Customer billing now plays a vital role in the utility smart grid transformation. It has evolved from a basic model, where utilities gathered energy consumption data every other month to produce a paper invoice sent via snail mail, to a dynamic model in which energy consumption is tracked as frequently as every 5 minutes. Other factors, such as deregulation and the growing integration of new sources of renewable energy like wind and solar, add to the complexity of the utility/customer relationship. Customers are no longer captive ratepayers locked into a static meter-to-cash process; they have choices. This is shifting the focus of traditional billing and customer information systems to a more customer-centric approach that includes strong focus on loyalty.

In addition to supporting the smart grid transformation, customer billing is also the utilities’ “ground zero” in the battle to offset rising energy costs and related debt-recovery issues. To alleviate this burden, utilities can improve both cash flow and the customer experience by adapting to the changing communication needs of customers.

Today’s customers have access to more communication channels than ever. To ensure a two-way conversation, utility providers need to make sure they are able to efficiently interact with customers across all channels, including email, SMS and mobile. New ways to grow customer relationships include using highly-targeted proactive messaging and personalized web and e-billing portals, which ensure that each customer’s communication channel preferences are covered.

This conference will bring together experts from utilities and vendors who interact daily with the billing process and payment systems. Conference attendees will learn best practices, keep up with the latest developments, and network with industry peers.