This segment will discuss the different collections practices in place at Georgia Power which allow for continuous improvements. The organization has improved its collections significantly year after year, while focusing greater attention on a variety of areas including:

  • Systems used for C&I and final bill collections
  • Surety management
  • Security
  • Strategies
  • Forecasting methodology

Jim Maynard, Credit Manager, Georgia Power

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

1:15 – 2:00 p.m. :: Voice of the Customer – Innovating the Customer Experience

One of Citizens Energy Group’s, primary objectives is to become a market leader in “ease of use” to achieve outstanding customer satisfaction. The company’s goal is to provide right-size services (centralize, out-source or in-source) to deliver maximum value to customers. In order to achieve outstanding customer satisfaction as it pertains to payment arrangements, budget information, etc., the utility has identified and concentrated on optimizing the following top five customer touch points:

  • Future dated payments
  • Credit card processing with no fee
  • Advertising/Conservation messaging tool
  • View bill issues
  • More detailed billing information online

Armon Curd, eCommerce Manager, Citizens Energy Group

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. :: Delinquency Root Cause Analysis to Improve Financial Performance

When it comes to improving financial performance at CenterPoint Energy, the main strategy is to identify root cause analysis, which improves financial performance and enhance account management. Topics to be covered in this session include:

  • Target root cause analysis and results
  • Utilization of pilot project to implement strategies
  • Realigning 2016 department focus
  • CenterPoint’s focus on the life-cycle of the customer
  • Segmentation strategies for customer accounts

Sarah Valle, Manager – Credit & Collections, CenterPoint Energy

2:45 – 3:15 p.m. :: Networking Break

3:15 – 4:00 p.m. :: The Successful Art of Door Knocking to Improve Revenues

For more than 20 years, the cable TV industry has been successfully and safely collecting past due payments with a visit to customers’ homes while they are still active customers.  These are utility customers as well.  Tens of millions of dollars are recovered yearly as a result of these face to face customer engagements. This segment will describe the process of how, once internal recovery efforts have been exhausted, a knock on the door before disconnect will:

  • Lead to approximately 30% or more payments recovered
  • Avoid unnecessary truck rolls for disconnect and reconnect
  • Reduce write-off amounts related to unreturned payments
  • Provide an opportunity to enroll the customer in auto bill pay or other programs creating efficiencies/reduced bills
  • Create a positive customer experience
  • Afford the tech the ability to complete the disconnect if unable to collect

Scott Dobson, Vice President – Operations, RCH

4:00 – 4:45 p.m. :: Utility Panel Discussion

This panel discussion will feature experts from several utilities discussing what is being done or considered to improve credit and collections practices. This interactive panel will respond to inquiries from the moderator and audience on how to help streamline the collections process. In addition, the panelists will consider the following topics:

  • Pre-pay measures
  • Outsourcing
  • Collection strategies for active customers
  • Remote disconnects


Maureen Russolo, Vice President – Strategic Sales E Source


Mandi Lesher, Consumer Services Manager, Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA)

Jim Maynard, Credit Manager, Georgia Power

Sue Bell, Business Process Analyst, We Energies

4:45 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns


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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

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

8:30 – 11:45 a.m.:: Workshop Timing


A utility’s low-income population is traditionally hard to engage with and drive adoption in programs that will assist and prevent them from falling into credit and collections. There are numerous best practices, programs and communication practices that a utility can leverage to more fully support this customer population.  Partnering with other entities can assist utilities with moving these customers towards increased self-sufficiency so they are no longer reliant on aid and assistance.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate how to increase the understanding of the low-income customer population.
  • Evaluate the nuances and challenges the low-income and hard to engage customer population face.
  • Discuss how progressive utilities assist and engage this customer base.
  • Critique why the focus should be moving from demand side management (DSM) to customer side management (CSM)
  • Explore innovative techniques to improve outreach and prevent these customers from falling into credit and collections processes.
  • Discuss the importance of data collection and partnering with other entities to assist the customer in becoming more self-sufficient.


  1. Introduction to the low-income and hard to engage customer.
  2. Examples of low-income self-sufficiency programs within the energy industry.
  3. Facilitated discussion with workshop participant’s focused on their experienced best practices and challenges working with this population
  4. The benefit of moving from demand side management (DSM) to customer side management (CSM) to best engage this customer base.
  5. Case studies highlighting the need for data collection, journey mapping and CSM outreach to best support and communicate with this population
Case Study: Outsourcing Collections and Litigation

In 2014, We Energies outsourced its collections and litigation business, turning over primary collections, management of secondary collections and litigation to a third party vendor.  This case study will consider the results two years later:

  • What was the impact on collections?
  • What does the utility know now?
  • What does the utility wish it had known then?


Karim Shihata, Vice President, ICF International

Karim Shihata is an officer at ICF and manages a staff of 350+ people providing customer contact center and office support. He brings decades of successful project implementation experience and includes serving as a program and project manager, chief executive officer, budget officer, and career Marine Colonel. Mr. Shihata led the development of ICF’s contact center and business operation programs, including implementing ICF’s UCCE Telephony infrastructure. He has a successful history of delivering services for major programs that assist low-income populations, including project management for Hurricane Katrina housing relief, USDA Broadband, and Storm Sandy recovery in Connecticut.

Jodi Jones, Director – Technical Services, ICF International

As IT Director of Technical Services, Jodi Jones manages telephony, networking, system solutions, reporting and survey and research teams to support numerous clients across multiple industries. She led the development of a low-income disaster relief website, CRM and document management system that is now our model for future low-income implementations for the energy industry.

Ms. Jones manages and supports all databases that support inbound and outbound call center operations and supervises and trains the systems solutions team to support projects and tasks. She developed quality control systems that reduced application processing time and improved the accuracy of the applications processed. Also, she has developed customer service data intake systems to provide agents with scripts, an easily accessed knowledge base and workflows to route data to the required end users while providing detailed reporting to the clients. Additionally, Ms. Jones coordinates report designs and requirements with project staff, IVR staff, subcontractors and clients, and actively manages end to end designs of reports to support all programs and projects.

Elizabeth Tick, Senior Manager, ICF International

Elizabeth Tick provides her project management expertise to complex and sensitive programs, including low-income program management, application intake and validation, and public relation and communication. She manages the full lifecycle of a project, including IT system development, script development for contact center agents and training of temporary and permanent staff. Ms. Tick has also coordinated community outreach, report development and dissemination, and manages the development and maintenance of program policies and procedures. She has a successful history of delivering services that assist low-income populations, including project management for Storm Sandy recovery in Connecticut and low-income programs for energy clients.

Maureen Russolo, Vice President – Strategic Sales E Source

Maureen Russolo has extensive experience in the energy industry, insurance industry, and consulting practices in the areas of Customer Contact Centre Management, Customer Experience Management, Complaints Management, Journey-mapping, Operational Optimization, Change Management, and Strategic Planning. Before joining E Source, she worked at Union Gas Limited, developing and implementing the utility’s Customer Experience department, as well as managing escalated complaints and also led their MyAccount Implementation;  at Green Shield Canada, she directed the organization’s national customer service operations for all lines of their business.  Ms. Russolo is a founding member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association, a Certified Customer Experience Professional, and a Certified Change Management Professional. She is a graduate from the University of Western Ontario as well as Fanshawe College and is currently completing a degree in organization development at Regis University.

Sue Bell, Business Process Analyst, We Energies

Suzanne Bell has nearly 30 years’ experience with both electric and gas utilities. In her current position in the Credit and Collections department at We Energies, she supports Operations in the development of tactical and strategic goals intended to maximize productivity and collections. Most recently, Ms. Bell has led several project teams in the creation of web services products intended to streamline the collection process. She was an integral part of the team that developed an in-house Pay Plan Wizard, a tool that has significantly reduced the amount of time it takes phone staff to present payment options. Ms. Bell is currently working with a vendor to develop an AMI meter strategy for the company.


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Jolisa Bagley, Customer Account Manager- Collections & Remittance Processing , Austin Energy

Paul Battaglia, Manager Credit, Revenue & Commercial, Arizona Public Service, APS

Sue Bell, Business Process Analyst, credit & Collections, We-Energies

Chris Clark, Director of Risk and Compliance, Neustar

Jeffrey Daigle, Senior Research Analyst- Customer Experience Practice, E Source

Keith Denlinger, VP Sales & Marketing, Helvey & Associates

Scott Dobson, Vice President, Operations, RCH

Erin Elmiger, VP, Business Development, RCH/Threshold

Eunice George, Collection Representative, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority

Usha K. Gupta, Director, Customer Insights and Standards, AT&T

Cynthia Henry, Director, Commercial Customer Service, Orlando Utilities Commission, OUC

Steven Kusic, CEO, National Recovery Agency

Mandi Lesher, Community Relations Officer, IREA

Jim Maynard, Credit Manager, Commercial/Industrial Customers, Southern Company

Robert Myers, Sales Executive, TCN

Sarah Valle, Manager, Credit & Collections, CenterPoint Energy


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Hyatt Regency Indianapolis
One South Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204

To reserve your room, please call 1-317-632-1234 or book online at
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.


The room rate is $149.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.


A room block has been reserved for the nights of June 20 – 21, 2016.


Make your reservations prior to May 30, 2016. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.


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Event Standard RateAttendees
Proceedings package US $ 395.00


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