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Attention customers! No more bill shocks thanks to new ISO standard

by Liz Gasiorowski-Denis on
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Anyone who has received an inaccurate or late bill for their gas, electric, water, or telephone services can understand why billing is one of the main sources of customer complaints against utilities. A new ISO standard provides solutions by giving recommendations for billing practices that actually “make sense” for customers.

ISO 14452:2012, Network services billing – Requirements, serves as a framework for utility services to ensure their customers receive clearly comprehensible, accurate, timely and complete bills. What’s more, it should result in fewer complaints for utility services and, in so doing, reduce operating costs, improve debt recovery, and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Let us face it: billing can be a messy matter. Customers often experience problems such as bill shock, complicated or inaccurate bills, unclear pricing, difficulties with payment methods and unclear information on offers and how to switch suppliers.

To meet these challenges, the new ISO 14452 standard promises to make billing clearer, more customer-friendly and better all round. The standard:

  • Defines the minimum requirements for billing and payment collection
  • Prevents or reduces complaints by tackling key issues
  • Ensures that suppliers assist customers by billing appropriately and consistently
  • Creates and sustains a fairer, longer-term supplier-customer relationship
  • Provides benchmarks for customer expectations
  • Allows for the implementation of smart metering technology and provision of improved customer information
  • Facilitates innovation in billing, enabling suppliers to differentiate their services

“ISO 14452 helps utilities ensure that they provide their customers with clearly comprehensible, accurate, timely and complete bills,” says Bill Dee, Convenor of the ISO working group on consumer protection in the global marketplace.

“Clearer billing practices make customers more confident about their bills and their supplier’s performance. In competitive markets, this also helps customers to choose the best and most suitable supplier.”

ISO 14452 covers all bills or statements for utility network services where there is an ongoing account relationship between the customer and the supplier, regardless of the payment used. It applies to services which are unmetered, metered at the point of delivery, or metered remotely (for example at the supplier’s own premises).

ISO 14452:2012, Network services billing – Requirements, was developed by ISO project committee ISO/PC 239, Network services billing. It costs 108 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication and Information department.