If I Can, You Can
by Tom Walch, Chief Executive Officer
GRAND JUNCTION, COLO. - (Aug. 8, 2023)
It has not escaped my notice that I am now “the crusty old guy” in the office who gets poked fun at for my avoidance of some types of technology. But who could blame me? When I first entered the workforce not quite an eon ago, we picked up a telephone to reach out to colleagues and typed final reports on a typewriter, always with a bottle of Wite-Out nearby.
I may not think to click open my instant messaging software to send a quick message to a Grand Valley Power employee, but I’ve got email. Typing correspondence on a computer keyboard could even be said to revive nostalgic feelings were it not for the lighter touch required to depress the keys.
Looking at it from another perspective, I’m not all that crusty. I’ve embraced some up-and-coming technology. For example, my wife and I use various social media outlets to stay in touch with our kids and grandkids. For handling estate matters from afar, using electronic signature platforms has been a big time-saver for us.
Understandably, the rate with which I adopt technology is directly related to:
- Its usefulness, and
- Its ability to seamlessly integrate into my life.
When we at GVP consider technologies that might help our members, we pit new tech against these two requirements. We want to ensure that the tools we offer our members add value to their lives and serve a purpose.
SmartHub is one of those tools. SmartHub is the software program that GVP and many other electric utilities provide to members for account access. Our members can use SmartHub to manage their account, pay bills, monitor their usage, and report issues. SmartHub meets the usefulness requirement: Consumers can view their energy usage — broken down by on- and off-peak — and compare energy used over a specific time to make informed decisions about energy consumption. SmartHub also integrates easily into the tools most of us already use: The mobile app is on smartphones and the online software is a click away from our gvp.org website.
Another reason why our members should use it? SmartHub offers an additional feature that benefits both individual members and our cooperative as a whole. Let me expound on paperless billing.
First, as a member of GVP, you should understand that mailing bills and processing paper payments (for example, checks) comes at a significant cost to the cooperative. And because you as a member are also an owner and participate in the economics of our not-for-profit business, the mailing and processing of bills comes at a cost to you.
Consider postage. Since 2019, stamp prices have risen 32%, including a 3-cent increase that went into effect just last month. GVP pays metered and bulk mail rates for most of its mailings, but these rates have increased incrementally alongside First-Class stamp prices. This increase in postage is only part of the equation. Other expenses for paper bills include purchasing the paper and envelopes, printing the bills, and paying employees for the time that it takes to process payments we receive by check. These expenses add up to a significant amount of money that could be saved or used for other purposes.
Since I took the plunge into paperless billing, I have found that it not only reduces the bulk in my mailbox, but it also helps eliminate the clutter that paper adds up to in my house. Combined with automatic bill payment through my bank account, I also save the time it would have taken me to write a check and the postage it would cost to mail it.
It is easy enough to make the switch to paperless billing in SmartHub. Simply log in to the mobile app or online and navigate to “Paperless” settings. And when you want to see your bill? Simply log in to SmartHub and view any bill going back several months. SmartHub even sends an email or text notification prior to the automatic payment going through so that you won’t miss anything.
After a couple of months of getting into the habit of paperless billing, this “crusty old guy” won’t go back to paper. SmartHub is a technological tour de force and a win-win for both members and the cooperative.