Powering Strong Communities
Customer Connections Conference

Customer Connections Conference Sessions—Monday A.M.

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Monday, October 28


8:00 — 9:00 a.m.
All tracks  Opening General Session
  Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1 / CPEs 1.2


  • Jeffrey Stewart, Interim Director of Utilities, Lafayette Utilities System, Louisiana

The Changing Energy Landscape and the Evolving Customer Conversation 

A new customer care landscape is emerging for public power. Customers are more informed, and their concerns range from basic billing inquiries to more sophisticated questions new technologies and utility offerings. Utility professionals must acquire a broader understanding of not only their programs and services, but also how to provide answers and solutions to customers who may possess varying levels of understanding.

Hear about on the trends that are continuing to change the utility industry and what it means for your customers. Get insight on the challenges you may face, the types of questions you are likely to encounter, and the skillsets you need to start developing to position yourself and your utility for success in the new energy landscape.

With more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry, Kelly-Detwiler focuses on the development of retail competitive markets, new trends, technologies, regulatory and market developments, and sustainable solutions that create value in the energy space. He is an active contributor at Forbes.com and author of a forthcoming book on innovation and disruption in the electric power industry.

  • Peter Kelly-Detwiler, Co-Founder, NorthBridge Energy Partners 

Honoring our Colleagues
Excellence in Public Power Communication Videos

Innovative, informative and inspiring: view the winning videos from the Excellence in Public Power Communications Awards submissions. 



9:30 — 10:30 a.m.

Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1 / CPEs 1.2

CS  Customer Service Roundtable: Shared Solutions 
  Connect with other customer service professionals and learn from their insights. Share new initiatives, bring your problems, and get solutions from public power utilities like yours.  

PC  Public Communications Roundtable: Tips and Tools
  Gather with your utility communications peers to discuss pressing public communications challenges. Topics include communicating about reliability, ADA compliance issues, “must-haves” in your communications toolbox, and building a successful public power brand.

ES  Energy Services Roundtable: Getting Smart
  Come and share your knowledge and questions about smart communities, smart energy, and what goes into building the smart utility of the future. Walk away with new friends and smart tips to implement back at your own community. 

KA  Key Accounts Rapid Fire Roundtable
  Join fellow attendees for a to discuss what keeps you all up at night. Discuss hot topics in subgroups defined by utility size. Learn what’s happening at public power utilities across the country.

The Association reserves the right to limit roundtable discussions to employees of public power utilities, state and regional associations, and joint action agencies.


10:45 a.m. — Noon

Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5


  Customer Onboarding: It Starts with “Hello”  
  As a public power utility, your customers are also your owners and neighbors. The first few weeks are when your utility can make or break a relationship with a new or relocating customer. When and how do you connect with your new customers? What are the various touchpoints on the customer journey? How can you show customers that they have a voice in decision-making? Get answers and tips to make your customer onboarding process engaging, interactive, and effective.

  • Jennifer Gary, Marketing Manager, Customer Experience, Entergy Services, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Joshua Platt, Client Success Director, Questline, Dublin, Ohio

PC  More than a Muni: Do They Know You as Public Power? 
  Your utility may be good at talking to customers about rates, rebates, and new energy programs. But are you telling the public power story? How many of your stakeholders know your utility is community-owned and what that means? Understand why it’s important to brand yourself as part of the community and how and when you should communicate the distinctive advantages of public power. Hear how other utilities have built goodwill and averted crises by raising awareness of public power.

  • Emily Berard-Boutte, Business and Marketing Analyst, Lafayette Utilities System, Louisiana
  • Cathryn Lacy, Utility Marketing Program Coordinator, Lakeland Electric, Florida

ES  Energy Programs: One Size Does NOT Fit All
  Energy services programs must factor in social and economic equity as well as complex technical, legal, and policy considerations. Discover how utilities like yours have engaged with community members to improve the design of energy programs and increase participation from diverse, hard-to-reach groups like low and moderate income customers. Understand how to differentiate your audiences and tailor programs to their needs. From incentives to engagement strategies, discover what works and what doesn’t, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

  • Kyle Fricker, PhD, Technology Manager, Solar Energy Technologies Office, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.
  • Brett Niemi, Senior Energy Services Representative, WPPI Energy, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
  • Emily Prehoda, Policy & Innovation Director, Chart House Energy, Muskegon, Michigan
  • Jessica Sutorus, Environmental Conservation Supervisor, Colton Public Utilities, California

KA  Upgrading Your Key Accounts Toolbox
  From sustainability to incentives, the needs of your commercial and industrial customers are evolving. How do you keep up with them? Discover how to support and grow businesses in your community to enhance your reputation and revenue. Learn to build an effective key accounts team, understand what your large customers want, and develop short and long-term plans to meet their needs. Discuss how to leverage your unique strengths as a public power utility.

  • Brian Ho, Premier Account Manager, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, California
  • Erick Rheam, President, Team Rheam Productions, Inc., Clear Creek, Indiana
  • Michael Vigeant, CEO, Great Blue Research Inc., Glastonbury, Connecticut


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