SaskPower payment centre to close

by Sabine Gibbins

For Susan Marks, it will be a blessing not to have to make another stop in Meadow Lake to pay her electricity bills.

Marks, a SaskPower customer, was pleased to hear of the company’s recent decision to close down rural area customer service centres, which includes the one on 2nd Avenue West in Meadow Lake.

“It will mean I don’t have to make an extra stop on my way into town,” she said. “It’s great they are moving more into modern ways of making payments. I think it’s good news all around for customers, especially now that you can call and make payments over the phone.”

Tyler Hopson, media relations officer for SaskPower, said the decision was made after a careful review of the number of customers using the walk-in service option.

“Essentially, we have looked at our service numbers over the past couple months and came to this decision,” he said. “We are seeing a steady decline in the number of people who are using this service. We are definitely seeing a lot more people use the Internet as a payment option, for instance. Overall, there has been a 40 per cent decline in the number of people actually using the customer service centres.”

As of Nov. 30, walk-in customer services will continue in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Yorkton and North Battleford locations, where representatives have the best opportunity to serve the largest portion of SaskPower customers.

According to information provided by SaskPower, as technology continues to progress, so does the organization’s need to conform to those changes, which is why customer service will be enhanced this fall to allow bill payments by credit card. Customers will see improved web-based and internet services, said Hopson, including a greater ability to interact with SaskPower through social media.

When it comes to the telephone, customers will now have the opportunity to speak to a representative who practically lives right in their own backyard, he added.

“We know we can serve a large customer base that way,” he said.

Current staff at the customer service centres will not be affected and will continue to work at SaskPower on day-to-day business, Hopson said.

“We know our customers appreciate being able to connect with live people (as opposed to a machine),” he added.

According to SaskPower president and CEO Robert Watson, customers are increasingly asking for more info online, are visiting our offices less and are calling SaskPower more often.

“Customers appreciate the fact that they connect with a person when they phone SaskPower,” he said.

Another payment option for customers is to pay at a financial institution.

Hopson said, for the most part, customers have already made the switch.


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