PUC Distribution Inc. chooses CustomerConnect to transform its relationship with customers
September 18, 2012

Ottawa, ON-September 18, 2012—PUC Distribution Inc. has selected CustomerConnect—Harris Utilities’ customer engagement solution (CES)—to promote energy conservation and elevate customer service.

Serving residents and businesses across Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, the community-owned electric, water and sewer utility has been a customer of Harris Utilities since 1985. It relies on MeterSense for its meter data management (MDM) needs, the NorthStar customer information system to support every day operations, as well as Cayenta for financial management.

In October 2011, PUC Distribution decided to adopt a CES to help its customers best take advantage of the utility’s new time-of-use pricing system, and augment its team’s capacity to serve customers. It turned to CustomerConnect because of the solution’s demonstrated reliability and its extensive functionality.

“We chose CustomerConnect not only because of our long-standing relationship with Harris Utilities, but also because of the excellent feedback we received from other local distribution companies about their experiences with the product,” said John Cesco, Manager, Billing & Customer Services at PUC Distribution. “We plan to use CustomerConnect to help our customers understand and adapt their consumption habits, and to furnish our customer service agents with the information they need to resolve customer issues as quickly as possible.”

CustomerConnect’s intuitive user interface was an additional benefit for PUC Distribution. The utility needed to adopt a CES that would be easy to navigate and understand for customers as well as staff, yet powerful enough to offer deep insight into energy-usage habits. CustomerConnect’s interoperability with MeterSense also proved significantly beneficial. The MDM solution populates CustomerConnect with essential data that customers need to track their consumption habits.

“Being in Northern Ontario, we are a winter-peaking utility,” said Cesco. “Demand for electricity is highest in our part of the world in January and February. We see a lot of energy-usage spikes during that period of time. Our hope is that CustomerConnect will help our customers see exactly when they’re using the most energy, and encourage them to adjust their behaviors, even slightly, to lower those peaks.”

CustomerConnect went live across PUC Distribution’s 32,000 electric meters (and the more than 3,000 additional meters that are maintained by Espanola Regional Hydro, a nearby utility for which PUC Distribution provides billing, collecting and customer-service functions) in May. The switch is already yielding favorable responses. PUC Distribution’s personnel are quickly resolving high-bill complaints by guiding customers through CustomerConnect to pinpoint peak consumption periods.

As the solution becomes more popular with residents, PUC Distribution plans to use CustomerConnect’s Education Library to help further promote conservation programs.

Norm Daigle, executive vice-president of CustomerConnect, said the CES is an important tool for bringing the value of advanced smart infrastructure solutions directly into customers’ homes and businesses.

“By putting control of resources in the hands of consumers, giving them better insight into their energy use habits and educating them about conservation strategies, CustomerConnect will help PUC Distribution build a stronger relationship with its customers,” he said. “This will help PUC realize even more value from its smart grid investments.”

Powerful, intuitive and engaging, CustomerConnect enhances the value of smart infrastructure in any utility, helps augment participation in important conservation programs and elevates customer service.

About PUC Distribution Inc.

A subsidiary of the Public Utilities Commission of Sault Ste. Marie, PUC Distribution Inc. delivers electricity services to more than 33,000 residential, commercial and small industrial customers in Northern Ontario.

Further information is available at www.ssmpuc.com.

About CustomerConnect

CustomerConnect is an engagement solution that transforms the way utilities interact with their customers. Designed in close collaboration with a range of consumer groups, the solution gives customers direct, web-based access to account information and unprecedented insight into resource use. Built for utilities, it helps demonstrate the value of, and power behind, smart infrastructure investments to help shift customer behavior and deliver rapid results from conservation programs.

For more information, visit www.custconnect.com.

Contacts

Harris Utilities
Anna Jackson
Director, Marketing
T: +1-613-226-5511, ext. 2085
C: +1-613-986-9189
annajackson@harriscomputer.com