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PEC adds digital assistant, live chat functions for members

Live Chat Agent on PEC SmartHub

Live Agent Chat has been added to an upgraded SmartHub, the Pedernales Electric Cooperative mobile app that lets members pay bills, view electricity usage and billing history, and report outages. The new chat feature launches in December. Courtesy image

Pedernales Electric Cooperative members will be able to chat with a live agent through the co-op’s upgraded mobile app or access a digital assistant on the co-op’s redesigned website, both launching sometime in December.

Agents will be available from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday via the Live Agent Chat on the SmartHub mobile app. PEC members can access the Digital Chat Assistant for help 24/7 at pec.coop. The latter provides a list of commonly searched for keywords on which members can click for more information.

PEC staff explained the new features, which have been in the works since late 2022, to the Board of Directors during its Nov. 17 meeting.

“The Live Agent Chat is intended to guide members through the self-service options, like setting up auto-pay or helping (them) understand their bills,” said PEC Members Relations Director Kristi Moritz. “We will not conduct any business that involves personal identifying information, and we will not take payments over chat. This is another way to do business with PEC and maximize our member experience.” 

Website and app navigation will be more intuitive and user-friendly with members being able to more easily turn their service on or off, report outages, and check power restoration schedules.

“We conducted three member surveys during development,” said PEC Creative Services Director Ruth Verette. “It tested favorably, with members saying that they could find what they wanted, it was easy, and it was appealing to them.”

PEC.coop launched in 2017 and averages about 100,000 visitors a month. Members pay bills, access their accounts, and get outage information on the website, according to the surveys. 

“Our goal was to improve site navigation to ensure the things we knew our members were coming to the site for were easy to find and easy to use,” Verette said. 

suzanne@thepicayune.com