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Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

Rate Structure Survey Results Presented at the April 30th RPU Board Meeting

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

The Rochester Public Utility Board was presented with the rate structure survey results at the April Board Meeting by representatives from Great Blue Research.

The purpose of the survey was to identify customer views and preferences with regards to the residential rate structure, energy conservation, knowledge and perception of electrification, preferred methods of communication, overall expectations of RPU, and overall satisfaction with RPU’s electric service.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • Three quarters of RPU Ratepayers consider the environmental impacts of their daily electric usage.
  • Slightly more than half are willing to pay more for clean energy.
  • 74% would be willing to change their consumption habits if they would pay 20% less for energy.
  • Close to half of ratepayers would welcome information on energy usage with most preferring direct mail – however, interest in emailed information  is on the rise.
  • Two thirds of customers would be ok to have their air conditioner interrupted for 15 minutes an hour on “peak usage days” but most – over 63% were not willing to have RPU manage their smart home devices to achieve the same goal.
  • Overall ratepayers are satisfied with RPU (91.2%).

“The information that we received back from the survey will be used to help the RPU Board set a direction for future residential rate structures as well as make decisions regarding electrification, energy conservation, energy consumption behaviors, and customer communications. Hearing from and considering the input of our customers is vital to being a community focused utility,” said RPU General Manager Mark Kotschevar.

The complete survey results will be available to view on the RPU website.

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 55,000 customers. Water customers number more than 40,000. RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive. Current initiatives include photovoltaic offerings, wind energy, energy and water efficient equipment, and electric vehicle charging.

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RPU’s Rate Structure Survey FAQs

Friday, February 15th, 2019

Q- Who is doing the survey?

  • RPU has hired GreatBlue Research to facilitate the phone survey and online survey.

Q- What is the point of the survey?

  • The RPU Utility Board wants to gather feedback from residential customers about their level of understanding and support for different types of rate structures.

Q- What are the rate structures that GreatBlue Research will be asking about?

  • The Flat Rate Structure with monthly customer charge entails a consistent rate for electricity use at any time of day, resulting in a lower cost for low energy users.
  • Time of Use Rates charge customers higher rates for using electricity during peak times and lower rates during off-peak times, providing customers with options to reduce their bill by modifying their behavior.
  • The Block Rate charges customers based on changing levels of energy consumption – customers who use more energy will be charged at a higher rate, resulting in an increased cost to high energy users.
  • The Inclining Customer Charge bills customers a monthly fee that doesn’t change based on usage. The more electricity a customer uses, the higher the monthly charge, but the cost per kilo watt hour will not change, yielding a lower cost for low energy users.


Q- What is the window of time that they will be calling RPU customers?

  • GreatBlue Research will be calling customers from February 20th to March 6th.

Q- How long will the phone survey take?

  • The phone survey will take approximately 8-10 minutes.

Q- How will I know if it is Great Blue Research calling me?

  • GreatBlue Research will show up on caller ID and the phone number will be 860.740.4000 or a variation of that (i.e., 860.740.4005, 4006, 4007 etc.).

Q- What if I’m not able to find time to do a phone survey, but would like to provide feedback still?

  • An online survey link will be available on the RPU website after March 6th.

RPU names Krista Boston new Director of Customer Relations

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Krista Boston joins RPU with a close to 25-year career with the state focusing on services redesign and leadership in designing innovative services for  Minnesota citizens of many ages, abilities and backgrounds in partnership with counties, cities, nonprofits and providers of health and human services.

Boston has a law degree and maintains voluntary non-practice status.  Through her work at the state and in collaboration with many local partners, her career has focused on seeking ways to build service delivery models that help people get access to information to make important decisions, as well as get support and advocacy through a variety of means.  Her work includes websites, face to face programs, call center services and other ways to provide information that is easy to understand and accessible.  She sees this as key to her work at RPU leading the customer relations and marketing groups.

She was most recently the Director of Consumer Assistance Programs for the Minnesota Board on Aging and through that, and other roles, led visible projects over the years that included services redesign efforts for the elderly, children, people in crisis and veterans.  Boston is also an adjunct faculty at Metropolitan State University teaching instructional design and staff development.

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 50,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 40,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include photovoltaic offerings, wind energy, energy and water efficient equipment, and electric vehicle charging.

 

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Involuntary Disconnection Policy

Friday, March 30th, 2018

RPU is updating its Involuntary Disconnection policy, formerly the Cold Weather Disconnect policy, to include current state statutes.  Extreme heat conditions and military service have been added to the policy to protect qualifying residential customers from disconnection. No other substantial changes have been made to the policy. The policy is currently in draft form and open for public review; it has not been approved yet. Click here for the full policy Involuntary Disconnection – clean version. If you have comments or questions you may contact Tony Benson at tbenson@rpu.org or 507-280-1534.

RPU warns of recent utility scam calls

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) has heard from customers that scam calls are being made to some RPU customers. RPU staff has collected information regarding the scam from customers to share with all RPU customers and the Rochester community.

The Scam –The callers are targeting commercial customers, but residential customers need to be vigilant as well. A caller states that they are from RPU and that a payment must be made to avoid disconnection. On caller ID the phone number shown is RPU’s customer line 507.280.1500 by using technology that can manipulate the number to show RPU’s actual customer service line. If the call goes unanswered, a message is left stating to call the phone number 1.844.287.6955. This is not an RPU phone number. When called, they use RPU’s on-hold messaging and then the person answering says that they are from RPU, but they are not an RPU employee or affiliated with RPU.

Identifying a Scam – RPU will never request bank or secure personal information from you over the phone unless you ask to discuss your account. The RPU representative will then ask for information to identify who you are.

What to do if you receive a scam call:

  • If someone calls threatening to cut off your power if you don’t pay, hang up.
  • Call RPU at 507.280.1500 to report the scam.
  • Never give personal or financial information to an unknown caller.
  • Remember that RPU will never use threatening language or make forceful demands for payment.

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 53,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 39,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.