Details for: 4171-E (Part 1 of 1).pdf

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Gary A. Stern, Ph.D.
Managing Director, State Regulatory Operations

February 27, 2020
(U 338-E)
Proposal to Modify Customer Contact Center Operating Hours


Southern California Edison Company (SCE) hereby submits this proposal to modify its
Customer Contact Center’s (CCC) hours of operation.
Description of SCE’s CCC
The CCC is responsible for fulfilling customer service requests, including establishing
service, transferring existing service, addressing credit and billing inquiries, and/or
assisting customers with and its functionality. In addition, the CCC provides
assistance to customers to help them understand their energy usage patterns and
discuss appropriate solutions and products (e.g., time-of-use, net energy metering,
Budget Assistant, etc.). Finally, the CCC responds to emergency calls from customers
regarding outages, damaged equipment, and the disconnection of service for nonpayment.
In 2019, the CCC received over 17.2 million non-emergency and emergency calls. To
handle the volume and variety of calls, SCE employs over 360 Energy Advisors and
support personnel in the CCC, contracts with a call center provider to assist with live
agent calls, and operates self-service and digital technologies for customers who prefer
to utilize these communication channels at any time of the day or night rather than
speak with a live agent.
SCE Reduced its CCC Operating Hours in 2015
Due to declining call volumes associated with customers adopting to self-service and
digital technologies, SCE submitted Advice 198-G/3197-E in 2015, proposing to change
its hours of operation of its CCC for non-emergency calls and to update the contact
hours on its gas and electric forms (i.e., bill statements) from 24 hours a day, 7 days a

P.O. Box 800

8631 Rush Street

Rosemead, California 91770

(626) 302-9645

Fax (626) 302-6396


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ADVICE 4171-E (U 338-E) -2- February 27, 2020 week (24/7) to Monday – Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, with the continuation of taking emergency calls 24/7.1 On May 20, 2015, the Commission approved the advice letter effective April 19, 2015. SCE PROPOSES TO FURTHER REDUCE THE CCC’S HOURS OF OPERATION SCE has continually upgraded and improved the CCC’s self-service options for customers wanting to pay their bills, review and analyze their usage, and turn on/off their service. With these self-service improvements, SCE has seen a decline in liveagent calls related to these call types. As shown in Table II below, SCE’s 2019 recorded volume for these call types is over 11 percent less than the same call types in 2015. As a result of this decline, SCE proposes to reduce its operating hours for nonemergency calls by three hours per day (6:00 a.m-7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.), Monday through Friday, for a total reduction of 15 hours per week. SCE will continue to provide 24/7 live agent coverage for emergency calls and does not propose to change its operating hours on Saturdays. If the Commission approves this proposal, the CCC will have the following operating hours for non-emergency calls: Monday – Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Saturdays: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (no change) Sundays and Holidays: Closed (no change) This change will enable the CCC to re-allocate its resources to periods of high customer call volume, and to migrate customers to self-service methods such as, MyAccount, mobile applications, and Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR). Customers Can Contact the CCC 24/7 in Case of an Emergency or Outage SCE will continue to operate its CCC on a 24/7 basis for emergency calls related to outages, damaged equipment, and/or customers faced with disconnection for nonpayment within 24 hours. For outages, customers also have the option to report them on, using SCE’s mobile application, or using SCE’s IVR.2 Also, for customers who are deaf, hearing impaired, or speech-impaired, Text Telephone (TTY) and Time Division Duplex (TDD) will continue to be staffed 24/7. 1 2 The CCC is closed on Sundays and holidays. SCE’s CCC observed holidays include New Year’s Day (January 1), Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (third Monday in January), President’s Day (third Monday in February), Memorial Day (last Monday in May), Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day (first Monday in September), Veterans’ Day (November 11), Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday (fourth Thursday and Friday in November), and Christmas (December 25). The CCC has contingency plans in place for high call volume and low service levels for afterhours support in case of Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events, other Demand Response management events, and large outages.
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ADVICE 4171-E (U 338-E) -3- February 27, 2020 A Low Percentage of Customers Would be Impacted by Reduced Operating Hours In 2019, SCE handled over 5.5 million live agent, non-emergency calls during its current weekday business hours.3 As shown in Table I below, of those calls, just over 290,000 or 5.2 percent, were taken between the hours of 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m., and from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday for customer service transactions such as turn-ons/turn-offs, outages, credit, specialty, and other. Of the calls that occurred in those hours, approximately 78 percent of them can be completed using self-service options such as IVR or The “specialty” and “other” call types cannot be handled via self-service. Thus, for these call types (which, between the hours of 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, constitute only 1.2 percent of the overall weekday call volume) a customer would have to call the CCC between the proposed hours of 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. weekdays, or 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Table I 2019 Call Types by Proposed Closure Hours Monday-Friday Timeframe Turn On/Off 8,831 6-7 a.m. 20,731 7-8 p.m. 12,978 8-9 p.m. 42,540 Total Calls by Type Percent of Calls by Type 0.8% Outage 13,376 32,624 26,339 72,339 1.3% Credit 25,674 51,821 33,601 111,096 2.0% Specialty 658 1,692 874 3,224 0.1% Other 14,888 27,874 18,134 60,896 1.1% Total Calls within Timeframe 63,427 134,742 91,926 290,095 5.2% Customers Continue to Migrate to Self-Service and Digital Technologies As described above, SCE has continued to invest in self-service and digital technologies such as web services on, mobile applications, and the IVR. This investment continues to provide SCE customers with the ability to conduct many routine transactions, including paying their bills, turning on or turning off service, and inquiring about the status of an outage on a 24/7 basis. As a result, even though total call volume increased by over two percent from 2015 through 2019, the CCC realized an 11 percent reduction in non-emergency live agent calls (e.g., calls for service turn on/turn off) as shown in Table II below. 3 Call types include: Credit (payment arrangements/extensions), Outage, Specialty (customers requesting information on programs such as Net Energy Metering (NEM), time-of-use (TOU), and/or income qualified programs), Turn Ons/Turn Offs, and Other (customers wishing to speak with a supervisor or inquiring about mobile application). Non-emergency calls do not include outage related calls.
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ADVICE 4171-E (U 338-E) -4- February 27, 2020 Table II IVR and Live Agent Call Volumes 2015-2019 Line Number 1 All Calls, IVR and Live Agent 2 All Calls, Live Agent 3 Non-Emergency Calls, Live-Agent 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 16,833,282 17,279,323 17,198,998 16,774,997 17,215,093 7,182,898 6,577,113 6,369,263 6,253,466 6,511,559 6,309,565 5,720,907 5,456,061 5,412,893 5,597,514 Change 20152019 2.3% -9.3% -11.3% By reducing the CCC’s hours as proposed herein, SCE would be able to re-allocate its resources to the hours when customer call volume is high. With this reallocation of resources, increased staff will be used during high call volume periods, which will further benefit customers. For customers with complex issues, SCE will continue to use its automated call-routing technologies to make sure they are assisted by trained and knowledgeable live agents who can educate them about appropriate energy solutions and products and/or resolve matters that are not suitable for self-service options. STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT In August and September of 2019, SCE engaged stakeholders to obtain input on the development of SCE’s plan for reducing its CCC hours of operation and suggestions for notifying customers. Based on these meetings, SCE received helpful feedback on its proposal and incorporated much of the feedback. The following summarizes the engagement with stakeholders and provides a description of the feedback SCE received on its proposal. Commission’s Consumer Affairs Branch (CAB) In SCE’s meeting with CAB, CAB suggested it would be beneficial to track customer’s potential concerns by allowing them the option to leave a message in SCE’s IVR system. SCE considered CAB’s suggestion; however this method to track customer impacts did not seem effective. SCE instead decided to track the potential impacts of the proposed change in hours of operation by conducting a specific “after call” survey, in English and Spanish, with customers calling during the hours that SCE proposed to reduce (see next section). In addition to CAB’s suggested survey, SCE will monitor customer impacts from the hour changes by continually monitoring customer satisfaction via after-call surveys provided to customers after they have called the CCC regarding the interaction with the CCC.  SCE will monitor and analyze the survey responses to determine if the reduction in CCC hours of operations is impacting customer satisfaction.  Additionally, SCE will use speech analytics during a customer call to determine if impacts on customer satisfaction result from the reduction in hours of operation. To the extent that SCE
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ADVICE 4171-E (U 338-E) -5- February 27, 2020 determines any impacts, SCE will provide solutions to resolve such customer satisfaction issues accordingly.   Commission’s Energy Division (ED) When SCE discussed its proposal with ED, SCE planned to notify customers 30 days before the reduction in hours took effect. However, ED suggested that SCE notify customers 60-90 days beforehand, rather than 30 days. Based on this feedback, upon Commission approval, SCE will notify customers for 60 days before the reduction in hours takes effect. In addition, ED recommended that SCE survey its customers before submittEing an advice letter to reduce the CCC hours to determine if customers who call during 6:00 – 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, have the availability to call during the new, proposed hours. Based on this feedback, SCE conducted a three-week survey for customers who called during the proposed closure hours of 6:00 – 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. When customers were asked if they were able to call SCE between the new proposed hours, 77 percent responded that they were able to do so.4 Commission’s Public Advocates Office (Cal Advocates) In SCE’s external engagement meeting with Cal Advocates, Cal Advocates was supportive of ED’s suggestion to notify customers 60-90 days before the reduction in hours. Additionally, Cal Advocates advised SCE to meet and discuss the proposal with The Utility Reform Network (TURN). Other Parties SCE met with TURN via conference call to discuss its reduction in hours proposal. TURN did not have any specific suggestions or feedback for SCE. SCE’S EXPECTED DATE OF REDUCTION SCE plans to reduce its CCC hours of operation no sooner than 60 days after the Commission approves this advice letter. SCE’S POST-REDUCTION ACTIVITIES When approved by the Commission, SCE will provide its customers with notice at least 60 days prior to this change taking effect utilizing a combination of bill onserts/inserts,, and IVR, based on ED’s suggestion. 4 See After Call Survey data in Attachment A.
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ADVICE 4171-E (U 338-E) -6- February 27, 2020 SCE will continue to monitor customer experience in order to assess customer satisfaction with its CCC overall, as well as the new non-emergency hours of operation. TREATMENT OF COST SAVINGS RESULTING FROM REDUCED OPERATING HOURS As a result of the proposed reduction of the CCC hours, SCE expects to accomplish a savings of approximately $300,000 through 2020 (SCE’s 2018 General Rate Case period). SCE will achieve these savings by shifting live agent calls to self-service and will not backfill vacant Energy Advisor positions. Achieving these savings is consistent with SCE’s CCC Operational Excellence productivity forecast adopted by the Commission in its 2018 General Rate Case.5 This advice letter will not increase any rate or charge, cause the withdrawal of service, or conflict with any other schedule, or rule. TIER DESIGNATION Pursuant to General Order (GO) 96-B, Energy Industry Rule 5.2, this advice letter is submitted with a Tier 2 designation. EFFECTIVE DATE This advice letter will become effective on March 28, 2020, the 30th calendar day after the date submitted. NOTICE Anyone wishing to protest this advice letter may do so by letter via U.S. Mail, facsimile, or electronically, any of which must be received no later than 20 days after the date of this advice letter. Protests should be submitted to: CPUC, Energy Division Attention: Tariff Unit 505 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, California 94102 E-mail: Copies should also be mailed to the attention of the Director, Energy Division, Room 4004 (same address above). In addition, protests and all other correspondence regarding this advice letter should also be sent by letter and transmitted via facsimile or electronically to the attention of: 5 See D.19-05-020, p. 137.
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ADVICE 4171-E (U 338-E) -7- February 27, 2020 Gary A. Stern, Ph.D. Managing Director, State Regulatory Operations Southern California Edison Company 8631 Rush Street Rosemead, California 91770 Telephone: (626) 302-9645 Facsimile: (626) 302-6396 E-mail: Laura Genao Managing Director, State Regulatory Affairs c/o Karyn Gansecki Southern California Edison Company 601 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 2030 San Francisco, California 94102 Facsimile: (415) 929-5544 E-mail: There are no restrictions on who may submit a protest, but the protest shall set forth specifically the grounds upon which it is based and must be received by the deadline shown above. In accordance with General Rule 4 of GO 96-B, SCE is serving copies of this advice letter to the interested parties shown on the attached GO 96-B and the A.16-09-001 service lists. Address change requests to the GO 96-B service list should be directed by electronic mail to or at (626) 302-3719. For changes to all other service lists, please contact the Commission’s Process Office at (415) 703-2021 or by electronic mail at Further, in accordance with Public Utilities Code Section 491, notice to the public is hereby given by submitting and keeping the advice letter at SCE’s corporate headquarters. To view other SCE advice letters submitted with the Commission, log on to SCE’s web site at For questions, please contact Nicole Holliman at (626) 302-4617 or by electronic mail at Southern California Edison Company /s/ Gary A. Stern Gary A. Stern, Ph.D. GAS:nh:cm
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ADVICE LETTER SUMMARY ENERGY UTILITY MUST BE COMPLETED BY UTILITY (Attach additional pages as needed) Company name/CPUC Utility No.: Southern California Edison Company (U 338-E) Utility type: ELC GAS PLC HEAT ELC = Electric PLC = Pipeline WATER Contact Person: Darrah Morgan Phone #: (626) 302-2086 E-mail: E-mail Disposition Notice to: EXPLANATION OF UTILITY TYPE GAS = Gas WATER = Water HEAT = Heat (Date Submitted / Received Stamp by CPUC) Tier Designation: 2 Advice Letter (AL) #: 4171-E Subject of AL: Proposal to Modify Customer Contact Center Operating Hours Keywords (choose from CPUC listing): AL Type: Monthly Quarterly Annual One-Time Other: If AL submitted in compliance with a Commission order, indicate relevant Decision/Resolution #: Does AL replace a withdrawn or rejected AL? If so, identify the prior AL: Summarize differences between the AL and the prior withdrawn or rejected AL: Confidential treatment requested? Yes No If yes, specification of confidential information: Confidential information will be made available to appropriate parties who execute a nondisclosure agreement. Name and contact information to request nondisclosure agreement/ access to confidential information: Resolution required? Yes No Requested effective date: 3/28/20 No. of tariff sheets: -0- Estimated system annual revenue effect (%): Estimated system average rate effect (%): When rates are affected by AL, include attachment in AL showing average rate effects on customer classes (residential, small commercial, large C/I, agricultural, lighting). Tariff schedules affected: None Service affected and changes proposed1: Pending advice letters that revise the same tariff sheets: None 1 Discuss in AL if more space is needed. Clear Form
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Protests and all other correspondence regarding this AL are due no later than 20 days after the date of this submittal, unless otherwise authorized by the Commission, and shall be sent to: CPUC, Energy Division Attention: Tariff Unit 505 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102 Email: Name: Gary A. Stern, Ph.D. Title: Managing Director, State Regulatory Operations Utility Name: Southern California Edison Company Address: 8631 Rush Street City: Rosemead Zip: 91770 State: California Telephone (xxx) xxx-xxxx: (626) 302-9645 Facsimile (xxx) xxx-xxxx: (626) 302-6396 Email: Name: Laura Genao c/o Karyn Gansecki Title: Managing Director, State Regulatory Affairs Utility Name: Southern California Edison Company Address: 601 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 2030 City: San Francisco State: California Zip: 94102 Telephone (xxx) xxx-xxxx: Facsimile (xxx) xxx-xxxx: (415) 929-5544 Email: Clear Form
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ENERGY Advice Letter Keywords Affiliate Direct Access Preliminary Statement Agreements Disconnect Service Procurement Agriculture ECAC / Energy Cost Adjustment Qualifying Facility Avoided Cost EOR / Enhanced Oil Recovery Rebates Balancing Account Energy Charge Refunds Baseline Energy Efficiency Reliability Bilingual Establish Service Re-MAT/Bio-MAT Billings Expand Service Area Revenue Allocation Bioenergy Forms Rule 21 Brokerage Fees Franchise Fee / User Tax Rules CARE G.O. 131-D Section 851 CPUC Reimbursement Fee GRC / General Rate Case Self Generation Capacity Hazardous Waste Service Area Map Cogeneration Increase Rates Service Outage Compliance Interruptible Service Solar Conditions of Service Interutility Transportation Standby Service Connection LIEE / Low-Income Energy Efficiency Storage Conservation LIRA / Low-Income Ratepayer Assistance Street Lights Consolidate Tariffs Late Payment Charge Surcharges Contracts Line Extensions Tariffs Core Memorandum Account Taxes Credit Metered Energy Efficiency Text Changes Curtailable Service Metering Transformer Customer Charge Customer Owned Generation Mobile Home Parks Name Change Transition Cost Transmission Lines Decrease Rates Non-Core Transportation Electrification Demand Charge Non-firm Service Contracts Transportation Rates Demand Side Fund Nuclear Undergrounding Demand Side Management Oil Pipelines Voltage Discount Demand Side Response PBR / Performance Based Ratemaking Wind Power Deposits Portfolio Withdrawal of Service Depreciation Power Lines Clear Form
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Attachment A
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Attachment A — Customer Contact Center Hours of Operation Survey SCE conducted Hours of Operation Surveys between Monday, September 22, 2019, through Friday, October 11, 2019. SCE received a total of 22,442 telephone calls from 6:00 – 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Of these calls, 4,986 customers, or 22.22 percent, chose to participate in the ACS. Question 1: We are considering new hours of operation and interested in your feedback. Please rate how flexible you are in the time you called: From 1 through 5, with 1 being “This is the only time I can call” and 5 being “I can call at other times” please press any number between 1 and 5. 100 90 80 70 60 50 92 40 30 20 39 10 17 19 2 3 0 1 - This is the only time I can call 1 - This is the only time I can call 2 3 4 5 - I can call at other times Total Number of Responses 10 4 5 - I can call at other times 6-7 a.m. 7-8 p.m. 8-9 p.m. Total 8 18 13 39 3 9 5 17 5 8 6 19 2 5 3 10 25 28 39 92 43 68 66 177 In summary, SCE received 177 total responses to Question 1. Of these responses, 102 customers or 57 percent, indicated that they are flexible to call at other times, 19 customers or 11 percent, indicated they were somewhat flexible to call at other times, and 56 customers or 32 percent, indicated that 6:00 – 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. were the only hours they could call. 1
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Question 2: Would you be able to call us between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday? 140 127 120 100 80 60 40 37 20 0 No No Yes Total Number of Responses Yes 6-7 a.m. 7-8 p.m. 8-9 p.m. Total 5 20 12 37 35 43 49 127 40 63 61 164 For Question 2, SCE received 164 responses. 127 respondents or 77 percent, indicated that they would be able to call SCE during the proposed hours of 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., whereas 37 respondents or 23 percent, would not able to call between the hours of 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Based on the results of these two survey questions, calls related to credit, turnons/turn-offs, outages, specialty and other can be achieved within the proposed hours of 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 2
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