Progress Energy, Salt River Project take top honors in Chartwell’s 2008 customer service awards

Austin, TX, Oct. 14, 2008 — Utilities Salt River Project and Progress Energy were recognized for their customer relations efforts and won Chartwell’s Best Practices Awards in Customer Service and Marketing during EMACS 2008.

Phoenix-based Salt River Project won in the customer service category and Progress Energy, Raleigh, NC, was named the marketing winner by a panel of Chartwell research analysts who cover customer relations in the utility industry.

Progress Energy was presented with the Best Practices Award for Utility Marketing for its “Product Expansion Program” (PEP). The campaign is a sales-based program where call center agents use customer information to promote revenue-generating or cost-reducing energy efficient products on all applicable calls. Additionally, Progress Energy promotes these products without increasing average call handle time. PEP generated more than $1.5 million of non-regulated annualized revenue in 2007.

SRP was honored with the Best Practices Award for Customer Service for its “Smart Meter Initiatives.” The utility has installed more than 283,000 smart meters as of May 2008 under its advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) initiative. Participation in time-of-use (TOU) rates is 20 percent higher among customers with smart meters. SRP also is receiving high customer satisfaction marks with M-Power, a pre-pay program that has evolved over the years into a vital part of SRP’s smart metering program. M-Power customers have reduced energy consumption by an average of 12 percent, while SRP has collected $20 million of outstanding bad debt.

The Chartwell Best Practices Awards are presented by Chartwell in several categories throughout the year, with its largest awards program, The Chartwell Best Practices Awards for Marketing and Customer Service, held annually during EMACS — The Customer Experience Conference. There were 35 entries from North American utilities for consideration in 2008. Past winners include PECO, LCEC, We Energies, KCP&L, Duke Energy, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Otter Tail Power and BC Hydro.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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