SBU Launches Customer Portal (7/12/2016)
Sturgeon Bay Utilities (SBU) now offers an online portal to help customers monitor and manage their energy and water usage. The portal, called MyMeter, provides customers with secure online access to their electric and water data. SBU is offering this tool as a way to pass along the benefits of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), give customers more control of their data, and improve communication between the utility and customers.
Paying It Forward: The Benefits of AMI
SBU implemented Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) in 2014 and 2015. This technology provides more detailed and useful data about individual customers' usage and usage across the service area. With AMI, it's easier to track trends, outage data, and the effects of external variables like weather, schedules, and travel. MyMeter makes this data accessible to customers as well as to the utility staff.
Customer Control of Their Bill
This technology gives customers more control over what their bill looks like every month. Instead of just seeing how much they owe, they can now access data that can give them an idea of what contributed to that charge. The Energy Challenge feature helps customers save energy, have a positive impact on the environment, and reduce their monthly bill. Customers can set a goal in their portal to reduce their energy consumption by a certain percentage, then view their progress month-to-month.
AMI and MyMeter can also improve communication between the utility and customers. AMI allows utilities to know faster when there is something that might be of concern, such as a leaky faucet or a power outage during the off-season.
“That’s a big deal when such a large percentage of our residential customers are seasonal. They may live in Chicago or Milwaukee, but they maintain a second home in Sturgeon Bay,” said Jim Stawicki, Utility Manager at SBU. “In late December, after we got 13 inches of heavy, wet snow, a seasonal customer called to see if he had power at his home. We pinged the meter and confirmed his home had electricity. That saves us a truck roll, or the customer a trip.”
Customers can also receive these types of alerts through the MyMeter portal, which allows them to be proactive, even when they are several miles away.
Leading the Way
SBU is one of two WPPI Energy utilities piloting MyMeter (Waupun Utilities is the other). After analyzing what is learned, the tool will likely become available to other member utilities towards the end of the year.
"Over time, we’d like to see it be a ‘one-stop shop’ for utility interaction with the customer. This would include bill presentment and online payment, historical billing, customer program information, service start and stop, etc," said Beth Carlson, WPPI Energy program manager for this project.
MyMeter is available on any Internet-capable device. Quick start instructions for setting up a MyMeter account will be enclosed with the SBU bill that will be mailed in July. These step-by-step instructions, as well as a detailed user guide, are also be available, click here to get started.