PSE&G enlists virtual assistant to better serve its customers

PSEG is using Amazon.com’s Alexa software to help consumers pay their bills and access account information via voice, part of a transformation to help the energy giant get closer to customers.

PSE&G enlists virtual assistant to better serve its customers
Serhii Brovko / Getty Images

Consumers have a complicated relationship with their energy companies, which are hardly at the vanguard of high-quality, high-touch customer service. Moreover, consumers don’t have a choice in providers, owing to regulated service territories.

To buck that trend and become more friendly with consumers, Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) is embracing virtual assistant technology and other digital services. Public Service Energy & Gas (PSE&G), the New Jersey utility of the $43 billion PSEG energy conglomerate, built an Alexa skill — Amazon.com’s term for capabilities that enable consumers to facilitate tasks via voice commands — to manage their electricity or gas accounts.

The initiative, which earned a 2019 CIO 100 Award in IT Excellence, underscores how the technology is weaving its way into the lives of consumers, who are using Alexa to control their TVs, stream music, order food, manage finances and other tasks with voice commands instead of touch or keystroke.

It also underscores how PSE&G is embracing new digital services to drive change. Forty-four percent of 3,645 respondents surveyed for the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey said their enterprises are undergoing some kind of major digital change, such as introducing new products and services, that will fundamentally impact their organization.

Anatomy of an Alexa skill

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