Conference

Customer Connections Conference

For public power professionals in public communications, customer service, energy innovation, and key accounts
October 24 - 27, 2021
Scottsdale, Arizona
Sponsors

Your challenges, shared solutions

Join the national network of public power professionals who focus on customer services and community connections. You will have plenty of opportunities to compare notes, discover best practices, and learn from case studies. 

Meet other utility professionals — both veterans and those new to the electric utility industry — and share ideas and experiences in addressing four critical areas: 

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

Click here to view the COVID safety protocols for this event.

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.

Conference sessions are designed for utility employees at both the professional and management levels, in the fields of public communications, customer service, energy innovation, and key accounts. 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.

Serve as an Officer

Utility employees play a vital role in planning the conference to bring you important topics. Incoming Vice Chairs for committees will be selected in August. Email [email protected] if you are interested in taking a leadership position in the conference by serving as an officer for one of the following tracks:

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

More information

Registration 
Phone: 202-467-2978; Email: [email protected]

Program/Content 
Phone: 202-467-2965; Email: [email protected]

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

Program

The Customer Connections Conference offers three days of keynotes, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities from Monday to Wednesday, October 25-27, 2021. Preconference seminars on Sunday, October 24, are a great value-add.

Sessions cover topics in the areas of public communications, customer service, energy innovation, and key accounts.

Agenda at a Glance

 

Public Communications

Public Communications

Customer Service
Customer Service

Energy Innovation

Energy Innovation

Key Accounts

Key Accounts

Monday, October 25   
8:45 – 10 a.m. Opening General Session: The Future of Public Power & Excellence in Public Power Communications
10:30 –
11:45 a.m. 
Public Communications Roundtable Customer Service Roundtable Scaling Energy Solutions for All     Key Accounts Roundtable
1:30 –
2:45 p.m. 
Volunteerism and Reaching Customers in Need Prepay it Forward  To Welcome or Be Wary: Unpredictable Large Customers
3:15 –
4:30 p.m. 
Leveraging  Technology to Communicate with Customers  Enhancing Customer Communications in the Ice (Storm) Age  Online Tools, Real-Life Value    Power Quality: Symptoms, Causes & Solutions
Tuesday, October 26 
8:45 –
10 a.m.

General Session: What's Next? Preparing for Future 4.0 & 
Smart Energy Provider Recognition

10:30 –
11:45 a.m. 
Engaging Staff in Storytelling (without Losing the Brand) Customer Engagement in a Post-Pandemic World Nuclear Reactor vs. Virtual Power Plant Resetting Key Accounts Management
1:30 –
2:45 p.m. 
Tales of Communicating in a Pandemic Customer Service When It Hurts the Most Understanding and Managing EV Load Leveraging Data to Better Serve Key Accounts
3:15 –
4:30 p.m.
Public Communications Rapid-Fire Workshop   Self-Leadership in Changing Times  Making Community Solar Work Sustainability Partners: Utilities and Key Accounts 
Wednesday, October 27
8:30 –
9:45 a.m.
Tell It to Sell It Customer Service Grab Bag Energy Innovation Roundtable The Polar Vortex: Lessons Learned from Texas
10:15 –
11:45 a.m. 
Closing General Session: Harnessing Your SELF to Create Change & Excellence in Public Power Communications Awards and Certificate Program Graduates

Sunday, October 24

Preconference seminars offer more time to learn from experienced instructors in smaller groups. In these courses you will gain expert insights, learn from practical case studies, and develop strategies and tactics on the critical challenges you face. Each preconference seminar requires separate registration. 

Preconference Seminar

8:30 a.m. – Noon
Transforming Positivity into Productivity
Recommended CEUs .3 / PDHs 3.25 / CPEs 3.8, Personal Development
Negative behaviors and interpersonal dynamics can derail productivity – on both a personal and organizational level. When negativity thrives, people can feel a lack of control, unappreciated, and disconnected – and can be resistant to change without even realizing it. As industry changes put pressure on public power utilities, and as the workforce establishes new norms, it is essential all of us focus on positive interactions, teamwork, collaboration, and effective problem solving. Each individual and leader can encourage this shift by meeting challenges with optimism, solving problems more effectively, and seeking opportunities to learn, grow, and make a positive impact.
 
Learn innovative and proven ways to remain positive, productive, and effective, even in the midst of change or adversity, through this Totally Responsible Person® (TRP®) training workshop for utility employees of all levels. Review how to apply TRP principles to several utility scenarios, such as when communicating with unhappy customers and resolving complaints, improving internal communications with colleagues, and taking responsibility for actions and attitudes. Attendees receive a suite of TRP materials, including a practical workbook, helpful checklists, tips, and action plans to apply immediately. 

Charise Swanson, Vice President, Client Services, Hometown Connections, Inc.

Preconference Seminar

1:30 – 5 p.m.       
Modern Media Management: Communicating in a Crisis (or to Avoid One)
Recommended CEUs .3 / PDHs 3.25 / CPEs 3.8, Communications & Marketing
News travels fast—and in this age of 24/7 networks and social media galore—can run rampant, whether the information is correct. This hands-on course walks you through the fundamentals of what to do when, not if, your organization gets pulled into the media spotlight, and how to be prepared to talk about a crisis via conventional and social media. Plan out how you can craft messages and create opportunities to tell your story fast, tell it first, and tell it to the people who matter most: your customers, employees, community partners, and business leaders. 

Learn the “control tools” to help anticipate questions and prepare answers to press questions, respond to negativity on social media, and foster effective public speaking experiences—and get honest coaching on how you handle a mock scenario. The tips, tools, and coaching can be applied immediately to encounters on a variety of channels. 

Thomas Fladung, Managing Partner, Hennes Communications

Welcome Reception

5 – 6:30 p.m. 
Reconnect with friends, engage with new colleagues, and meet public power’s supporters, advocates and champions that can help you succeed.
 


Monday, October 25

Networking Breakfast

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Get energized for the day ahead with your peers and the conference sponsors at this informal continental breakfast.

Opening General Session

8:45 – 10 a.m.
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5, Specialized Knowledge

Welcome
Patrice Townsend, Director, Utility Services Department, Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, Kansas, and Chair, APPA Customer Connections Section

Joy DittoThe Future of Public Power
Joy Ditto, President & CEO, American Public Power Association
From demonstrating continued excellence and resilience to aligning with global trends and customer expectations, the public power model has ample opportunity to thrive in the future. Reflect on our strengths and the challenges ahead – and how public power leaders must act to support continued success.

Honoring our Colleagues: Excellence in Public Power Communication 
Innovative, informative, and inspiring: view the winning videos from APPA members honored with 2021 Excellence in Public Power Communications Awards.

Break with sponsors

10 – 10:30 a.m.

Breakout Sessions

10:30 – 11:45 a.m. 
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  1. Public Communications Roundtable Public Communications 
    CPE Field of Study: Communications & Marketing
    Gather with your utility communications peers for a lively networking session and discussion of the latest and most pressing public communications challenges. Share your lessons learned from communicating in a pandemic; tips for messaging that avoids buzzwords and technical terms; and showcase any new ways you are communicating with customers.
  2. Customer Service Roundtable Customer Service 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Connect with other customer service professionals and learn from their insights. Share new initiatives, bring your challenges, and get solutions from public power utilities like yours. Be prepared to talk about “the new normal” and what your workplace looks like post-COVID, changes in credit and collections practices, and more. 
  3. Scaling Energy Solutions for All Energy Innovation 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Learn about Fort Collins’ Epic Homes program, which is designed to remove common barriers to conducting home retrofits or deploying renewables and next-generation distributed energy resources. Walk through how the program leverages public-private partnerships with contractors, lenders and real estate allies to reach rental properties and other hard-to-reach customers. Find out how you can apply a similar science-based approach to your efficiency programs to convey the array of benefits achieved and take a streamlined approach — from assessment to contractor management, on-bill financing, real estate certificates, and indoor environmental quality research. 

    John Phelan, Energy Services Senior Manager, Fort Collins Utilities, Colorado
     
  4. Key Accounts Roundtable Key Accounts 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Connect with other key accounts professionals and share your experiences over the last year, including what’s working, what isn’t, and what the future looks like for your utility. 

Lunch on your own

11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. 

Breakout Sessions

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  1. Volunteerism and Reaching Customers in Need Public Communications 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Public power utilities are a force for good in their communities. Hear how different public power utilities are encouraging volunteerism among their staffs and taking initiative to connect with customers facing hardship.

    Joe Gehrdes, Director – Community Relations, Huntsville Utilities, Alabama; and Kelly Simonsen, Marketing and Communications Manager, Easton Utilities Commission, Maryland 
  2. Prepay it Forward Customer Service 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Prepaid metering offers customers a convenient way to budget and track their energy consumption. Walk through the business case for offering prepaid metering at your utility, and the steps for implementing the service — including research, planning, implementation, and customer communications. Review and discuss the potential benefits and the pitfalls to avoid.

    Tom DuBos, Sales Manager, National Information Solutions Cooperative; Grant Sacks, Customer Service Manager, Truckee Donner Public Utility District, Truckee, California; and Brad Umbrianna, Supervisor – M-Power Operations, Salt River Project, Scottsdale, Arizona 
     
  3. To Welcome or Be Wary: Unpredictable Large Customers Energy Innovation Key Accounts 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    A new crop of large customers – whether Bitcoin mining, vertical farming, or urban architecture – can create significant load growth overnight and disappear again just as quickly. Hear from public power utilities that have welcomed these customers and those considering moratoria on them as they debate the benefits and risks of taking on these new loads and the potential long-term impact. Learn what you need from these customers to ensure your system is ready for the increased energy use and protected if the customer decides to leave.  

    Chris Key, Key Account Supervisor, Huntsville Utilities, Alabama  
     
  4. Joint Action & Association Roundtable Customer Service Energy Innovation Key Accounts Public Communications 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Meet with your peers from joint action agencies and state and regional associations to discuss hot topics in customer service, energy services, key accounts, and public communications.

Break with sponsors

2:45 – 3:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

3:15 – 4:30 p.m.
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  1. Leveraging Technology to Communicate with Customers Public Communications 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    New technology makes it easy to effectively communicate with customers about outages, energy use, and utility programs. Hear how several utilities are leveraging technology to help customers stay informed and save on their bills, and what rules and practices to follow for customer satisfaction.

    Jef Gray, Chief Information Officer, Kissimmee Utility Authority, Florida; and Mark Nielsen, Chairman, TextPower
     
  2. Enhancing Customer Communications in the Ice (Storm) Age Customer Service 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Severe, back-to-back winter storms in February 2021 caused Texas to suffer a major power crisis, leaving millions without power for several days. Hear after-action reviews and lessons learned from a utility that was in the middle of it, and what it is changing to improve the customer experience during future extreme weather.

    Melissa Krause, Chief Communications and Strategy Officer, and Pamela Quidley, Communications & Marketing Manager, New Braunfels Utilities, Texas
     
  3. Online Tools, Real-Life Value Energy Innovation 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Learn how utilities have used online energy analysis and savings tools to enhance customer engagement and satisfaction. Review the customer benefits, usage stats, and other results utilities have seen with various tools and discuss how to apply key lessons learned to improve your customer engagement.

    John Adkinson, Manager of Energy and Business Services, Lakeland Electric, Florida; and Stephanie Knight Johndrow, Key Account Manager, Apogee Interactive, San Antonio, Texas 
     
  4. Power Quality: Symptoms, Causes & Solutions Key Accounts 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Your biggest customers don’t just expect the highest reliability, they also need assurance of power quality. Hear from a customer on the impacts of power quality issues, why power quality is important to them, and how they manage power quality. Then, learn how other utilities navigate power quality issues with key customers – from methods of identifying problems, to finding solutions and tips for communicating with the customer. 

    Steve Kenny, Director of Solutions Development, Landis+Gyr, Raleigh, North Carolina; and Tom Sagstetter, Conservation and Key Accounts Manager, Elk River Municipal Utilities, Minnesota 

Happy Hour with Colleagues

5 – 6 p.m.
Meet up with other attendees from public power utilities, affiliates, and partner organizations at a relaxing, fun, pay-your-own-way happy hour at the hotel bar. Share a drink and discuss how to take on the future.


Tuesday, October 26

Women in Public Power Breakfast

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Grab your continental breakfast and join a lively discussion to connect with other women in public power about common challenges and opportunities working in the industry.

Networking Breakfast

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Power up with coffee and connections at this informal continental breakfast. There are no speakers or moderators — just visit with colleagues and chat with sponsors.

General Session

8:45 – 10 a.m.
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5, Specialized Knowledge

Honoring our Colleagues: Smart Energy Providers 
Join us to honor the utilities receiving the American Public Power Association’s Smart Energy Provider best practices designation, recognizing utilities for incorporating energy efficiencies and sustainability in their operations and services. 

Colin HansenChair's Address
Colin Hansen, Executive Director, Kansas Municipal Utilities; and Chair, American Public Power Association

What’s Next? Preparing for Future 4.0
As we move into a post-pandemic world, all the opportunities and challenges we faced prior to this global crisis still exist...they just look different. Get insight into three dynamic forces driving change in this new environment, explore why and where disruption takes place, and learn how you can keep your strategy ahead of disruption and key trends. Learn six "must haves" for every organization, tips for navigating the new economy and labor market, which four technologies will change everything, and how the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 are the solutions to the future.

Tom MorrisonTom Morrison is an author, life coach, and award-winning association executive who lives and breathes marketplace disruption and personal development. A sought-after expert on the new Uberization economy, Tom led his company to over a 1,500% growth over the past 15 years.

Break with sponsors

10 – 10:30 a.m.

Breakout Sessions

10:30 – 11:45 a.m. 
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  1. Engaging Staff in Storytelling (without Losing the Brand) Public Communications 
    CPE Field of Study: Communications & Marketing
    Staff from all backgrounds and roles have interesting perspectives that can be shared and unique community and professional networks that can be reached. Enlisting the help of frontline workers, for example, can highlight your utility’s connection with customers, but can present risks to your utility’s messaging and brand. Learn how public power communicators effectively engage and work with staff across the utility – and set appropriate guardrails.

    Crystal Kemp, Chief Marketing Officer, Conway Corporation, Arkansas; and Kathleen Mascareñas, Media Relations Representative, Salt River Project, Tempe, Arizona 
     
  2. Customer Engagement in a Post-Pandemic World Customer Service 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    The pandemic placed enormous pressure on customers and utilities, who continue to face financial uncertainties and changing consumption patterns. Learn how you can use data to navigate the changing business landscape, evolve customer relationships, and proactively adapt to your customers’ new needs. Explore how various technologies can help you communicate with customers more efficiently than ever.

    Ryan Cawley, Vice President, Sprypoint; Fred Christie, Chief Information Officer, Easton Utilities Commission, Maryland; and Michael Vigeant, CEO, Great Blue Research
     
  3. Nuclear Reactor vs. Virtual Power Plant Energy Innovation 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    With mandates for clean power on the horizon, it is critical for utilities to fully understand the options of carbon-free generating technology on the market and in the near future. Learn how current and next generation nuclear power can provide a flexible, reliable, and resilient power supply, and how this fuel source fits into a clean energy future. 

    Jackie Coombs, Manager of Corporate and Member Relations, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems
     
  4. Resetting Key Accounts Management Key Accounts  
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    The pandemic put a pause on many of the day-to-day activities related to managing key accounts. Strategize with your peers on how to reengage and restart effective personal interactions with your customers, including when to hold in-person meetings and which activities can continue virtually. Discuss how utilities can help customers facing financial hardship or who are just now resuming operations. 

Lunch on your own

11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. 

Breakout Sessions

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  1. Tales of Communicating in a Pandemic Public Communications 
    CPE Field of Study: Communications & Marketing
    COVID-19 presented major internal and external communications challenges for public power utilities. Hear from communicators who stepped up — often while working from home — to deliver messaging and programs to their customers and coworkers.

    Sheila Corson, Community Relations Coordinator, Okanogan County PUD, Washington; and Julio Torrado, Director of Human Resources & Communications, Keys Energy Services, Florida 
     
  2. Customer Service When It Hurts the Most Customer Service 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Extensive power outages are precisely when communication with customers matters most — and when it is most difficult. Discuss strategies for communicating with customers during widespread or prolonged outages and understand why customer communication must be a first order priority along with power restoration.

    Ron Bentley, Product Manager, dataVoice International
     
  3. Understanding and Managing EV Load Energy Innovation 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    As more electric vehicles come on the market, and consumer interest in them heats up, utilities need to stay ahead of the trends to be prepared to manage off-peak consumption and peaking issues that can come with the new load. Learn how different utilities have designed effective EV strategies and programs and get data on the real impact of charging infrastructure on the electric system.

    Jeff Gorrie, CEM, Director of Energy Services, Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities; and Marc Shkolnick, Manager of Energy Services, Lincoln Electric System, Nebraska
     
  4. Leveraging Data to Better Serve Key Accounts Key Accounts 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    With AMI and other technologies, utilities have access to increasing amounts of data on customer usage and behaviors. Learn how you can prioritize, analyze, interpret, and share meaningful data with your key accounts that helps them make informed decisions and keeps them engaged with your utility. Even if you don’t have AMI, you have other data available that you can convey to your customers – to ensure they know to get their energy information from the most reliable source: you. 

    Allison Bohling, Customer Relations Business Specialist, City of Loveland, Colorado; and Cody Graves, President, Automated Energy, Inc., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Colorado 

Break with sponsors

2:45 – 3:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

3:15 – 4:30 p.m.
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  1. Public Communications Rapid-Fire Workshop Public Communications 
    CPE Field of Study: Communications & Marketing
    Join your fellow communicators to tackle the common challenges you share. Submit topics in advance for a rapid-fire Q&A and brainstorming session. You can be sure you’ll get more than you give at this roundtable.
  2. Self-Leadership in Changing Times Customer Service 
    CPE Field of Study: Personal Development 
    Too often, individuals allow others to dictate what they think, how they act, or what they believe. They are led, rather than leading; controlled, rather than being in control. Discover what it takes to move to a self-leadership mindset to help you thrive in changing and challenging times.

    Tom Rider, General Manager, Oklahoma Municipal Alliance
     
  3. Making Community Solar Work Energy Innovation 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Share your experiences and lessons learned while pursuing community solar. Get updated on the National Community Solar Partnership working group – which brought together experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, public power utilities, and APPA to work through challenges in developing community solar projects. 
     
  4. Sustainability Partners: Utilities and Key Accounts Key Accounts 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Many large customers are adopting sustainability goals — and expect their utility to help them achieve these goals. Utilities first need to understand what exactly customers want – or how they are defining sustainability. Learn how terms such as sustainability and clean energy can differ from utility to customers, and how utilities are helping customers to be more sustainable. 

    Bill Carroll, Principal Key Account Manager, SRP, Phoenix, Arizona; and Grant Roberson, Key Accounts Manager, Wilson Energy, City of Wilson, North Carolina 

Reception

5:30 – 7 p.m.
Enjoy some food, drinks, and down time with the friends and colleagues you already know, and grow your network of public power contacts.


Wednesday, October 27

Networking Breakfast

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Network with your peers and industry partners at this informal continental breakfast. There are no speakers or moderators.

Breakout Sessions

8:30 – 9:45 a.m.
Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

  1. Tell It to Sell It Public Communications 
    CPE Field of Study: Communications & Marketing 
    Your cool, new, innovative program is only as good as the customers that participate in it. Learn how some of your fellow public power communicators are effectively marketing electrification and sustainability programs to their customers – and getting the necessary buy-in for success.

    Krista Boston, Director of Customer Relations, Rochester Public Utilities, Minnesota
  2. Customer Service Grab Bag Customer Service 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Tackle your most pressing customer service issues in a room full of experts. Ask questions, share ideas, get feedback, and brainstorm new solutions during this engaging and interactive roundtable discussion. 
  3. Energy Innovation Roundtable Energy Innovation 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    See old friends and meet new ones as you discuss the opportunities and challenges you are facing today. Reflect on how you kept your utility going through COVID-19, what your “new normal” looks like, and share the tools and ideas that are keeping your utility moving forward.
  4. The Polar Vortex: Lessons Learned from Texas Key Accounts 
    CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 
    Hear from a panel of utilities affected by the polar vortex that hit Texas and the Midwest in February 2021 on how each utility managed the strains on the electric system, astronomical price spikes, and customer expectations and needs. Each panelist will share how they helped customers during and after the crisis, how they communicated during the event, and how they worked with their customers as the power came back on. 

    Bill Sparks, Key Account Manager, Austin Energy, Texas 

Break with sponsors

9:45 – 10:15 a.m.

Closing General Session

10:15 – 11:45 a.m.
Recommended CEUs .2 / PDHs 1.5 / CPEs 1.8, Personal Development

Honoring Our Colleagues: Excellence in Public Power Communications and Certificate Program Graduates 
Celebrate winners of the Excellence in Public Power Communications awards — including the Audience Choice video award. Congratulate the newest graduates from the Academy’s Customer Service Management, Energy Efficiency Management, and Key Accounts certificate programs. 

Derreck KayongoHarnessing Your SELF to Create Change 
Derreck Kayongo built a multimillion-dollar venture that distributes recycled soap to people around the world who lack access to the personal hygiene staple through global health programs. Join him as he breaks down the key factors that have led to his success: Service, Education, Leadership, and Faith (SELF). Derreck will share his account of life as a Ugandan refugee and the turning point that led him to a brilliant transformation as a social entrepreneur as he challenges you to focus on personal accountability, to seek out opportunities to improve, and, most importantly, to maintain faith in yourself and your team so that together you create an environment where everyone is empowered to thrive.

Derreck Kayongo is an internationally recognized visionary and humanitarian. The Global Soap Project demonstrates his creativity and innovation, making him a leader in both global health and environmental sustainability.

Adjourn

11:45 a.m.

Registration

Register Now!

Conference Registration Fees

  Register by September 24 After September 24
Member $825 $875
Nonmember $1,650 $1,700

Not yet an American Public Power Association member? Join today and save $825 on your conference registration. Call 202-467-2944 or email [email protected] to learn more. 

Group Discounts
Save money on each registration for the Customer Connections Conference when your organization registers five or more people. The larger your group, the more you save! 

Number of registrants Discount
(per person)
Member
Registration Fee
(per person, before Sept. 24)
1-4 n/a $825
5-9 $50 $775
10-14 $100 $725
15+ $150 $675

Contact [email protected] for more information and to request the group registration form to receive this special discount.   

Preconference Seminar Registration Fees

  Members Nonmembers
  Register by
Sept. 24
After
Sept. 24
Register by Sept. 24 After
Sept. 24

Transforming Positivity into Productivity

$375 $425 $750 $800
Modern Media Management: Communicating in a Crisis (or to Avoid One) $350 $400 $700 $750

Cancellation, Refund, and Substitution Policy

Registrants who cancel in writing on or before Monday, October 18, 2021 are entitled to a refund of their registration fee, minus a $50 cancellation fee. Registrants who cancel after October 18, 2021 will not receive a refund, but attendee substitutions will be allowed for the 2021 Customer Connections Conference only. Registrants and no-shows who do not cancel on or before October 18 are responsible for the full registration fee and are not entitled to a refund of their registration fee. 

Requests must be made in writing to: [email protected] 

Code of Conduct

Attendees of American Public Power Association meetings agree to abide by the APPA Code of Conduct. If attendees engage in unacceptable behavior as outlined in the Code of Conduct, the Association may take any action it deems appropriate, including, but not limited to, expulsion from the current and future meetings with no warning or refund.

Contact Us

Visit PublicPower.org/CustomerConnections for program updates and to register online.

Registration Questions

[email protected]

202-467-2978

Program Questions

[email protected]

202-467-2973

Sponsor Questions

[email protected]

202-467-2944

Hotel

The 2021 Customer Connections Conference will take place at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch
7700 E. McCormick Pkwy
Scottsdale, AZ  85258

The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch is located in the heart of Scottsdale. Renew your spirits at the Luna Spa, unwind by relaxing poolside, golf on adjacent 36-hole championship courses, or burn off extra energy in our fitness center. You’ll find delectable cuisine at each of our three dining spots: Kitchen West Restaurant, Bar Six40 and Twisted Vine Pool Bar & Grill.

Reservations

  • Main Telephone: (480) 991-9000
  • Group Rate: $255 (Single/Double) per night (plus 13.92% tax)
  • Reservation Cut-off Date: October 1, 2021
  • Reservation Telephone: (888) 591-1234
    • Group Code: American Public Power Association
  • Online Reservation Linkhttps://www.hyatt.com/en-US/group-booking/PHXDS/G-2221

Logistics 

  • Check in: 4 p.m. Check out: Noon
  • Parking: $24 Self-parking; $39 Valet
  • Internet access: Complimentary wireless internet in sleeping rooms

Reservations & Cancellations

The cut-off date to receive the group rate October 1, 2021. The room blocks may sell out before October 1, so early reservations are encouraged. Make your reservations directly with the hotel using the links or telephone numbers above.

Cancelled reservations that are not resold may become a financial liability for the Association, so please make your reservations thoughtfully.

Scam Alert

Please 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 APPA —in conference brochures and the website at www.PublicPower.org

Questions and Assistance

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

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

The safety of those attending the American Public Power Association (APPA) 2021 Business & Financial Conference is our top priority. We are partnering with the hotel, have talked to local health officials, and are applying lessons-learned from other associations to ensure we follow all the best practices for safely hosting in-person meetings in the current environment. We are relying on everyone to do their part to keep themselves and everyone else safe during the conference.

Below are some of the steps we are taking to ensure the safety of all meeting participants, and our expectations for all conference participants. All participants must agree to abide by these standards before they will be permitted to attend the conference. 

What attendees must do

APPA mask requirements

All conference participants will be required to wear masks in all APPA meeting areas and at official APPA functions, except when eating or drinking. This is consistent with current CDC recommendations that everyone in areas with high COVID-19 infection rates wear masks in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. 

Outside of APPA's meeting space, attendees must abide by the hotel policy and local guidelines at the time of the meeting. Attendees can step outside at any time if they would like to take off their masks. 

We know that our attendees will have different comfort levels with meeting in person again, and some attendees may have reasons to be cautious, including underlying health conditions or family members (including young children) who may still be at risk. We are relying on everyone to do their part to keep themselves and everyone else safe during the conference, and to be respectful of all other attendees and their comfort levels.

When you register

All participants must agree to the safety protocols outlined below before registering for the conference. Your registration implies your consent to adhere to these standards. 

Pre-Event Health Assessment 

Registrants will be asked to complete a self-assessment prior to traveling to the event. Participants do not need to submit a separate form; but we ask all attendees to honestly answer these questions to help us protect all conference attendees, staff, and the local community. 

  1. Have you had any of the following NEW or UNUSUAL-FOR-YOU symptoms within the past 72 hours? 
    • Fever of 100.4 degrees or above, or possible fever-like symptoms such as alternating chills and sweating.
    • Frequent cough (not a chronic cough or your normal seasonal allergies)
    • Trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or severe wheezing 
    • Muscle or body aches that are not exercise related
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of smell or taste 
    • Headache
  2. Have you, or anyone in your household or group, tested positive or are awaiting test results for COVID-19?
  3. Do you, or anyone in your household or group, have the symptoms of COVID-19 as listed above?
  4. Are you currently subject to a stay-at-home order from your doctor or state or local requirements to quarantine, isolate, or stay at home? 

If you answer YES to any of these questions, please STAY AT HOME. Please send your cancellation request to [email protected].

COVID Test Recommended 

We are recommending (not requiring) all participants get a COVID test 3 days before the conference; and again 3 days after returning home. 

Anyone who tests positive before the conference should stay home. If anyone tests positive after the conference, they should email Amy Rigney-Gay APPA’s Vice President of Human Resources & Administration at [email protected] to confidentially report so we can try to conduct contact tracing.

On-site Safety Protocols

The safety of all conference participants is our top priority. All conference participants must: 

  1. Wear a mask in all APPA meeting areas and at official APPA functions, except when eating or drinking. 
  2. Adhere to CDC, and state and local guidance before and during the event. 
  3. Complete the health check-in each day before entering the APPA meeting space (see below).
  4. Sign in at your table at each session you attend.
  5. Engage in appropriate physical distancing and hygiene practices.
  6. Be respectful of all other attendees and their comfort levels.
  7. Not attend the event if you are ill, actively experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or have recently been in close contact with someone who is experiencing COVID symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19.
  8. Notify APPA’s Vice President of Human Resources & Administration at [email protected] if you test positive for COVID-19 up to 14 days after returning home.

On-site Daily Health Check-in

Each day of the conference, all participants will be required to complete a short health questionnaire, as many of us do when we come into the office. No medical tests are required; APPA will not ask for any medical records, test results, or proof of vaccination. 

The daily health check-in will be a simple online form, asking participants to self-certify that: 

  • You are not currently experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms that can't be explained by something else;
  • You have not recently come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms; and 
  • You are continuing to follow CDC and local guidance. 

Participants must complete the daily health check-in before entering the APPA meeting space. A link will be emailed to attendees in advance, and will be available through the conference mobile app.

Show your completion screen when you arrive at the meeting space each morning to receive a colored wristband. 

  • When you complete the questionnaire, you will get a screen telling you to proceed to the meeting. Simply show this screen on your mobile device to verify you have completed your daily check in.
  • If you aren't able to show your completion screen, someone will look you up by name to verify you have completed your check-in. 

Your wristband is required for entry into all APPA sessions and activities. It also confers in-and-out privileges; once you receive your wristband for the day, you can enter and exit the APPA meeting space freely just by showing your wristband.

What we are doing

Personal Safety

APPA will take the following steps to ensure the health and safety of all meeting participants:

  • All participants (including attendees, speakers, sponsors, guests and staff) will agree to and be required to follow safety protocols put in place by APPA.
  • All participants must complete a daily health questionnaire before entering the meeting space. Attendees will receive a wristband confirming they have completed the daily check in so they may enter/exit the meeting space without having to complete it again on that day.
  • Masks are required in all APPA meeting areas and at official APPA functions, except when eating or drinking.

Meeting experience

APPA is examining every aspect of the in-person meeting experience to ensure we are taking all appropriate precautions to protect the safety of participants, including:

  • Modifying room seating and event layouts to allow for social distancing.
  • Redesigning networking opportunities to accommodate social distancing while still facilitating meaningful conversations and exchanges.
  • Holding networking events outdoors, whenever possible. 
  • Making changes at our registration desk to alleviate congestion and reduce contact points.
  • During sessions, Q&A will be administered through the conference mobile app (instead of shared microphones). 
  • APPA may employ assigned seating, queued entrances, or timed entrance and exits of meeting rooms to manage crowd control and accommodate room capacity limits, according to state or local mandates. 

Cleaning and hygiene 

APPA is working with the hotel to ensure the cleanliness of the meeting facilities. 

  • APPA will develop and institute a cleaning and sanitizing schedule with the hotel that meets the specific needs of the conference and our attendees. 
  • High-touch surfaces within the meeting space will be cleaned multiple times a day.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be positioned throughout the meeting space.
  • Additional hygienic supplies, including disinfectant wipes, gloves, and disposable masks, will be made available to attendees. 
  • APPA is working with the hotel to ensure all hotel culinary and banquet team members adhere to strict guidelines for the preparation, handling and serving of food & beverages. 
  • APPA will keep attendees updated on the hotel’s COVID related practices and protocols.  

Questions?

Contact us at [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

What are APPA mask requirements?

All institute participants will be required to wear masks in all APPA meeting areas and at official APPA functions, except when eating or drinking. This is consistent with current CDC recommendations that everyone in areas with high COVID-19 infection rates wear masks in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. 

Click here to view the latest COVID safety protocols for this event.

Where and when is the next Customer Connections Conference?

October 24-27, 2021
The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch
Scottsdale, Arizona

What is the policy on refunds, cancellations and attendee substitutions?

Registrants who cancel in writing on or before October 18, 2021, are entitled to a refund of their registration fee, minus a $50 cancellation fee. Registrants who cancel after October 18 will not receive a refund, but attendee substitutions will be allowed for this event only. Registrants and no-shows who do not cancel by October 18 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].

Can I earn educational credits for attending this conference?

Yes, you can earn the following kinds of educational credits during the conference:

  • 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) Credits from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)

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.

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. Email the completed registration form 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

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.

What is the APPA Code of Conduct for meeting attendees?

Attendees of American Public Power Association meetings agree to abide by the APPA Code of Conduct. If attendees engage in unacceptable behavior as outlined in the Code of Conduct, the Association may take any action it deems appropriate, including but not limited to, expulsion from the current and future meetings, with no warning or refund.