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Pepco app empowers Mid-Atlantic energy customers with paperless billingBy
Pepco Holdings (PHI), an energy company serving 2 million customers in the United States Mid-Atlantic region, has a new mobile application that allows customers to view and pay bills, enroll in paperless billing, access energy-use information and report streetlight problems.
The app, released recently for customers of the Washington, D.C.-based company’s Pepco, Delmarva Power and Atlantic City Electric subsidiaries, allows customers to pay bills from a checking account, savings account, money market account, debit card or credit card while also providing access to 12 months of bills in PDF form. It shows how utilities are leveraging mobile to streamline bill-paying and help customers manage spending more effectively.
“PHI launched its first mobile app in 2010, making it one of the early adopters of mobile technology in the industry,” said Alison Copeland, director of marketing with Pepco’s app developer, iFactor Consulting. “The app improvements are part of PHI’s ongoing commitment to improving customer service and providing customers with the information they need.
“Based on feedback from PHI customers, industry research and mobile app trends in other industries, PHI knew that providing additional options for billing and payments, access to energy usage, and new reporting tools were a must,” she said.
Users can view energy usage for multiple locations, compare their usage to similar locations and review seasonal tips for reducing energy usage. They also can view monthly energy usage data and comparisons to energy used by similar properties.
The app also includes data from the utility’s smart meter network, providing access to charts showing daily and weekly energy usage to customers who have smart meters.
Customers are expected to react positively to the new functions.
“These tools will make the app more valuable for customers,” Ms. Copeland said. “Specifically, it’s anticipated that the new billing and payment tools and access to energy usage information will prompt more frequent use of the app.
“Customer interest in the app has been evident,” she said. “Pepco customers have downloaded the app more than 235,000 times – suggesting that more than 11 percent of Pepco’s two million customers are using the app.”
In the first 30 days following the new app’s launch, Apple iOS users accessed the bill pay feature more than 15,000 times and used the app to pay 6,200 bills.
As well, users accessed a list of PDF versions of current and past bills more than 12,000 times.
By moving these transactions away from traditional channels such as the call center, the utility is expected to see improved customer satisfaction as well as cost savings.
Numerous apps promote consumer energy conservation habits, from shopping for energy efficient light bulbs, to wiser tracking of energy usage. General Electric Co. is shining a light on mobile’s role in the brand’s vision of the connected home with a new LED bulb that links to a mobile application and enables consumers to remotely control their home lighting from anywhere by syncing with their smartphones.
Pepco’s app aims to improve customer access to information and self-service tools.
“Today’s customer expects access to real-time information – energy usage is an important piece of that information,” Ms. Copeland said. “That said, industry research shows that customers who have access to energy usage and tools that allow them to compare their energy usage to other households use less electricity over time.
“Through the app, all PHI customers have access to monthly energy usage data and comparisons to energy used by similar households,” she said. “In addition, the app includes data from the utility’s smart meter network, providing access to charts showing daily and weekly energy usage to customers who have smart meters.”
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.
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