Atlanta, GA – Business growth and innovation in the utility industry were key topics at this year’s annual Allconnect Partner Summit, which featured more than 100 U.S. energy company leaders and industry experts in San Diego, California September 12-14, 2017.
In her keynote presentation, Caroline Winn, Chief Operating Officer for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), commented that: “Customer expectations, the regulatory environment and climate policy – combined with the acceleration of technology – are all impacting how we do business.” She then discussed examples of how SDG&E is responding to these changes, including the expansion of solar installations, electric vehicle charging stations and energy storage.
H.G. Chissell, Founder and CEO of Advanced Energy Group, LLC, kicked off the event Tuesday afternoon, sharing the importance of stakeholder engagement, breakthrough leadership and becoming the ‘utility of the future’ today. “To ensure the best utility of the future,” said Chissell, “we need to lead the right conversation today with the right diversity of active stakeholders aligned to drive the best outcome for society.”
The conference also featured a panel of executives discussing the evolution of customer service. Lisa Alexander, Vice President of Customer Solutions and Communications at SoCal Gas; Scott Crider, Vice President of Customer Services at SDG&E; and Chris Cardenas, Customer Services, Vice-President, PPL Electric Utilities, all shared their experiences related to the rapidly changing relationship between consumers and their utilities.
“Our Summit provides a unique opportunity to be inspired by the best practices and innovative customer engagement solutions of industry leaders,” said Kim Shumway, EVP of Partner Services and Business Development for Allconnect. “Our goal is to not only explore the latest energy trends, but also demonstrate how the intersection of technology, data analytics and customer engagement truly connects customers to their utility.
Red Ventures, a leading digital consumer choice platform which recently acquired Allconnect, made its debut at the summit with an introduction from President Steve Sibley. Pete Weir, vice president, then analyzed consumer digital trends and how the future of mobile, messaging, voice and 5G impact how partners will engage with customers over the next decade.
Other presenters and panelists included:
• Gary Grant, Vice President of Customer Service at FirstEnergy
• Deb Owen, Vice President of Customer Care Centers at NiSource
• Neena Master, Director of the Customer Contact Center at SoCal Gas
• Frank Hinckle, Director of Customer Account Management at Dominion Energy
• Eric Morris, Customer Programs Manager at American Electric Power (AEP)
• Todd Studnicka, Director of Sales and Marketing at Consumers Energy
• Hal Jensen, Executive Director of Customer Programs and Services at Westar Energy
• Isaac Perez, Manager, Customer Relations Center, Westar Energy
• Russell Hinton, Director Retail Products and Services, Dominion Retail
• Justin Good, Manager, Customer Contact Center, FirstEnergy
The Partner Summit concluded with a tour of the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center, a double LEED® platinum facility that offers training, education and innovation around energy efficiency technologies and green building practices. Attendees heard presentations on solar and electric vehicles from Linda Brown, Senior Director of Clean Transportation at SDG&E; Gail Allen, Business Lead/Project Manager, One CIS Project at KCP&L; Ken Parks, Customer Generation Manager at SDG&E; and Tammie Rhea, Program Representative at Westar Energy.