Billing & Bill Payment

  • Oct 23, 2014 | Katia Lundy
    Retail residential electricity prices across the U.S. rose in the first half of this year, averaging 12.3 per kilowatt hour, a 3.2 percent price hike from the same period last year. This is the largest six-month rise since 2009, the U.S Energy Information Administration has reported.
  • It's probably a good idea for city of Las Cruces utility customers to double-check their recent bill. A software error in bills mailed recently by Las Cruces Utilities either over billed or under charged as many as 1,800 city utilities customers.
  • Sep 10, 2014 | Kim Gaddy

    The revenue assurance process is of vital importance to utility companies and should be viewed as more than a process full of tedium and toil. The effectiveness of the process substantially impacts the financial health and well-being of every utility. 

  • Sep 04, 2014 | Tom Hulsebosch
    Utilities face increasing pressure from stakeholders and communities to improve their financial performance and profitability by minimizing write-offs for uncollectible accounts. West Monroe Partners recently benchmarked clients to identify best practices used to improve utility collections performance. While collections performance is highly measurable, visible, and actionable, it is also influenced dramatically by local ordinances and challenges that are unique to each utility. Our benchmarking effort identified six best practices that utilities can employ to improve their collections performance. Some utilities are hesitant to change collections practices, fearing a corresponding drop in customer satisfaction. West Monroe's benchmarking found the opposite to be true -- generally, utilities that implement and strictly enforce collections policies have higher customer satisfaction.
  • Sep 02, 2014 | Kathleen Wolf Davis

    The City of Modesto is the county seat and largest city of Stanislaus County, California, and they cover the region’s water works. For this issue of the Utility2Utility series, we spoke with Debbie Sewell, customer services supervisor, about going mobile.

  • Aug 19, 2014 | Gary Brooks
    For decades, multi-facility organizations have struggled with the frustrating task of collecting data from their disparate utility providers. With all the talk about big data, going green, sustainability and reducing energy costs, you'd think it would be easier than ever for organizations to access the energy data they need to make smarter, more profitable and eco-friendly energy decisions.
  • Jan 15, 2014 | Devon Bass
    A group called Texas Ratepayers' Organization To Save Energy has issued a report critical of the prepaid electricity industry in Texas. Prepaid electricity is a relatively recent product made possible by the prevalence of smart meters today. The plans work much the same was as prepaid cell phone plans, in that customers put money into an account upfront to pay for their electricity usage. As they use electricity their accounts are reduced by the cost of the electricity.
  • Nov 22, 2013 | Douglas Picadio
    In today's environment, everyone is being tasked with doing more with less. A company's decision to add resources, re-allocate resources or cut resources all become reactions to the same basic mandate, streamlining for efficiencies. Such mandates lead to the big question, what functional areas within a company lend themselves to process streamlining?
  • Sep 30, 2013 | Kathleen Wolf Davis

    When we talk about billing issues, we usually discuss all the new and shiny high-tech ways customers can pay their utility—from online widgets to mobile phone apps. But there is still a large portion of the population that loves low tech and wants to walk in cash. As mobile apps become more prevalent, however, face-to-face locations to pay utility bills have begun to close more rapidly. So, what’s a utility to do to make those cash-carrying customers happy?

  • Aug 14, 2013 | Scott Shugarts
    After four straight years of electric bills increasing, experts at the US Energy Information Administration are predicting that the average American consumer will be paying a little less for electricity this summer. While the cost of electricity generation continues to steadily rise, lower predicted temperatures should lead less people to crank up the air conditioning in their houses.
  • Jun 12, 2013 | Kathleen Wolf Davis

    From the customer perspective, have utilities evolved? Do they offer what a customer wants? Are they making in-roads into the crowded consumer mindset or simply adding to the consumption “noise” that customers wade through every single day?

  • Jun 09, 2013 | Kathleen Wolf Davis

    AMERIgreen Energy is a wholesale/retail energy marketer, a new breed that sits between generator and customer. This Lancaster, PA-based wholesale energy provider supplies petroleum and biofuels products and services as well as propane, motor oils, risk management and marketing solutions. Here’s where they come into the fringe of the electric utility market: In addition to that list above, they also offer direct-to-consumer electricity and natural gas.  We spoke to Seth Obetz, co-founder of AMERIgreen about his unique position in the utility industry and how he markets to retail customers outside of the traditional vertical utility concept.

  • May 17, 2013 | Eric Leiserson
    Going green has become a topic of ongoing importance, with consumers increasingly seeking out businesses that employ environmentally responsible practices. Many environmental initiatives, including the delivery of renewable energy and the reduction of carbon emissions, are high-level long-term goals, however, utility companies should not overlook another green technology that resonates with consumers: electronic bill payment.
  • Apr 17, 2013 | Kathleen Wolf Davis

    How often and how thoroughly do you think about your customers? Do you lump them into sums and then slice them into segments? Do you wonder about how they reach you and if they are reaching out to you—and you are reaching out to them—in the most efficient and effective way possible?

  • Mar 18, 2013 | Douglas Picadio
    Utility companies are under increased pressure to build new infrastructure that will drive better performance and returns for decades. Recent natural disasters have brought this issue to the forefront but it requires capital. According to Booz & Company, "Capital expenditure requirements across the U.S. utility industry are expected to exceed US$100 billion annually through 2020. This represents an increase of 100 percent over the annual costs of the early 2000s, according to Edison Electric Institute."
  • Feb 26, 2013 | Kathleen Wolf Davis

     

    Everyone’s on Twitter these days, including power utilities. In January, we ran a very popular feature on the best utility tweets of 2012. It was so popular, we’ve decided to do what any media outlet would do when faced with popularity: We’re making sequels. This month’s most fabulous utility tweets include details on community work, holiday references and the final words of a retiring industry leader.

  • Jan 23, 2013 | Kathleen Wolf Davis

    As utilities embrace social media, here are 12 shiny tweet gems that are direct, informative, amusing or all three (and all in that short, slight number of Twitter characters). Some show the power of Twitter to communicate with customers. Some illustrate cross-marketing concepts, and some are just plain funny.

  • Jan 22, 2013 | Kathleen Wolf Davis

     

    U.S. utilities are not as backwards as I am. Many have embraced social media to communicate with customers more regularly and interactively. And, they’ve managed to truly open dialogues, in many cases. Here are some of Intelligent Utility’s favorite tweets from U.S. power companies in 2012 (and the DOE), ranging from executive interactions to outage updates to the truly odd and awesome.

  • According to the latest E Source benchmark study, the top-rated U.S. and Canadian electric and gas utility business websites belong to Xcel Energy, CPS Energy, and LG&E and KU.
  • Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) [NYSE: SAI] was awarded a 10 year contract by United Power for a 10,000 meter pilot project of advanced metering infrastructure solutions and implementation of SAIC's Smart Grid as a Service (SGS) offering.