Utility response to COVID-19 offers lessons in handling future crises

By Noah Solomon, Research Manager –

It should be no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on utilities and their operations, including in billing and payment.

To address the challenges faced by customers, utilities employed a variety of program updates and changes and communication to inform these customers of the options available to them and connect them with any needed assistance.

While the pandemic, its effects and the utility response to them are not over, utilities have already started to consider how they can learn from these challenges and implement learnings to prepare for and respond to future crises.

Utilities have learned quite a bit from the COVID-19 pandemic. They learned the benefits of proactive communication about utility actions and available assistance to customers in need, which helped drive down call volume in the early days of the pandemic.

They learned the importance of accessible assistance options, moving applications for this assistance to digital formats and increasing the visibility and ease of use of electronic billing and payment, helping customers do business with their utilities more easily. The pandemic also highlighted operational inefficiencies, both internally and with third-party vendors, that utilities are now considering how to remedy before facing another potential crisis.

To read more about how utilities are leveraging these and other learnings from COVID-19 to prepare for and address future crises, read our new report on Billing and Payment in a Crisis here.