Utilities See Communication, Collaboration as Path to Serving Vulnerable Customers

Every utility is trying to find ways to help customers in need. And every utility is challenged by the rise in arrears that began with the onset of the pandemic. While a segment of customers has always needed assistance, the population of vulnerable customers has risen sharply since 2020 due to a perfect storm of rising energy prices, overall inflation, and a global pandemic. In response, many utilities are shifting resources to better address the needs of vulnerable customers while also safeguarding operational costs and trying to address the arrears situation. Recently Chartwell conducted interviews with 14 utilities across the United States and Canada to assess the state of affairs in helping vulnerable customers, as well as the gaps in service utilities hope to address. This report compiles learnings from those interviews as well as the needs and opportunities surrounding serving vulnerable customers. Each utility interviewed is working hard to meet the needs of its most vulnerable customers, but there is a strong consensus amongst those interviewed that every company would be more successful in these efforts by leveraging the knowledge and experience of others.


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arrears vulnerable customers