The results of the Kissimmee Utility Authority’s recent customer satisfaction survey by GreatBlue Research illustrate how to use customer feedback for continuous improvement and demonstrate why it is so important to consistently ask for feedback. Deciding what to ask your customers can be challenging, but once you identify your target areas, you can focus in on your improvement efforts. KUA had a three percentage point increase in customer satisfaction from 2019 to 2020 from doing exactly that – a job well done!
Current financial data on the impact of COVID-19 on community-owned utilities reveals several national trends and the need to factor in case-by-case issues during the analysis. Above all, the data makes clear that the best strategy for a strong recovery is following the fundamentals of utility financial management: develop key financial targets, make a plan to meet those targets, and stay true to the plan.
A public power industry leader with expertise in regulatory compliance and distribution system management, Mark Ennis of the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA) has joined the Board of Directors of Hometown Connections, Inc. AMEA is one of six joint action agencies that co-own Hometown Connections. Mr. Ennis is AMEA’s Manager of Compliance and Distribution Services and AMEA’s representative on the Hometown Board.
Cyber-crime is on the rise. Your first line of defense is to know your vulnerabilities. Turn to the Cybersecurity Assessment Solution from Hometown Connections, Inc. It’s the affordable, preliminary step in effective cybersecurity management
To meet public power’s need for cybersecurity solutions that are comprehensive and cost effective, Hometown Connections, Inc. has launched a Cybersecurity Management Program for public power electric, gas, water, and wastewater utilities and other city departments. Hometown Connections is helping community-owned organizations across the United States evaluate their cybersecurity requirements, develop plans for cyber risk management, and deploy effective cybersecurity defenses that include ongoing monitoring, training, remediation, and maintenance services.
During the challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative to understand the thoughts, opinions, and sentiments of your customers so you can better prepare to meet their needs. As we begin to return to a “new normal”, it is important to understand how your utility will operate in the coming months, and how customers will feel about these changes. Use a low-cost digital survey by GreatBlue Research to understand how your residential and commercial customers think about their ability to pay future bills, payment options, disconnect policies, and utility re-opening plans. GreatBlue proposes the use of digital research to effectively and efficiently gather insights from your residential and/or commercial customers. These research findings can then be used to target those customers with immediate needs and/or concerns and provide the best possible assistance.
Understand the cyber threat landscape, learn how to estimate the true financial costs of a cyber crime, and get tips on building your budget and risk management strategies. Register for this two-part webinar series to be held in June 2020 by the American Public Power Association Academy. Speakers include representatives from AESI-US, Inc. and Marsh Wortham Power Gen Insurance, marketing partners of Hometown Connections Inc.
Utilities using Apogee’s ENVOY proactive messaging platform are seeing extraordinary results. The platform’s communication channels include personalized video bill explanations, text, and email messages that inform customers of payment options, financial assistance programs, low and no-cost ways to save, and rate options. What makes the messaging captivating is each message is composed using the customer’s billing history and AMI data, making it personal and relevant to each household. During the COVID-19 crisis, this communications strategy shows customers the utility cares, is helping them reduce energy costs, and identifies ways to manage their financial burden.
For cyber criminals and the organizations they are targeting, it’s the wild west out there. The scourge of COVID-19 is driving workers to log in from home and widening the utility attack surface even further. Community-owned utilities are victims of ransomware and other attacks at an alarming rate. As part of their cybersecurity risk management efforts, utilities should investigate the financial and operational security provided by the cyber liability insurance program from Marsh Wortham Power Gen Insurance through Hometown Connections, Inc.
A visionary leader of public power technology management, Branndon Kelley of American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) has joined the Board of Directors of Hometown Connections, Inc. AMP is one of six joint action agencies that co-own Hometown Connections. Mr. Kelley is AMP’s Senior Vice President of Technology & Chief Information Officer and AMP’s representative on the Hometown Board.