BGE customers unhappy with website upgrade

January 10, 2012

Baltimore Gas & Electric has upgraded its website and customer interface software. As often happens in these matters, not all seems to be going smoothly. I've heard from several customers who are having problems with the site. Says one:

"Have you tried to pay a BGE bill online lately - much less, get a live account representative on the telephone?  You'll find it is virtually impossible to pay your bill or view your account history.  Good luck to us all with BGE's 'improved' service!"

I tried the new site and logged on with no problem, using my old logon and a new, more complex password that they prompted me to use. All my info seemed to be there and correct. However other customers seem to have had issues. One lady was unhappy that it takes three business days for the new site to verify bank account information, delaying her ability to pay her bill. (BGE confirms this on the site and says to email mybillingrep@bge.com with your name and account number if you need them to push back the due date on your bill.)

People's main complaint seems to be that there aren't enough BGE phone reps to handle the extra call traffic, even though BGE says it put 70 extra customer service reps on the job. 

Here is the press release BGE put out on the change:

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company Upgrading Customer Billing and Information System

New account numbers for all customers; additional changes for specific customer groups 

Utility to extend payment due dates and address related fees for individual customers who advise BGE they are unable to pay their bill on time due to system unavailability 

BALTIMORE, Jan. 6, 2012 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it is implementing a large-scale initiative to update several legacy billing and customer information systems—the first such wholesale upgrade in more than 20 years. BGE’s Customer Care and Billing System (CC&B) will provide an integrated, single source for customer information and will enable customer account representatives to access customer information more efficiently. The upgrade is a necessary step in enhancing BGE’s overall system architecture, which will, in turn, provide customers with better access to tools for using energy more efficiently and reducing energy costs.

“This important upgrade is key to BGE’s continued efforts to deliver enhanced customer service and a more efficient platform with which to offer innovative energy products and services,” said Jeannette M. Mills, chief customer officer, BGE. “A system upgrade of this complexity creates challenges and temporary inconveniences for some customers, and we are working diligently to resolve any issues that arise. For individual customers who advise us that they are unable to pay their bill on time due to system unavailability, we will extend their due date and address related fees. We thank our customers for their patience as we work to complete our upgrade.”

As a result of the transition to our CC&B system, all BGE customers receive new account numbers, which are included on the January bills. BGE’s upgraded system will continue to recognize customers’ former account numbers, as will all online banking systems. Therefore, the new account number requires no action for the majority of customers, including those who pay their bill through the mail and most who pay through online banking systems.

“BGE recognizes the importance of customer communication and education throughout this transition,” said Mills. “In addition to general communications via bge.com, social media channels and BGE’s Connections customer newsletter, BGE has issued targeted communications to affected customer groups, including emails, letters and phone calls. BGE will continue to work with customers to keep them informed, as well as address any issues.

“As part of this effort, BGE has temporarily increased staffing to facilitate the transition to the upgraded system, including 70 additional customer service representatives to assist with higher-than-usual call and email volumes,” said Mills. “In addition to calling BGE’s customer contact center at 410.685.0123, customers can receive assistance with billing questions by sending an email to mybillingrep@bge.com.”

Depending on their preferred method of bill payment, certain groups of BGE customers may need to take an action or will see a change in addition to their new account number:

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