North American Credit & Collections Conference for Utilities

North American Credit & Collections Conference for Utilities

October 19-20, 2021 | Online ::

“My first EUCI Collections Conference; not my last. Great participation, deep knowledge/insight, broad spectrum of topics, caliber of speakers excellent. Would recommend to others. Great way to learn, collaborate, share best practices, and network.” Supervisor/Collection, New Brunswick Power

“I was skeptical about the remote learning platform but in fact I found this to be more efficient and overall better than an in-person class!!! it was nice to be able to type questions out and have them answered at a good point in the discussion instead of derailing the presentation.” – Deputy Director, City of Naperville – Electric Utility

The utilities industry is experiencing a period of unprecedented change. Demand for customer centricity, the rise of consumers demanding electricity flows from and to the grid, technology advancements, digital disruption, the entry of new sets of players from within and outside the industry, and increasing regulatory mandates cause additional pressure. While many utilities have invested heavily in credit and collections activities, the current difficult background of regulatory restrictions does not make things easy for them. Utilities are now struggling to balance between recovering debts while ensuring customer experience does not take a massive hit.

Utilities who revisit their collections and credit process can position themselves better and ahead of any unprecedented changes, like the pandemic/COVID-19 crisis, and enable advantages for themselves, like customer experience enhancement. Under a strict regulatory and economic context, utilities are required to work smartly while managing and minimizing bad debt. This annual credit and collections conference has never been more important to learn from industry experts about how utilities have weathered this economic/business decline. By incorporating technology and dealing with regulatory changes, utilities can cut down on costs, protecting profitability, and reserving growth capacity.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss decisions made because of the pandemic
  • Examine methods to improve collection results by improving the customer experience
  • Explain how to go from combined billing to separate bills and how customers adjust
  • Discuss how to create data governance strategies to improve payments and collections
  • Explain how leveraging technology improves collections and customer service
  • Evaluate debt purchasing for utilities
  • Explore the use of platforms to segment customers and track payments thereby assisting collection efforts

 

Agenda

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome

12:00 – 12:45 p.m.
Lunch Break

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

 

9:00 – 9:15 a.m. Opening Remarks

9:15 – 9:30 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.

9:30 – 10:15 a.m. :: Using Technology to Support Customers in Need

On February 28th, 2020, everything changed in Washington State with the announcement of (what was thought to be) the first US death from COVID-19.  Fear spread quickly; businesses started sending employees home within a week and little did we know what was ahead.  Fast forward to present day and we are still in a pandemic but getting closer to recovery.

This presentation will focus on how Puget Sound Energy quickly adapted to the changes in our workforce and began using technology to make informed decisions and get help to our customers that were desperately in need.  We will explore the use of our Low-Income Energy Assistance Portal to distribute COVID relief funds, our Platform of Insights to segment customers and track payments thereby assisting collection efforts, and Customer Information System () changes required by our Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission COVID-19 Order. The presentation will touch on: digital transformation, deployment speed and dexterity, community, and the importance of partnerships during times of crisis.

Nicole Eagle, Manager, Credit and Collections, Puget Sound Energy

10:15 – 10:20 a.m. :: Break

10:20 – 11:05 a.m. :: Leveraging Supporting Technology for Effective Collections – The BC Hydro Experience

Technologies are providing utilities with tools to transform credit and collection practices.

BC Hydro’s credit and collections process has evolved by leveraging technologies, using data analytics, partnering with other stakeholders while keeping the focus on the customer experience.  This session will discuss how BC Hydro is using these new capabilities to develop policies and processes that are targeted to specific customer segments and risk profiles. While these actions are intended to decrease accounts receivables and bad debt, overall customer experience can be also improved by ensuring that policies, customer communications and utility actions are fair and appropriate to the circumstances.

Carey Quinn, Contact Centre Manager, BC Hydro

Jennifer Ho, Collections Manager, BC Hydro

11:05 – 11:15 a.m. :: Break

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Pioneering Collections Activities in Canada and the United States

In the utility industry, consumer expectations continue to evolve swiftly as available technology drives new trends and makes information more accessible. Consumers today are bringing new customer experience expectations from other more competitive environments. Hudson energy has a unique perspective as they operate in both the Canadian & U.S. markets. In this session, learn how the company has been able to manage through the different regulatory environments during the pandemic and hear about the cross-border impacts.

Siara Levine, Manager of Collections, Hudson Energy

12:00 – 12:45 p.m. :: Lunch Break

12:45 – 1:30 p.m. :: Creating Data Governance Strategies to Improve your Billing, Payments and Collections Process

States are coming out with new laws governing what our utility customers can request we do (or do not do) with their data. In this session, attendees will learn why having a strong Data Governance strategy in place can make adjusting to these new regulations easier, as well as ensuring your utility is working proactively instead of reactively.

Liz Thomson, Manager Customer Analytics & Quality Control, Dominion Energy

1:30 – 1:35 p.m. :: Break

1:35 – 2:20 p.m. :: Technology Initiatives to Improve Customer Engagement

Innovative solutions including mobile technologies and self-service portals have brought many changes in the utility industry. City Utilities has embarked on a series of technological advances to better serve its customers. This past year the company has worked to create a new customer portal/mobile app to assist customers with their account. Some of the functionality includes bill pay, detailed usage information (to assist customers with controlling their usage), notification preferences, etc. In this session, hear how these technological advances are making a difference operationally and in the customer experience.

Cindy Shipley, Manager-Customer Services, City Utilities of Springfield

2:20 – 2:30 p.m. :: Break

2:30 – 3:15 p.m. :: Billing and Payment Transformation at Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB)

Through design and technology initiatives, KUB has improved its billing and payment experience and enhanced customer engagement. In 2020, the company launched a new bill design and integrated with new bill print software. In addition, KUB began utilizing a new third-party electronic payment vendor. In this session, KUB will share its journey and lessons learned in transforming its billing and payment processes to leverage technology across its customer service front and internal operations.

Stephanie Tallent, Business Management Analyst, Customer Experience, Knoxville Utilities Board

3:15 – 3:20 p.m. :: Break

3:20 – 4:00 p.m. :: What We Wished We Knew! A Real-Life Tale of Bill System Conversion during a Pandemic within Collections

EPCOR went through a large system conversion during the pandemic to help modernize the company’s customer service operations. In this unique presentation, Holly Stratch will share with attendees the questions that she and her team wish they would have thought about prior to the conversion. This will be done by conducting interviews with multiple EPCOR staff members that were involved with the project (subject matter experts, project manager, team leaders and staff). This informative presentation isn’t just about collections but also includes things to watch for coming out of a conversion as well as things that may go wrong or right.

Holly Strach, Collections Manager, EPCOR

4:00 – 4:05 p.m. :: Break

4:05 – 5:00 p.m. :: Utility Panel Discussion

The panel will feature several experts talking about what is being done or considered to improve credit and collections practices especially during these unusual times. 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:

Doug Adams, Sr. VP Utilities, WNS North America

Panelists:

Joe Dimeo, Collections Manager, Enbridge

Nicole Eagle, Manager, Credit and Collections, Puget Sound Energy

Carey Quinn, Contact Centre Manager, BC Hydro

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

 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In

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

 

9:00 – 9:45 a.m. :: Debt Purchasing for Utilities

By having the right debt strategies in place, utilities can optimize their recovery efforts and manage cost build ups. In this session, Mark Daprato with Canaccede Financial Group will provide valuable insight on how your utility can boost the bottom line with customized solutions to maximize the value of your receivables.  

Mark Daprato, Chief Commercial Officer, Canaccede Financial Group

9:45 – 9:50 a.m. :: Break

9:50 – 11:50 a.m. :: Vendor Observations/Reflections

(Includes breaks between speakers)

Overview

In this session, industry experts will discuss what they see as the critical components and challenges for utilities during these difficult times based on the valuable information obtained through their customers’ feedback. The presenters will share what solutions and services they have been working on to assist utilities with their collections and payment efforts. If time allows, the session will conclude with an open question and answer panel discussion.

Virtual Agents: a Mobile Remote Workforce Application

A virtual contact center is a solution that supports contact center agents who are spread throughout various geographical locations. Using virtual agents makes efficient use of distributed and varied workforces by matching the appropriate agent with the customer according to why they reached out to your utility and which channel of communication they used. In this session, hear how alternative contact center labor technology such as mobile telephone applications can deliver value added services to your utility and reduce costs.

Peter Sorrentino, President, General Credit Services Inc.

Past-due in 2021: New expectations in customer care

Last year, we learned that customer needs can change in the blink of an eye, and companies need to change almost as fast. This session will explore our 2021 survey results on consumer’s repayment preferences in the utility industry, amongst others, in comparison to our 2020 research. We will use the results to demonstrate how you can re-evaluate your customer care and recovery strategies to empathize with your past-due customers.

Amir Tajkarimi, CEO, Lexop

Smart Collections for Utilities

In a tight economic and regulatory context, utilities need to work harder to prevent and manage bad debt if they want to improve their resilience. Experience shows that companies are better at weathering downturns if they have already cleaned up their credit processes and minimized overdue debt, because they are able to move fast to cut costs, protect profitability, and reserve growth capacity. In this session, learn how utilities can apply smart collections to continue to improve payments.

Doug Adams, Sr. VP Utilities, WNS North America

11:50 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.

Peter Sorrentino, President, General Credit Services Inc.

12:00 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns

Speakers

  • Doug Adams, Sr. VP Utilities, WNS North America

  • Mark Daprato, Chief Commercial Officer, Canaccede Financial Group

  • Joe Dimeo, Collections Manager, Enbridge

  • Nicole Eagle, Manager, Credit and Collections, Puget Sound Energy

  • Jennifer Ho, Collections Manager, BC Hydro

  • Siara Levine, Manager of Collections, Hudson Energy

  • Carey Quinn, Contact Centre Manager, BC Hydro

  • Cindy Shipley, Manager-Customer Services, City Utilities of Springfield

  • Peter Sorrentino, President, General Credit Services Inc.

  • Holly Strach, Collections Manager, EPCOR

  • Amir Tajkarimi, CEO, Lexop

  • Stephanie Tallent, Business Management Analyst, Customer Experience, Knoxville Utilities Board

  • Liz Thomson, Manager Customer Analytics & Quality Control, Dominion Energy

Online Delivery

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: After November 30 you will not be able to join a Teams meeting using Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
  • You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
  • Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
    • You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
  • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
  • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.

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

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

Event Standard RateAttendees
Single Connection - North American Credit & Collections Conference for UtilitiesUS $ 1195.00
Pack of 5 connectionsUS $ 4,780.00
Pack of 10 ConnectionsUS $ 8,365.00
Pack of 20 ConnectionsUS $ 14,340.00
Call us at 303.770.8800 if you have any specific questions on the volume discounts
* all other discounts do not apply to license packs

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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 September 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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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 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

Who Should Attend

Individuals working in the following areas will benefit from attending this event:

  • Credit and collections directors, manager, supervisors, and team leaders
  • Call center directors, managers, supervisors, and team leaders
  • Customer service directors, managers, and supervisors
  • Billing professionals
  • Payment professionals
  • Analysts

Sponsors

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