Panel Discussion: COVID-19 Success Stories and Lessons Learned (So Far)

Panel Discussion: COVID-19 Success Stories and Lessons Learned (So Far)

As the pandemic spread across the U.S. and Canada, utilities rightly focused on the safety of their employees and customers to combat the virus. The subsequent economic shutdown led to immediate economic insecurity for many customers, some for the first time. These twin crises led utilities to make changes across their business, from field services to technology rollouts. Some of these changes, like the acceleration of digital channels, will be permanent, while others, like the suspension of disconnections, will be temporary responses.

Panelists will discuss their successes, lessons learned and plans for what comes next.  


Alex Schott, Director of Customer Communications, ONE Gas 

Alex Schott is Director of Customer Communications at ONE Gas, which provides natural gas to more than 2 million customers in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. At ONE Gas, Alex oversees and manages a team responsible for strategic planning and tactical execution of customer communications, reputation management, media relations, digital strategy and corporate branding. Alex has a 20-year career leading communications and marketing teams at Fortune 500 companies in the utility and telecommunications industries. Previous roles in his career include serving in leadership positions at CenturyLink, one of the largest communications and network providers in the world, and Entergy, an integrated energy company that serves 2.9 million customers in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Mississippi.  

Chris Jackson, Manager, Billing Support Services, JEA 

Chris Jackson is the manager of Billing Support Services at JEA, the eighth largest municipal utility in the nation. Chris is accountable for the accurate and timely distribution of 4.8M utility bills annually, which reflect a gross revenue of $1.4B to the company. In addition to JEA, Chris’s leadership roles span 20+ years of customer service experience. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power Program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and is a member of the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society. Chris and his wife Roxanne enjoy travel, family, and life in Florida. 

Tomaso Gianelli, Senior Manager, Business Customer Division, Southern California Edison 

As the Senior Manager for the Business Customer Division’s Outage Management and Communications Team, Tomaso’s team is the customers advocate within SCE. Tomaso’s team works to educate customers & employees on outages so they can make informed business decisions to keep their employees safe and their down time to a minimum. In addition, the Outage Management Team oversees initiatives that will provide all customers a better customer outage experience for both standard outages and Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) outages. Tomaso previously worked in Edison’s Grid Operations Department, the 24-hour repair & dispatch center for all outages throughout SCE’s 50,000 square mile territory. 

John Bord, Manager of Customer Experience, Tucson Electric Power 

John is accountable for analyzing and understanding the company’s residential and commercial customers through primary research initiatives, market segmentation and business intelligence.  John supports customer-facing business units to enhance the customer experience for energy efficiency programs, new product development, business communications, billing and payments, renewables, transmission and distribution, customer service and call center communications.