Issue 42 – September 2012
Anyone who has received an inaccurate or late bill for their gas, electric, water, or telephone services can understand why billing is one of the main sources of customer complaints against utilities. A new International Organization for Standardization Standard, ISO 14452:2012 Network services billing – Requirements, provides solutions by giving recommendations for billing practices that actually 'make sense' for customers.
ISO 14452 provides a framework for utility services, 'to help utilities ensure that they provide their customers with clearly comprehensible, accurate, timely, and complete bills,' says Bill Dee, Convenor of the ISO working group on consumer protection in the global marketplace.
'Clearer billing practices make customers more confident about their bills and their supplier's performance. In competitive markets, this also helps customers to choose the best and most suitable supplier.'
The Standard should result in fewer complaints for utility services and, in so doing, reduce operating costs, improve debt recovery, and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
ISO 14452 promises to make billing clearer, more customer-friendly, and better all round. The Standard:
- Defines the minimum requirements for billing and payment collection
- Prevents or reduces complaints by tackling key issues
- Ensures that suppliers assist customers by billing appropriately and consistently
- Creates and sustains a fairer, longer-term supplier-customer relationship
- Provides benchmarks for customer expectations
- allows for the implementation of smart metering technology and provision of improved customer information
- Facilitates innovation in billing, enabling suppliers to differentiate their services.
ISO 14452 covers all bills or statements for utility network services where there is an ongoing account relationship between the customer and the supplier, regardless of the payment used. It applies to services that are unmetered, metered at the point of delivery, or metered remotely (for example at the supplier's own premises).
Summarised from an ISO media release, 8 August 2012.