Visit to avoid busiest customer service times

CPS Energy customers’ frustration often reaches its peak in the first week of September.

Sweltering summer heat makes for higher bills than the month before – often the highest of the year.

Those who don’t adjust their thermostat are seeing the results of a system running day and night.  Many people are unaware that an air conditioning system can only cool about 20 degrees below the outside temperature.

Many customers, shocked, call customer service for answers, or to set up a payment system, only to end up on hold, or with a busy signal beeping in their ear.

Thousands more customers are also calling in, trying to end or begin service in time for the start of the school year.

It all adds up to CPS Energy’s busiest week of the year.  Lingering delays from the estimated billing problems from earlier this year have made it even harder for customers to get through.

Maria Koudouris, CPS Energy’s senior vice president of customer service sat down with WOAI’s Delaine Mathieu for a segment that aired Sunday night to share ways customers can get the help they need during this busy period.

Even though CPS Energy hired an additional 40 temporary customer service reps to augment its regular staff of 68 for the busy summer season, last month they handled more than 120,000 calls!

The busiest call times are early in the week between 9 – 11 a.m. and 3 – 5 p.m., so if it’s possible to wait until Thursday or Friday, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Koudouris recommended doing so.

Even better, she said, most customers can get their issue resolved online, where there’s never a wait. Using Manage My Account, customers can pay their bills, transfer service, update their information, set up a payment plan, start and stop service online.

It’s easy to set up an account, and free.

Those with simple service needs, like making a payment can call 353-2222 after hours, Koudouris said, and use the automated service, in English or in Spanish.

September will remain busy, Koudouris said, as the customer service department finishes adjusting bills from the period several months ago when a high percentage of customers’ bills were being estimated.

Now, CPS Energy is back to the industry standard of estimating only about 1 percent of bills per month – often because of access issues, with meter readers encountering locked gates, dense shrubbery or dogs.

But there are still customers who had their bills estimated several months in a row, Koudouris said, and CPS Energy is still working to correct those past bills.

“We appreciate customers’ patience during this time,” she said, “and we’ve pledged to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Tracy Idell Hamilton

Tracy Idell Hamilton was part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.

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