We’re well underway at #IUW17 and our second blog features a session led by Joe Thomas from Duke Energy discussing how the company utilizes data to create unique and satisfying customer experiences.

During his session, Joe examined how today’s operating realities— with demographic shifts, the proliferation of smart devices and continual access to data and innovative technologies— are evolving customer expectations. As such, companies are changing how they interact with consumers and provide access to services from banking to ordering coffee on mobile devices with real-time updates. Joe noted that customers are demanding the same type of responsiveness and interaction with their utilities. They want to know when usage and bills will be high, have access to conservation options, be notified of outages and restoration, and pay their bills easily.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology allows interaction with customers and benefits utilities by meeting customer expectations, which results in higher customer satisfaction. Ultimately, this makes it easier for utilities to respond to both the internal and external pressures such as protecting revenue, managing operational and maintenance costs, staying abreast of regulatory environment as well as remaining competitive.

Duke Energy recognized these benefits and created the Enhanced Customer Solutions (ECS) organization to design and develop offerings, enabled by data from smart meters, that provide customers more convenience, transparency and control. During the presentation, Joe walked us through three of Duke’s ECS programs that are available to customers with AMI meters: Pick Your Due Date, Prepaid Advantage and Usage Alerts programs.

  • Pick Your Due Date: Allows customers to select a billing due date that best aligns with their financial situation and/or pay days. Duke understands not everyone gets paid at the same time and often multiple bills may be due at once, leaving customers in a financial pinch. Pick Your Due Date provides customers with payment flexibility and since the program first became available in November 2016, nearly 8,000 customers have enrolled.
  • Prepaid Advantage: Eligible customers choose the amount, date and frequency at which they pay for their electricity. This provides customers with another flexible option to pay for their utilities and currently has more than 1,600 customers enrolled.
  • Usage Alerts: Provides customers automatic usage alerts via email halfway through their billing cycle. The alerts can help customers manage usage for both conservation and budgeting. Since the usage alerts rolled out this August, 643,486 customers have already enrolled. During the last couple months, Duke has sent more than 1,000,000 alerts and have received a 96 percent positive rating from customers.

Duke’s customers have positively received all three programs, which demonstrates the value smart meters and AMI deliver to customers. As non-utility companies continue to grow and innovate, simultaneously raising customer expectations, utilities will need continue to meet the demand with leading-edge technology to improve customer experience.

We’ll be back blogging tomorrow from our general session hearing from retired Colonel Mike Mullane of the U.S. Air Force and NASA as he discusses teamwork, leadership and safety.

In the meantime, keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for conference updates and content from our “Houston – We have a party!” networking reception.

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