By working closely with customers, providing patient and understanding assistance, offering flexible payment arrangements, and promoting available financial assistance programs, WNH decreased the number of past due notices sent in 2021 by 37 percent over the previous year. The work done by WNH’s Customer Solutions team also resulted in a marked decrease in customer disconnections and deposits collected.

As the continuation of the pandemic shifted customer needs and requirements, the utility responded by shifting focus to online account management tools and service forms.

WNH converted many PDF-only service request forms to updated, fillable online versions, which led to an increase in online form usage and lessened the reliance on phone calls and in-person meetings to make account updates. Customers were also encouraged to register for My Account and eBillling, as well as sign-up for Pre-Authorized Payment or Equal Payment Plans to help take the worry out of managing their accounts. WNH ran three eBilling campaigns for residential customers, as well as a separate campaign for small business customers, ultimately leading to 3,050 new eBilling subscribers in 2021.

Although the utility encouraged customers to use online tools, the Customer Solutions Department continued to provide exceptional service to customers who contacted WNH. Staff fielded more than 25,000 phone calls in 2021, answering 94.71 percent of those in 30 seconds or less, an increase of eight percent over 2020 and the highest percentage ever recorded by the utility. WNH also had a billing accuracy of 99.96 percent and surpassed the Ontario Energy Board’s Service Quality Indicators for 2021.