The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has inked an agreement with telecommunications company IT&E to improve the corporation's call center service, according to chief financial officer Charles Warren.
The agreement is for two years with an estimated cost of about $180,000 per year. The contract, according to Warren, will not impact the customer service staff at the CUC Customer Center.
“With the goal of improving customer service and access to CUC departments, CUC has contracted with IT&E to provide 24/7 call center services. Any CUC department/division (including trouble calls) can now be reached by calling 664-4282,” according to Warren.
He said all calls will be answered by a live operator, and will either be handled directly or connected to the appropriate CUC employee.
According to Warren, among the key advantages of the new contract to CUC is that its customers can reach any department by dialing a single, easy-to-remember number, 664-4CUC. Previously, he said, over two dozen numbers were in use to reach various departments.
Also, a live operator will answer 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except in very unusual circumstances. If all operators are busy, calls automatically go to voice mail and will be replied to as soon as possible.
Once appropriate security procedures are in place, the IT&E operators will be able to provide certain account information to customers, even if the call is after normal business hours, he added.
“No more busy signals when trying to call CUC-currently one of the most frequent complaints made by customers,” added Warren.
CUC also recently signed an agreement with Nighthawk Total Control, a Dallas-based subsidiary of Birmingham's McWane Inc. to provide cell-network connected electric meters on Saipan.
Warren told Saipan Tribune that the contract for the remote disconnect prepaid meters was issued in October 2012, pursuant to an invitation for bid process that began around June 2012. The contract is for approximately $378,000.
In a recent announcement of Nighthawk Control, it stated that the technology eventually will be in place in 100 percent of CUC's electric grid on the island.
The company provides smart-meter hardware that allows electric meters on homes and businesses to wirelessly transmit usage and other data via cell phone networks. In addition to lessening the need for utility employees on the ground to read meters, it can improve response time to weather-related outages by instantly reporting losses of service to utilities.