Customer Connections Conference

Customer Connections Conference Sessions—Monday P.M.

Monday, November 5

1:30 — 2:45 p.m.

Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

Going Mobile: Empowering Staff in the Field
Mobile workforce solutions can enhance the quality and speed of customer response by improving interaction between field crews and office staff. Hear customer service and IT perspectives from a utility that has started to allow crew members in all departments (electric, water, wastewater) to use iPads configured with apps, email, and web resources for their daily job functions. Learn what’s right for you and when and how you should let your field staff take their desks on the road.

  • Emily Dexheimer, Customer Service Representative, Hannibal Board of Public Works, Missouri
  • Matthew Jones, Senior IT Specialist, Hannibal Board of Public Works, Missouri
  • Kimberly Williams, Manager, Growth Markets, National Information Solutions Cooperative, Lake Saint Louis, Missouri

Integrating Arising Technologies into New Services
Innovations are transforming how and what energy services are provided to customers. Discover emerging technologies prompting new trends and review the implications for your utility. Examine the opportunities and pitfalls of new industry trends in demand side management and distributed generation. Hear about healthier learning environments in classrooms using tunable lighting, improved efficiencies in data center servers with liquid cooling, and how the rise of connected devices is creating new partnership opportunities for utilities and customers.

  • Emily Levin, Managing Consultant, Innovative Programs, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Burlington, Vermont
  • Mary Medeiros McEnroe, Public Benefits Program Manager, Silicon Valley Power, Santa Clara, California
  • Cory Neeley, CEM, Energy Services Representative, WPPI Energy, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Account Management for All Sizes
Does your key accounts list go beyond big businesses in your community? Have you considered the special energy needs — and value — of small and medium customers? Get a fresh perspective on how to approach account management for your small and Tell mid-sized business customers. Learn how to give them the attention they deserve without depleting your resources. Dive into case studies and lessons learned at other utilities.

  • Kerri Davis, Manager, Commercial & Key Accounts, Austin Energy, Texas
  • Nathan Shannon, Deputy Director, Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin Whitman, Vice President, Energy Markets, FirstFuel, Lexington, Massachusetts

Public Communications Roundtable: Rapid Fire
Join your fellow communicators to tackle the common challenges you share. Submit topics in advance for a rapid-fire Q&A session. You can be sure you’ll get more than you give at this roundtable.


3:15 — 4:30 p.m.

Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs 1.25 / CPEs 1.5

Inside Out: Internal Communications for Better Service
When all your staff are aligned to your mission and appropriately empowered, they can build culture of customer service and drive success for your utility. A strong internal communications strategy can develop staff, foster a sense of community, and encourage employees to be better ambassadors for the utility when talking to customers. See how utilities like yours are overhauling internal communications to support strategic priorities, boost employee engagement, and better serve customers. 

  • Chuck Allen, Public Affairs Manager, Grant County PUD No. 2, Ephrata, Washington;
  • Julee Cunningham, Communications & Business Readiness Director, Snohomish County OUD, Everett, Washington
  • Aaron Swaney, Communications/Marketing Consultant, Snohomish County OUD, Everett, Washington

Growing Pains: Grid Impact of Intermittent Loads
As distributed energy resources proliferate and load patterns change in response to new technologies, what is the impact on utilities and the electric grid? In the past, it resulted in transmission constraints and congestion. Moving forward we know that even high-use DER customers will likely remain connected to the grid. Understand forthcoming grid challenges and opportunities and how these will impact your energy services offerings.

  • Giovanni Damato, Senior Project Manager, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, California
  • Eric Walters, Administrative and Fuels Operations Director, Gainesville Regional Utilities, Florida

Navigating Tough Situations with Big Customers 
Managing key accounts requires you to juggle creating great services, responding to customer feedback, and managing costs — not to mention addressing sensitive issues relating to rate and reliability requirements. Often, it takes more than good manners and efficient service. Get tips on 
how to see both sides of an issue and carve out action items for a win-win, while avoiding negativity so you can provide the best service you can to your key accounts.

  • Raymond Harper, Account Advisor, Major Accounts Team, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, California
  • Arielle Romero, Key Customer Representative, Silicon Valley Power, Santa Clara, California
  • Michael Vigeant, CEO, GreatBlue Research, Cromwell, Connecticut

Tell the Tale on Rates
You know your customers do not live and breathe kilowatt-hours and demand charges like your utility colleagues do. On the flip side, customers only think about your utility briefly when they get their bill. So how do you explain the charges, provide rationale for any rate increases, and tell them how your utility’s rates compare — all in the brief window you have? Get tips and resources you can bring back to your community. 

  • David Mehlhaff, Chief Communications Officer, Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, Kansas
  • Kelley Porter, Manager, Customer & Corporate Communications, Lincoln Electric System, Nebraska


4:45 — 5:30 p.m.

Recommended CEUs .1 / PDHs .75 / CPEs .9

Resource Central: Association Benefits for You
Come discover how the American Public Power Association can go to work for you. Find out about Association resources, and get tips on how you can leverage them to make your job easier. Ask questions, get answers, and share your ideas on what the Association can do to help you succeed.

  • Jeff Haas, Vice President, Membership & Strategic Development, American Public Power Association
  • Ursula Schryver, Vice President, Education & Customer Programs, American Public Power Association