August 25, 2020
Waunakee Utilities – Providing Value to Customers through Advanced Technology
Waunakee Utilities, a locally owned and not-for-profit electric and water utility in Waunakee, Wis., has adopted industry-leading technology to best serve their community. The utility collaborated with WPPI Energy, their power provider, to accomplish this.
WPPI Energy is owned and governed by the utilities it serves. Together, members share advanced technologies and services, such as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). Many member utilities are also adopting MyAccount technology, a self-service tool that allows customers to view and pay their bill online, understand their power consumption, enable notifications such as high usage alerts, and compare their rate options.
Waunakee Utilities began implementing AMI in 2018 and recently introduced MyAccount as an added benefit for their customers.
Since rolling out MyAccount, the utility gained more than 1,900 registered users; this amounts to 28% of Waunakee Utilities’ customers.
“We have already seen the benefits of the advanced meters for our operations,” said General Manager Tim Herlitzka of Waunakee Utilities. “Now with MyAccount, we can bring those benefits and the real value of the technology to our customers. It is so much more than a tool for bill pay.”
In the first six months, Waunakee delivered value for its customers through MyAccount features such as:
- Displaying the utility’s live outage map directly on the MyAccount site, providing customers easy access to up-to-date information.
- Fostering direct communication between the utility and its customers. For example, Waunakee Utilities used MyAccount to distribute COVID-19-related information directly to business customers and customized the information by rate class.
- Offering high-usage notifications. Customers are able to opt in and choose to receive text or email alerts about issues such as high electric or water usage.
- Sharing information in real time. Office staff at Waunakee Utilities can view information within seconds of when a customer makes a payment, providing operational benefit to the utility and ensuring prompt service for customers.
As Waunakee Utilities and their customers continue to see benefits of the new technology, the staff is now working to promote autopay and paperless billing options with outreach efforts such as bill inserts and social media posts. To celebrate Public Power Week in October, the utility will hold a drawing through which MyAccount participants can win a smart thermostat.
“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from customers stating it’s nice to be able to receive alerts for both high electric and water usage,” said Herlitzka. “As we look to the future, we hope to work with residents and businesses on managing their usage by setting a savings goal and tracking their progress, which is possible to do through MyAccount. We also hope to use the rate analyzer to help customers determine if it would be beneficial to switch to an off-peak rate structure. In all, we’re happy with the benefits we see and we look forward to upcoming opportunities.”