There is a growing expectation among utility customers that interactions with their energy providers will take place digitally, online. This “digital transformation” is unlocking opportunities for utilities to streamline business processes and increase customer satisfaction, among other things. One way utilities can take advantage of the digital transformation is by enabling electronic payments (ePayments) for their energy programs.
Over the past 10+ years, we’ve found that many utility energy programs such as distributed energy resource interconnection and incentives require applicants to pay a fee to apply and/or for the utility to conduct in-depth engineering studies. A common lightweight approach to this problem has been to either have applicants physically mail a check to the utility, or provide payment via an online system that is not integrated with the application system. Both scenarios create a time lag of 2 to 7 days or more as utilities identify incoming payments, and then attribute them to an application that has been submitted and is pending review.
Our customers have configured both scenarios into PowerClerk® programs; however, we wanted to help our customers remove the paper and delays from this process like we did with automatic communications and eSignatures. For both Communications and eSignatures, we leverage integrations with well-known and trusted service providers like AWS SES and DocuSign, respectively, to communicate more effectively with customers, and make it easier to sign and submit approved documents.
With electronic payments, we took a similar approach and selected Stripe as the default integrated payment processing platform for PowerClerk’s new ePayments feature. Stripe has taken an innovative approach to the challenge of processing payments online; scales well with platforms like PowerClerk; and is used by well-known platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, and more.
PowerClerk customers can now adopt and utilize ePayments to simplify and expedite credit card payment processing. Applicants will find the intuitive ePayment tab at the end of a Form, and will be able to securely store their payment information to reduce the amount of data entry required for the next application. PowerClerk will keep track of the payment status of each transaction via its integration with Stripe. Using ePayments, both administrators and applicants will no longer need to wait days for payments to arrive to the utility mailbox.
The PowerClerk team is continuing to keep our ear to the ground for additional web technologies that PowerClerk can leverage as a platform. Stay tuned!