Customer Connections Conference

For public power professionals in customer service, energy services, key accounts, and public communications
November 4 - 7, 2018
Orlando, Florida

The Customer Connections Conference is the annual meeting for public power professionals in four critical areas:

  • Customer Service
  • Energy Services
  • Key Accounts
  • Public Communications

Who Should Attend

Conference attendees get the latest information from experts in their fields, learn about the national issues and industry-wide activities and trends that are affecting their communities and utilities, and share experiences and strategies for dealing with key issues and challenges at more than 35 breakout sessions and roundtables. Bringing together more than 400 public power professionals, the conference is ideal for both industry veterans and those new to the electric utility industry who are interested in professional development and networking.

Conference sessions are designed for utility employees at both the professional and management levels, in the fields of customer service, energy services, key accounts, and public communications. Attendees typically include specialists, coordinators, analysts, supervisors, managers, directors and vice presidents in their area of specialty. The conference is also recommended for utility employees with interests and responsibilities in conference topics and with cross-departmental responsibilities, as well as rising stars and future leaders those who would benefit from learning more about these strategic areas and making connections with the national public power community.


Conference Mentor Program

Need help navigating the conference as a first-timer? Want someone to exchange notes with because you’re the only one from your organization attending? Eager to share your knowledge and experience as a long-time conference attendee?

The conference mentor program pairs up new attendees with seasoned conference-goers. You’ll meet at the Welcome Reception and stay in touch throughout the conference.

Ask for a mentor or volunteer to serve as one — check the box when you register, email, or call 202-467-2973 by October 27 to participate.

More information

Registration Information
Phone: 202-467-2941; Fax: 202-495-7505; Email: [email protected]

Hotel Information
Phone: 202-467-2941; Fax: 202-495-7505; Email: [email protected]

Program/Content Information
Phone: 202-467-2919; Email: [email protected]

Billing Information
Phone: 202-467-2967; Fax: 202-495-7467; Email: [email protected]


The Customer Connections Conference program offers four days of keynotes, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities from Monday to Wednesday, November 6-8. Preconference seminars on Sunday, November 5, are a great value-add. Learn more about each of these offerings.

Breakout Sessions

Benefit from engaging breakout sessions led by industry experts and public power colleagues — take home actionable ideas and tactics.

Breakout sessions are offered on Monday through Wednesday, November 6-8. Several breakout sessions run concurrently in each time slot and you can go to any sessions you like. Browse sessions below or download the program PDF for a listing by date/time that you can share with colleagues and use to plan your itinerary.

Sessions cover the following tracks or topic areas:

  • Customer Service
  • Energy Services
  • Key Accounts
  • Public Communications

Agenda at a Glance

Sunday, November 5

8:30 a.m. – Noon
Preconference Seminar

  • Crisis Management & Communications

1:30 - 5 p.m.
Preconference Seminars

  • Website Best Practices: Understanding the Customer Journey and Improving Engagement
  • The Power of Collaboration

5:30 - 7 p.m.
Welcome Reception

Monday, November 6

7 – 8 a.m.
Networking Continental Breakfast

8 – 9 a.m.
Opening General Session

  • Association Board Chair Address
  • Excellence in Public Power Communication Videos

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Breakout Sessions

  • Customer Service Personalities
  • Roundtable: Energy Services Jeopardy!
  • Roundtable: Key Accounts
  • Websites and Apps: New Trends and Best Practices

10:45 a.m. – Noon
Breakout Sessions

  • Roundtable: Building Your Best CSR Team
  • Using Market Research and Benchmarking to Enhance Energy Efficiency Programs
  • Key Account Manager's Role in New Construction
  • Correctly Conquering Crisis, Controversy and Criticism

Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch (on your own)

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Breakout Sessions

  • Measuring Satisfaction, Improving Performance
  • Engaging Small Businesses in Energy Efficiency
  • Customers Speak: Key Account Panel
  • Public Communications Rapid-Fire Workshop

3:15 – 4:30 p.m.
Breakout Sessions

  • Community Engagement: Flipping the Customer Service Model
  • What Do Customers Really Want?
  • Supersized Service for Mid-Size Customers
  • DIY: Design for Non-Designers
  • Roundtable: Joint Action Agencies and Associations

4:45 – 5:30 p.m.
Maximize Your Membership: Resources Roundtable


Tuesday, November 7

7 – 8:15 a.m.
Women in Public Power Panel & Continental Breakfast

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Networking Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 10 a.m.
Breakout Sessions

  • Creating a Customer Service Culture
  • Success with Distributed Generation
  • Turning the Table on Customer Satisfaction: Key Account Success Stories
  • Public Communications Roundtable

10:30 a.m. – Noon
Breakout Sessions

  • Restoring Customer Trust: One Utility's Story
  • Engaging Underserved Communities in Energy Efficiency
  • The Whole Enchilada: DER, TOU, and Energy Efficiency
  • Grassroots Engagement: How, When, and Why?

Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch (on your own)

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Breakout Sessions

  • Breaking Through: Customer Service Communications
  • Energy Services Hot Topics Workshop
  • Don't Be Afraid to Toot Your Own Horn
  • Media Pitch Tank: Selling Your Story

3:15 – 4:30 p.m.
Breakout Sessions

  • Engaging Customers through Data and Technology
  • Community Solar that Works and Sells
  • Business Plans vs. Customer Action Plans
  • Customer Research: Gauge and Engage

5:30 – 7 p.m.


Wednesday, November 8

7 – 8 a.m.
Professional Development Panel & Continental Breakfast

7:15 – 8:15 a.m.
Networking Continental Breakfast

8:15 – 9:30 a.m.
Breakout Sessions

  • Ask the Experts: Customer Service Rapid-Fire Workshop
  • The New Administration and Energy Efficiency Changes
  • Investing in Communications: Right-Sizing Your Team

10 – 11:30 a.m.
Closing General Session

  • Honoring Our Colleagues
  • Becoming a Master of Change

11:30 a.m.
Conference Adjourns

1 – 5 p.m. 
Customer Services Benchmarking Survey Results Meeting


2017 Registration Fees

Register by October 6, 2017, to receive the following registration rates:

  • Association Members:    $745
  • Nonmembers:             $1,490

After October 6, registration fees increase by $50.

Not a member? Join today and save $745 on your conference registration. Call Member Services at 202-467-2926 to learn more.

Preconference Seminar Fees

Each preconference seminar requires a separate registration fee. Register by October 6, to receive the following registration rates:

  • Association Members:    $325 (each)
  • Nonmembers:                   $650 (each)

After October 6, registration fees will increase by $50.

You can register for preconference seminars at the same time that you register for the Customer Connections Conference.

Conference Mentor Program
If you’re a first-time attendee, or the only one from your organization, pair up with a seasoned conference-goer who’ll show you the ropes. Your mentor will meet you at the Sunday Welcome Reception and stay in touch with you throughout the conference.

Want to have a conference mentor or serve as one? Select the check-box on the online or PDF registration form or contact us at [email protected]; 202-467-2973 by October 27 to participate. 

The following meals/food functions are included in the registration fee:

Sunday, November 5
- Welcome Reception (light appetizers)

Monday, November 6
- Continental breakfast

Tuesday, November 7
- Continental breakfast
- Reception (light appetizers)

Wednesday, November 8
- Continental breakfast

Guest Registrations
Conference registrants may bring a guest to the evening receptions. Guests do not need to register.

Cancellation Policy
Registrants who cancel in writing on or before Oct. 30, 2017, are entitled to a refund of their registration fee, minus a $50 cancellation fee. Registrants who cancel after Oct. 30 will not receive a refund, but attendee substitutions will be allowed for the 2017 Customer Connections Conference only. Registrants and no-shows who do not cancel on or before Oct. 30 are responsible for the full registration fee and are not entitled to a refund.

Cancellations must be made in writing and emailed to: [email protected].

Email [email protected]


All conference events will take place at the Walt Disney World and Swan Resort.

Walt Disney World and Swan Resort
1500 EPCOT Resorts Boulevard
Lake Buena Vista, FL. 32830

  • Group rate: Single/Double $214 per night, (plus tax, 12.5%)
  • Check in: 4 p.m. / Check out: 11 a.m.
  • Main telephone: 407-934-4000
  • Parking fee: Self parking: $20/day; Valet parking: $30
  • In-Room Wireless: Complimentary standard wireless internet 


  • Online reservation link: coming soon 
  • Attendee group code: coming soon
  • Reservation telephone: 888-828-8850
  • Reservation cut-off date: October 3, 2018

Located in the heart of the most magical place on earth, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort provides a truly extraordinary backdrop for your Orlando vacation or meeting.  Beautiful tropical landscaping, tranquil waterways and classic art and architecture work together to create a stunning landmark in the midst of one of the most spectacular places on earth. Inside this magnificent Disney resort, an environment of elegance and sophistication awaits. From the spectacular lobbies and the unique restaurants, to the exotic Mandara Spa, and the incredibly comfortable guest rooms, The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort offers the ultimate escape just moments away from the thrill and excitement of the Walt Disney World® Resort.

Hotel Reservations & APPA Cancellation Policy 

The cut-off date to receive the APPA group rate (plus tax) is Wednesday, October 3, 2018. If rooms remain in the APPA block after the cut-off date, the APPA group rate will be honored. If not, you may be charged a higher rate. The room block may sell out before October 3, so early reservations are encouraged. Further details about the cancellation process will be updated soon, so please check back at a later time. The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort should receive all reservations no later than October 3.

Cancelled reservations that are not resold may become a financial liability for APPA, so please make your reservations thoughtfully. If you require additional assistance with housing please contact Meeting Services at 202-467-2941 or [email protected]

Scam Alert

Do NOT make hotel reservations through any third party that may contact you by phone or email. Use only the online reservation links, phone numbers, and discount codes available directly from the Association—in conference brochures and the website at

For assistance making your hotel arrangements, please contact Meeting Services at 202/467-2941 or [email protected].


The hotel is located approximately 20.5 miles from the Orlando International Airport (MCO). Please visit the hotel website for information regarding directions and parking.


Orlando is one of the world’s most visited family destinations, and while its illustrious themed attractions may steal the limelight, with a vibrant and well-kept city center and a climate that averages around 75° Fahrenheit (25° Celsius), there is a surprising amount of things to experience here. Welcoming tens-of-millions of visitors per year, both Disney World and Universal Orlando pack in an entire trip's worth of fun on their own. But it would be a mistake to overlook Orlando’s other activities because the rest of ‘The City Beautiful’ is full of similar family-friendly attractions like waterparks, giant aquariums and zoos, exciting shows, airboat tours around the swamps and plenty of golfing opportunities. Discover all of this, and much more in our guide to Orlando!

Discover more at

Dress Code

The attire for the conference is business casual. Meeting room temperatures vary, so prepare to dress for cool conditions.


Contact us at [email protected].

Silver Sponsors

Frequently Asked Questions

Where and when are future Customer Connections Conferences?

November 4-6, 2018
Swan and Dolphin Resort
Orlando, Florida

October 27-30, 2019
Ritz Carlton
New Orleans, Louisiana

October 25-28, 2020
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Minnesota

What educational credits are available?

Academy events include the following opportunities for educational credits:

  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)
  • Professional Development Hours (PDHs) as established by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)
  • Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Ccedits from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)

Learn more about continuing education units offered. 

Is there international registration?

Online meeting registration is for U.S. and Canadian residents only. International registrants must provide a signed registration form — signed by the authorized cardholder — if paying with a credit card. Fax the completed registration form to 202-495-7484 or email it to [email protected].

Alternatively, you could send a check from a U.S. bank payable to American Public Power Association. Please mail completed form with full payment to our bank lock box:

American Public Power Association
P.O. Box 418617
Boston, MA  02241-8617

Are meals included?

The following food functions/meals are included in the registration fee:

  • Sunday - Welcome Reception
  • Monday - Continental Breakfast
  • Tuesday - Continental Breakfast; Reception 
  • Wednesday – Continental Breakfast

What is the conference dress code?

The attire for the conference is business casual. Meeting room temperatures vary, so prepare to dress for cool conditions.

How can I present at the conference?

We welcome your topic and speaker ideas for future conferences and events. To submit your idea for consideration, complete this form. Conference topics are generally determined 6-8 months before the event is held. Ideas will be kept on file for a full year, so if the agenda for the conference has already been determined, your ideas will be considered for the next year’s event, or in case any space opens up in the current year’s program. You will be contacted only if your idea is selected for an upcoming conference.