ATLANTA, Oct. 3, 2003 — Flint Energies’ online bill payment participation is nearly double the industry average, thanks in part to a new web site by Apogee Interactive that boldly features self-service functions at the top.
“One of our objectives with the new site is to increase online account management and it’s working,” said Hayley Greene, public relations manager for Flint Energies. Greene noted that 5 percent of Flint’s membership currently pays online. A recent industry study by Chartwell Inc. found that an average 2.69 percent of utility customers in North America use the Internet to view and pay their energy bills.
“We’re also seeing an increase in online requests to change account phone numbers, change billing addresses and to sign up for programs like Levelized Billing since the site went live in August,” Greene said. “These online requests free up our call center to handle other types of calls.”
“National studies indicate that customers who use online bill payment are more satisfied than customers who walk in to pay their bills,” said Susan Gilbert, president of Apogee Interactive, the Atlanta-based online solutions company that developed and hosts Flint’s web site. “Web-based customer service is more cost effective for the utility and more time efficient for the customer. They can get what they need from the utility – be it bill information, a service application, energy advice or an energy audit – when they need it rather than when the office doors are open.”
Flint has used Apogee as its web developer and host since 2000. Apogee (www.apogee.net) is a pioneer of online solutions for the energy industry, beginning with CD-based training programs and information libraries in the early 90s.
Today the company provides diverse Web-based solutions including energy calculators, content libraries, eLearning (www.Study-Center.com), demand response transaction platforms (www.demx.com), Web design and eBusiness consulting. Apogee’s clients include other cooperative, public power and investor-owned utilities such as Southern Company, FPL, TVA, BPA, Carroll EMC, Sawnee EMC, Warren RECC and many others.
Flint Energies (www.flintenergies.com) is an electric membership cooperative providing dependable energy services to more than 67,000 residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural members in parts of 17 central Georgia counties. Flint Energies is the state’s seventh largest EMC and the nation’s 25th largest electric cooperative.