Calling himself the “world’s greatest consumer,” utility watchdog Michael Shames helped in 1981 to create the Utility Consumers’ Action Network (UCAN), where he has served as executive director...
Paying with Plastic
Customers demand real choices for bill payment.
acceptance should be viewed as a strategic investment in expanding customer engagement electronically—a capability that utilities and energy service providers need in order to attain wide-scale adoption of smart-grid customer programs. In this regard, utilities and regulators need to understand that payment card interchange and TPP fees are relatively small costs to absorb when considering the growth opportunities posed by customer-facing smart grid offerings. While enabling growth in credit, debit and prepaid cards for bill payment isn’t the end game, it is a key part of the solution if utilities are to deliver on their customers’ expectations.
1. Aite Group online survey of 500 consumers, January 2008.
2. The Electronic Payments Study by Dove Consulting on behalf of the Federal Reserve System, March 2008.
3. Estimating the Cost of Being Unbanked , by Tyler Desmond and Charles Sprenger, The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Spring 2007.
4. The Environmental Impact of Mail: A Baseline , PitneyBowes sponsored study, June 2008.