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‘OK Google, How Much is My Electric Bill?’

by on August 15, 2019

You can ask your smart speaker, or cellphone a lot of things, like, "Give me directions to Home Depot," or "What year did Edison invent the lightbulb?" and now American Electric Power customers can ask their connected devices even more questions.

Such as, "How much is my bill?" and "What was my energy usage?" or "Tell me an energy tip."

AEP's voice channel via Google and Amazon devices, such as Google's Pixel phones and Google Home speakers, or Amazon's Echo (Alexa) speakers, is now active and customers across AEP utilities — all but AEP Texas — can interact with their electricity provider. Customers can receive bill information, payment status, energy usage trends, efficiency recommendations and more.

"It's a good step forward in innovation," said Kellie Rhodebeck, senior marketing specialist. "Around 25% of Americans own a smart speaker and of course most of us have cell phones with voice assistants. This is AEP meeting customers where they are."

Kathy Kelley, customer, digital and channel manager, added, “This voice assistant channel offers us a great opportunity to be leaders among utilities in the customer space.  We are one of the first to offer a voice option across the customer billing, outage and energy usage journeys."

Paperless customers are able to pay their bill via Amazon's Alexa assistant. Bill pay isn’t supported on Google yet, but that feature will be available in the near future.

AEP is advertising the new capabilities in AEP Ohio and SWEPCO territories, using streaming audio advertising and social media videos to tell customers about the feature and how to use it.

AEP Ohio and SWEPCO markets were selected for advertising because their customers have the highest levels of social media engagement as well as the right target demographics which tend to utilize technology more intensively. 

“This aligns with our customer experience strategy to lower customer effort and meet the customer in the channel of their choice," Kelley said. "In this channel, we are experimenting with the opportunity to leverage our knowledge of the customer to offer relevant services such as auto pay, average monthly payment (AMP) and paperless billing," Kelley said.

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