Utilities recognized with Chartwell’s 2020 Best Practices Awards

July 28, 2020

Duke Energy, PSEG Long Island, Con Edison, BGE and PECO have taken the top honors in Chartwell’s 17th annual Best Practices Awards.

The awards recognize excellence among electric and gas utilities with respect to projects, programs and service initiatives. The categories include Billing and Payment Programs, Communications, Contact Center, Program Marketing and Self-Service.

Gold Award winners will discuss their initiatives during EMACS – The Customer Experience Conference, which will be held virtually Oct. 6-8. The conference features more than 25 sessions focused on customer experience-related issues the utility industry is facing, including the aftermath of COVID-19, digital transformation, increasing eBill adoption, mobile payment strategies, and exploring new revenue sources.

Each year, the judges, who are all members of Chartwell’s research team, are charged with the difficult task of selecting the best programs. This year’s selection process was made even tougher by the dozens of quality entries that were submitted across five categories:

Billing and Payment Programs

  • Duke Energy will receive the Gold Billing and Payment Programs Award for the proactive payment arrangements it created when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in March. Since April, Duke Energy has sent more than 500,000 offers to eligible customers, and over 23,000 have enrolled in a payment arrangement.
  • Enbridge earned the Silver Billing and Payment Programs Award for its 2019 eBill campaign, which targeted resistant customer segments and converted more than 79,000 customers to electronic billing.
  • Kissimmee Utility Authority earned the Bronze Billing and Payment Programs Award for the digital experience it created in partnership with Paymentus, which led to an increase in eBill adoption and a decrease in calls.

Communications

  • PSEG Long Island earned the Gold Communications Award for “Powering Progress,” a  2019 brand perception campaign that contributed to increased scores in all six of the major J.D. Power indexes, as well as a move to the second quartile for overall CSAT.
  • PNM will receive the Silver Communications Award for its “Zero Emissions by 2040” campaign to drive customer understanding and support of the utility’s goal of becoming emissions-free. The campaign resulted in record corporate citizenship scores for PNM.
  • Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) earned the Bronze Communications Award for its “Stay Well” multimedia campaign, designed to assure customers they could depend on SMUD to maintain safe, reliable power during the COVID-19 crisis. Within the first month of the campaign, SMUD achieved 58% awareness among both residential and business customers.

Contact Center

  • Chartwell analysts named Con Edison as the Gold Contact Center Award winner for its immersive training program for customer service representatives, which resulted in an eight-week reduction in training time. Combined productivity gains contributed to $300,000 in annual savings for the utility’s Customer Experience Center.

Program Marketing

  • Chartwell analysts chose BGE as the Gold Program Marketing Award winner for its reinvigorated marketing strategy – implemented in collaboration with ICF – for the Small Business Energy Solutions Program, which resulted in soaring participation rates and energy savings.
  • The Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) will receive the Silver Program Marketing Award for the “Kits for Kids” program, launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to address its members’ new, home-centered way of life. Leveraging existing communication channels, SMECO received 1,900 kit requests in just 48 hours.
  • Evergy will receive the Bronze Program Marketing Award for its multichannel campaign to enroll customers in its new Time of Use Plan. Evergy met its enrollment goal just halfway through the campaign, with over 4,700 enrollments in six months.

Self-Service

  • PECO earned the Gold Self-Service Award for its “I Sign Up and Move” customer journey project, which resulted in an enhanced online start, stop and move process designed to increase usability and customer satisfaction. The effort resulted in a significant increase in online process completion rates and decreases in calls and back-office work related to start/stop/move requests.
  • Florida Public Utilities earned the Silver Self-Service Award for its online rebate portal, which serves as an interactive, step-by-step guide to the rebate application process and gives customers a fast and easy way to submit their rebate applications online. Since the portal’s launch, FPU has seen a two-week reduction in rebate-application processing times and a 30% increase in the number of submissions received.
  • Con Edison earned the Bronze Self-Service Award for its walk-in center digital self-service project, designed to provide critical digital access and support to underserved customers. Before the COVID-19 outbreak required the utility’s walk-in centers to temporarily close, Con Edison provided in-person education on how to complete service needs with the company digitally, enabling customers to take those learnings and use them from their home or phone in the future, significantly improving self-service while also enabling greater digital adoption.

“As usual, this year’s award entries across the five categories illustrate the intense focus the industry has placed on improving customer service, customer satisfaction and communications,” said Scott Johnson, Vice President of Chartwell. “Additionally, we got a peek at the incredible efforts utilities have been making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis really has illustrated the industry’s impressive level of entrepreneurship and passion for change.”

If you have any questions about the awards or the upcoming conference, please email Suzanne Haggerty, Senior Manager of Customer Engagement.

ABOUT CHARTWELL

Based in Atlanta, Chartwell, Inc. is a specialized information provider for the utility industry. We provide strategic research and facilitate issue-targeted forums for collaboration among industry peers. Our wide range of services ensures that our members have access to the best, most timely information available to make their business decisions. For more information, visit www.chartwellinc.com.