2004 Customer Satisfaction Initiatives Wrap Up

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

In response to its 2003 customer satisfaction survey, Pacific Gas and Electric Company's California Gas Transmission launched several customer satisfaction initiatives this year, designed to refine and improve customer service. Throughout the year, Pipe Ranger announced news and updates of this work, from Pipe Kwon Do, to Greater Availability for the 100 Report, to Operations Information.

During 2004, CGT tackled two additional initiatives responding to customer feedback in the survey.

Changing Ranking

A few customers expressed their desire for the ability to change the ranking of individual nominations during the flow day. Due to the upcoming implementation of firm bumping rights on its system, CGT will wait until 2005 to consider the potential for changing ranking in INSIDEtracc.

CGT studied the system implications of the changing ranking request and found them to be great. The significant cost of the required system modifications cannot be justified at this time because, pursuant to the Gas Accord II-2004 Settlement, CGT plans to implement firm bumping rights on its system by mid-2005. In order to implement bumping, significant changes to INSIDEtracc's program structure will be required. The changes required for bumping will necessarily impact the manner in which changing ranking might be implemented. Therefore, these two projects will be considered together next year.

A More Customer-Friendly Credit Process

During 2004, CGT took several steps to improve the customer experience with its credit processes.

Proactive Credit Checks

CGT began proactively tracking the credit of gas marketers and, when necessary, initiating conversations about their level of credit prior to the end of each month. Typically, Noncore Balancing Aggregation Agreement (NBAA) holders add end-use customers to their NBAA at the end of the month. Sometimes these additions require the NBAA holder to secure additional credit with CGT, a process that may take several days. By bringing credit limits into focus prior to the end of the month, CGT now helps NBAA holders and end-use customers alike avoid the frustration and confusion of an end-use customer left without a balancing agent.

Since implementing this process in May 2004, insufficient credit has not once delayed an NBAA holder from adding an end-use customer to their agreement.

The Golden Gate Market Center team also began regularly analyzing each customer's future lend credit needs and proactively pursuing the necessary credit line increases. These actions clear the runway to smoothly land a Market Center deal rather than circling in a credit holding pattern while opportunities may evaporate.

Earlier Commodity Price Update

Each week, CGT updates the commodity price used to calculate the credit required for NBAA holders. Prior to April 2004, CGT made this calculation each Friday. In certain situations, this could create a quite unpleasant surprise for an NBAA holder at or near their credit limit. In April CGT moved this weekly calculation to Tuesday, providing customers time before the weekend to react to any movement of credit level created by commodity price fluctuations.

Paperless Contracting

Not all CGT customer satisfaction initiatives arise from annual survey feedback. In July CGT implemented a new paperless contracting system (PCS), an initiative conceived by CGT employees. Although most of the paper saved resides in CGT supply closets, customers now enjoy the lightning-quick entry of new deals into INSIDEtracc.

Prior to PCS, a deal struck within minutes of a nomination deadline might have caused both CGT and the customer to lose not just a few drops of sweat while hoping the new exhibit would make it into the system in time for a valid nomination. Today CGT customers often see new contract exhibits populate in INSIDEtracc while they are still on the phone concluding the deal with CGT. With a quick E-Confirm and a nomination, last-minute deals now flow sweat free, thanks to PCS.

CGT Continues to Dig Deep

The 2003 customer satisfaction survey revealed a record of excellent service but also pointed CGT to several service enhancements implemented during 2004. In 2005 look for CGT to continue its efforts to improve customer service, always digging deep for new ways to enhance and progress its business relationship with customers. Whether CGT's customer satisfaction initiatives originate from employee ideas, annual satisfaction survey response or direct customer feedback, their aim is always the same: better serving those who move gas across California Gas Transmission pipelines.