Jim Linn Recap: 2009 AGA/EEI Customer Service Conference – Serving At-Risk Customers

I just got back from the AGA/EEI Customer Service Conference and Exposition and it was a great success. The clear emphasis of this year’s conference  was meeting the needs of at-risk customers.  From the opening chairman’s remarks to the closing session, the theme was consistent.

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Commissioner Katrina McMurrian, Florida Public Service Commission, at the podium during the Economic Crisis and its Impact on Customer Service panel. Also included in the panel were: John Caldwell, director, Economics EEI; Thomas Graham, president, Pepco Region; J.R. Kelly, Office of Public Counsel, Florida and member of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates; and Tracey Parker, director, Government Relations, EEI.

AGA Chairman, Thomas E. Skains, shared the CEO perspective on the importance of good customer service and clearly articulated the need for a customer service mindset – especially in economically challenging times like the one we face today.

John Caldwell, an EEI economist, provided his perspective on how our economy reached the point it is at today and shared some thoughts on how long our present situation may last.

Throughout the conference, from breakout sessions to general sessions to informal networking, the buzz was on how to engage customers who are newly in danger of being unable to pay their utility bills. The final session profiled We Energies, Integrys and Kansas City Power and Light and their efforts to work with customers in order to keep their energy needs met while providing a means for the customer to cover their financial obligations through payment programs, grants, fuel funds and other creative programs.

The proceedings from the conference are available to attendees (you’ll need your login information) at www.eei.org/meetings-cs. Leave a comment below if you’d like to learn more about the event, or were actually there and want to share your thoughts on the experience.

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