Happy New Year 2020!

This is the annual end-of-the-year issue, where I usually take a moment to look back on the year past and to the year ahead. This year that seems even more relevant as we say goodbye to the decade of the teens (I said goodbye to my teens a long time ago!) and look ahead to the 20’s!

Tenth year!

2020 will mark the tenth year of publishing the Utility Information Pipeline. What began as just an idea in the fall of 2010 led to the first issue on January 4, 2011. That inaugural newsletter, announcing what I was planning to do and inviting readers to subscribe, was emailed to a couple hundred Logics customers. From that group, 76 people responded and became charter subscribers. Of those original 76, 37 are still subscribers today – 214 issues later!

Looking ahead

The 2019 Utility Fee Survey was the fourth Utility Fee Survey, so I’ve collected enough data to begin analyzing trends. Look for a couple issues in early 2020 to examine these trends, including one that analyzes cut-off and reconnect fees. Along with that issue, I’ll be unveiling a new online tool, much like the Days of Exposure calculator, to calculate your optimum cut-off fee.

2020 Utility Staffing Survey

2020 will be an even year, so that means it will be time for the biennial Utility Staffing Survey again. Look for the 2020 Utility Staffing Survey invitation in the spring with the results to be published a few weeks after that.

Blog moving to EdmundsGovTech.com

With Logics’ acquisition by Edmunds GovTech earlier this year, my blog will be moving from the Logics website to EdmundsGovTech.com early in 2020. When that happens, this will be one of the first places it will be announced.

Speaking engagements

Also, with the Edmunds acquisition, management is very much interested in having me speak to more groups. If you are part of a trade association and would like to have me speak at your annual conference or training session, please give me a call at 919-673-4050, or email me at gsanders@edmundsgovtech.com.

New years’ resolutions and goals

Happy New Year 2020! If one of your goals for the new year is to improve your utility business office operation, please give me a call at 919-673-4050, or email me at gsanders@edmundsgovtech.com to see how a business review could help you.

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© 2019 Gary Sanders

Is your utility losing credibility…?

Over the course of the next few Utility Information Pipeline issues, I’ll be analyzing and reviewing some of the trends I observed from the 2019 Utility Fee Survey. If you need a refresher, here are links to the three results issues for the 2019 Utility Fee Survey:

But before we start analyzing the data, let’s take a look at something else that stood out to me.

Generic email addresses

One of the things that surprised me about the survey responses is the number of utilities still using generic email addresses. By this, I mean an email address without a domain name specific to the utility. For example, xyzutility@gmail.com rather than jdoe@xyzutility.com.

Over the seven-year history of the Utility Fee Survey, the percentage of generic email addresses has dropped slightly, with the exception of a small uptick in 2017:

A bigger surprise

Even more surprising to me were the attendees from a recent utility conference where I presented my Improving Revenue Collections for Utilities presentation. A whopping 68.75% of the utility staff (this excludes board members and non-utility employees) attending the presentation had generic email addresses!

Branded email means credibility

A Verisign survey, dating back to September 2015, “found that 65 percent of consumers believe a company-branded email is more credible than a business using a free email account.” Even though your utility may not be a for-profit business, the need for credibility is no different!

If this was the case in 2015, I have to believe it’s even more important now – over four years later!

How to solve this

There’s an easy, low-cost way to solve this. First, secure a domain name for your utility. If you already have a website, you’ve got this step covered.

Next, signup for Google’s G Suite which provides branded email, shared calendars, and cloud storage for as low as $6 per user per month. You get the same easy-to-use email interface you may already be using for your personal email with a branded email address identifying your utility.

If you’re considering doing this, please contact me and I can provide you with a promotion code good for 20% off the first year of either the G Suite Basic plan or G Suite Business plan.

Questions about how to do this?

If you have questions about getting started with branded email addresses for your utility, please give me a call at 919-673-4050, or email me at gsanders@edmundsgovtech.com and I’ll be glad to assist you.

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© 2019 Gary Sanders