Utilities Best Practices

Proven Utilities Leading Practices to Adopt

  • Best Practices (#236) / Utilities / Energy Retailing

    Best Practice (Good)
    Provide all clients (retail and commercial) with detailed data (in a dashboard-style system accessed through the web) related to energy usage and efficiency, at no additional cost, to be used in their own personal or commercial cost reduction initiatives.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Charge high-value commercial and industrial clients an extra fee to use proprietary software dashboards and data export tools to collect and analyze information on energy use and efficiency. These tools are typically not available to retail customers.
    Benefits: Improves customer satisfaction and fulfills mandates from regulators and environmental agencies related to energy efficiency and consumer education.
  • Best Practices (#237) / Utilities / Energy Retailing

    Best Practice (Good)
    Make sure that utilities employ premises-based billing as they are the most effective in minimizing non-payment. Premises-based billing holds the property owner accountable, regardless of who currently occupies the property.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Bill tenants individually, requiring support staff to monitor bill collection and turn off service in the event a tenant does not pay.
    Benefits: Premised-based billing can minimize the administrative cost of establishing new service or move ins/move outs for tenants, and enhances probability of timely bill payments, as property owner data is more easily obtained and tracked than tenant data.
  • Best Practices (#238) / Utilities / Production & Generation

    Best Practice (Good)
    Assign a plant-wide energy efficiency coordinator to continuously monitor facility-wide energy use and develop energy efficiency maintenance programs and initiatives.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Task plant management and directors with monitoring and controlling the energy used within the production/generation facility.
    Benefits: Drastically reduces cost related to energy usage within production and generation facilities and creates an internal engine to continually maintain energy efficiency.
  • Best Practices (#239) / Utilities / Renewable Energy

    Best Practice (Good)
    Develop specific goals, with incentives, related to how much power moving through the gird must be sourced from sustainable energy sources.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Develop a system of minimum adherence to sustainable energy production volumes based on government and regulator mandates.
    Benefits: Keeps the company out in front of government energy sourcing mandates and creates additional incentives to increase the use of sustainable energy sources.
  • Best Practices (#240) / Utilities / Renewable Energy

    Best Practice (Good)
    Provide free audits to both types of businesses, focusing on the most energy - and waste - intensive enterprise accounts first. Create different renewable energy discounting scales for small businesses and larger ones.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Implement an efficiency rebate program and charge for audits of businesses -- both large and small -- to see if they are eligible for discounted rates when converting some minimum percentage of their overall energy use to be sourced from a renewable energy plant.
    Benefits: Targets the most egregious energy-waste offenders so immediate results can be seen for both the distribution of energy on the part of the utilities company, and financial savings for the companies enrolled in the program, encouraging others businesses to join.
  • Best Practices (#241) / Utilities / Transmission & Delivery

    Best Practice (Good)
    Develop a formal system, and related dedicated job positions, to monitoring substation, power line and transformer energy efficiency in real-time and proactively implement new technology in those areas to improve energy losses during transmission.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Ensure that design and electrical engineering staff audit substations, power lines and transformers on a yearly basis, carefully weighing the cost of new technology with the cost of energy losses during transmission.
    Benefits: Reduces expense related to energy losses during transmission and improves overall network health by implementing new, more efficient technology downstream.
  • Best Practices (#243) / Utilities / Transmission & Delivery

    Best Practice (Good)
    Pre-position the restoration workforce, at the first indication of a storm, which should include damage assessors and crews. The initial damage assessments should begin as soon as possible after a storm has passed and should be used to develop initial restoration time estimates.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Put damage repair crews on call during a storm and dispatch them only when a storm is over to affected areas. Notify customers of expected restoration timeframes only as they call into the company's customer service center.
    Benefits: For storms that are correctly predicted, pre-positioning of crews can help reduce the initial damage assessment time by several hours, and shorten restoration time by hours or even days, decreasing overall damage repair cycle time and improving overall customer satisfaction.
  • Best Practices (#244) / Utilities / Transmission & Delivery

    Best Practice (Good)
    Use an automatic distribution line high-speed source transfer scheme. This is done by connecting one end of the feeder to one substation using a recloser, and the other end of the feeder to a second substation using another recloser. This produces a looped system which makes possible supplying the loads on the distribution feeder from either substation and disconnecting the feeder or parts of the feeder, from either of the substations when necessary.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Implement a manual method of distribution for energy utilities, where risk mitigation is difficult between substations once a failure/outage occurs and has increased issue resolution time.
    Benefits: If one substation has an outage, customers can still be supplied from the second substation. Outage resolution time will decrease along with the number of affected customers. Issue identification time will also decrease, and all of these effects will contribute to an overall increase in customer satisfaction.
  • Best Practices (#245) / Utilities / Utilities Customer Service

    Best Practice (Good)
    Ensure that the customer’s invoice, usage and account balance data can be automatically retrieved from call center systems, allowing the representative to make an adjustment or payment without opening a separate system.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    House customer invoicing and account data in separate customer service applications, and train call center staff on the most efficient way to move between those applications.
    Benefits: Improves customer service levels by decreasing average handle times and improves call center staff productivity.
  • Best Practices (#246) / Utilities / Utilities Customer Service

    Best Practice (Good)
    At account setup, utilities should positively identify customers by requiring a social security number or driver’s license number. With this information, utilities can review past payment behavior (if available), or perform soft credit checks. Recognize and reward employees for finding old debt write-offs for customers that are now attempting to initiate service with a new account.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Have prospects fill in their information via a paper form or online form and initiate the account setup process without any identification verification being run through third party verification vendors or software.
    Benefits: By positively identifying customers, utilities can verify any outstanding balances on other accounts associated with the customer, and require payment in full, prior to establishing new service.
  • Best Practices (#247) / Utilities / Utilities Customer Service

    Best Practice (Good)
    Participate in assistance fairs, and designate a team of representatives for social agencies to contact with a direct line. Through active campaigns and outreach strategy, utilities and social agencies can connect customers to resources providing financial assistance.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Set guidelines for when overdue bills must be sent to the Collections Group or a third-party collections provider. Treat all accounts sent to collections the same, without any outreach efforts in higher-risk neighborhoods.
    Benefits: Develops third party portals for charitable organizations to verify customer bills and payment history and establishes assistance funds that encourage customers to donate on their regular bill remittance. Success in this area is less a function of creating new programs, and more a function of connecting customers to the right resources.

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