How Utilities can better serve Commercial and Industrial Customers during the COVID-19 Crisis
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- Mar 26, 2020 11:22 am GMT
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Load profiles for C&I customers have changed drastically in recent weeks. Utility Dive reports that Italy’s peak demand has reduced 19 – 20%, due to large-scale restaurant, entertainment, office tower, and factory shut-downs. In contrast, essential goods and food businesses, as well as some medical device manufacturers, are hiring by the thousands. All of this means that C&I bills will change dramatically. This may prompt C&I customers to re-evaluate energy options, such as direct access.
It is now more important than ever for utilities to provide timely and accurate billing-related information to C&I customers. This is critical to retain them as utility customers, and to enable the C&I customer to remain in business during the crisis. Placing a moratorium on failure to pay service terminations was a critical first step but may not be enough.
Commercial and Industrial customers will have several cost related questions for their energy providers. Some of these questions are similar to questions they have been asking all along. Am I on the best rate plan? How will my bill change if I were to increase production 20%? In the time of the COVID-19 crisis, these questions will increase in volume and complexity.
A high speed enterprise rating engine, capable of simulating bills under different scenarios, can provide front-line call center agents and key account managers the information needed to answer questions. The engine takes a load profile, either historic or projected, and prices it on multiple rate plans in real-time and at massive scale (millions per hour).
During the COVID-19 crisis this capability can quickly help a utility provide energy cost information and analysis in real-time for C&I customers via their key account manager, call center and / or online. And as it’s more critical than ever for C&I customers stay on top of their costs, utilities can build loyalty in this time of uncertainty.
Bill-to-Date and Bill Forecast
For businesses facing an economic crisis, and not having the historic basis to estimate their next energy bill, providing bill-to-date information could be critical. As well as monthly bill projections, daily and hourly energy cost information.
Best Rate Analysis
Many C&I Customers may no longer be on the best rate. Their load profile changes may be temporary or permanent. In addition, many C&I customers may use this as a time to re-assess alternative energy providers. Being able to analyze C&I customers’ annual load profiles across multiple rate plans may be critical.
Some Utilities may choose to proactively assess whether each C&I customer is on the best rate plan or even on the correct rate plan. Enterprise Rating Engines provide the capability to price compare load profiles across multiple rate plans identifying the best rate plan for each individual customer. With the ability to price millions of load profiles across multiple rate plans in a matter of hours or less, utilities can ensure that each and every C&I customer is on the best rate plan proactively.
Retailtouchpoints.com says “It is increasingly important to have clear communication with customers during the coronavirus pandemic…”. And BrandQuarterly.com says ‘Not disclosing information customers want to know will destroy opportunities to foster loyalty”. Utilities have the opportunity to do both and help our communities recover in this time of crisis.