Lisa Dundon New Website Earning Rave Reviews for Citizens Energy Group

Guest Blogger: Sarah Holsapple, Media Relations/Spokesperson, Citizens Energy Group

After a year of hard work, AGA member utility Citizens Energy Group launched a new and improved website last month. The new site is receiving rave reviews from both customers and employees. While the website has the same URL as our previous site, CitizensEnergyGroup.com has a brand new look and feel. Before I explain the features of the new website, let me provide some background as to why Citizens developed it in the first place.

In early 2013, Citizens began an initiative we dubbed Voice of the Customer in which we proactively sought feedback on all our business practices, including our website. Through dozens of conversations, customers told us we needed to improve the design and navigation of our site. With customer service being a top priority at Citizens, we took their suggestions to heart.

Citizens Energy Group New Website Earning Rave Reviews for Citizens Energy GroupBesides the aesthetic differences to the website, we’ve added the following features to make the user experience more convenient:

  •  Fewer Clicks - Whether you’re looking for conservation tips or a link to pay your bill, our new website will get you there faster by offering just five category choices: My Account, My Home, My Business, Our Company and For Partners.
  • Personalized Dashboard – Our new customer dashboard provides links to customers’ current and previous bills. The dashboard also provides quick links to important topics including payment options, starting and stopping service and conservation tips.
  • Mobilization – In this day and age when many customers access our site on mobile devices, we’ve designed the site to be optimized for any screen size: smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
  • Convenient Communication – Over the next year, Citizens will add even more functionality allowing you to enroll in budget billing or to make flexible payment arrangements. We’ll also let you choose how you hear from us whether via text, email or by phone.

Citizens promoted the new website, designed in-house and built by Bitwise Solutions, Inc., through a press release, an email to customers and various forms of social media. Our customers have been pleased with the change and are commenting about how easy it is to pay bills on the new site and how quickly they can find information. When it comes to interacting with customers, Citizens’ website is one of our most powerful tools. Now that this tool is updated, easy to access on any device and user-friendly, we’re proving to customers that their voices are being heard.
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Has your utility’s website recently gone through a redesign? Let AGA know in the comments section below.

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Richard Meyer Natural Gas Market Indicators: Sept. 12, 2014

Total natural gas supply in the United States (domestic production less natural gas liquids extraction and other shrink, plus net imports from Canada and very minor imports of LNG) has been running at about 74-75 Bcf per day in September with total demand (consumption) in the high 50s to low 60s, according to Bentek Energy.

That means that double digit volumes of natural gas have been available for underground storage injections – and that trend has continued for the first half of September. Sustaining that trend could push underground working gas inventories to about 3.5 Tcf to start the winter heating season. With domestic production running 4 Bcf per day higher than this time last year, that adds up to a strong supply position entering the winter.

Visit this link to download the full Natural Gas Market Indicators report. Topics covered in this week’s report include: Reported Prices, Weather, Working Gas in Underground Storage, Natural Gas Production, Shale Gas, Rig Counts, Pipeline Imports and Exports, and LNG Markets.

Please direct questions and comments to Chris McGill at cmcgill@aga.org or Richard Meyer at rmeyer@aga.org.

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Allison Cunningham House and Senate Return from Recess

Today, the House and Senate return to Washington after a five week district work period, readying themselves for a busy month of September. With both houses currently expected to be in Session two to three more legislative weeks before they recess to hit the campaign trail, much of the legislative agenda will be driven by upcoming elections and world events.

With escalating threats from the terrorist group ISIL, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has made clear his desire to hear from the Administration on their plans for addressing ISIL as a possible national security threat. This could lead to Republican-led messaging bills in the House of Representatives calling for the President to make his strategy known to the American people.

Of course, it is an election year, and it is clear from the Majority Leader’s September Agenda, that the Republican-led House will also work on a series of bills aimed at ensuring electoral victory in the fall. The plan spells out a number of bills aimed at making the economy, jobs, healthcare, and gasoline prices the focus of the September legislative period. Fortunately for the natural gas industry, this leaves ample opportunity for meaningful energy legislation, including bills aimed at providing states with the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing, to expedite the export of liquefied natural gas to our allies, and to modernize the review process for new natural gas permit applications.

Aside from an anticipated adjournment date of September 23, the Senate forecast remains slightly less defined. While also working to protect vulnerable incumbents, the Democrat-controlled Senate is expected to work on bills increasing the minimum wage, regulate campaign spending, allow for student-loan refinancing, and reverse the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding employee contraceptive coverage. There is also a chance the Senate may move to reauthorize the Export-Import bank, or take up defense authorization, legislation to curb corporate inversions, or update satellite television broadcast rules.

Perhaps the most pressing business in both chambers is that of the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told House Republicans he plans to pass a simple CR in order to avoid threats of a government shutdown. With the current government funding bill set to expire on October 1, this would shift any major spending decisions until after Election Day. Senate Democrats are rumored to be preparing for a CR as well, which at present appears to be a clean re-authorization at current funding levels.

As with any government funding bill, things are often not as simple as they appear, with the possibility of additional funding being included in a CR. This may include measures to fund the Export-Import Bank as well as funding for the ongoing border crisis. Though there are rumors of a possible government shutdown, that scenario remains unlikely, as legislators in both chambers hope to finish up legislative business and return to their districts for one last campaign push before Election Day.

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Chris McGill Natural Gas Market Indicators: August 29, 2014

As we enter September, analysts will look for signs of supply disruption during what is normally the most impactful period of the Atlantic hurricane season. In addition, chatter may develop around the status of underground storage inventories. Current views are that said inventories may be 300 Bcf lower (about 3.5 Tcf in early November) compared to the recent past, when a volume of 3.8 Tcf seemed to provide a level of comfort for analysts. Thus a storage deficit. But is that really the right question to be asking.

Recent data shows, and many analysts believe, that domestic natural gas production will continue to grow with infrastructure constraints being overcome in critical areas of the Marcellus play. In fact, many believe that domestic production will grow to 70 Tcf per day by the start of the 2014-15 winter heating season. If that is so, then flowing gas will exceed that of the 2013-14 winter season by about 4 Bcf per day. Over a 150 day winter heating season that means another 600 Bcf of gas supply may be available to the national market that was not available one year ago.

Without another record-setting winter for much of the nation maybe the question should be, how is the market going to accommodate the supply surplus over the balance of the coming winter? The fact is it is never that arithmetic or simple. Demand side questions, such as what new natural gas demand, is now institutionalized are completely legitimate. That is what makes this analysis so fun. Time always gives us the answers to our questions, if we are listening.

Visit this link to download the full Natural Gas Market Indicators report. Topics covered in this week’s report include: Reported Prices, Weather, Working Gas in Underground Storage, Natural Gas Production, Shale Gas, Rig Counts, Pipeline Imports and Exports, and LNG Markets.

Please direct questions and comments to Chris McGill at cmcgill@aga.org or Richard Meyer at rmeyer@aga.org.

Posted in environment, Natural Gas, Natural Gas Market Indicators, weather | Leave a comment