© Nathan Liewicki
SaskEnergy's Larry Simpson, general manager for the southwest area of the province, works away at his desk in Moose Jaw, on Tuesday morning. Effective Jan. 2, 2014, the corporation is doing away with cashiering functions at nine locations in the province, including Moose Jaw.
The demand for cashiering services at SaskEnergy continues to regress, including in Moose Jaw.
“SaskEnergy is recognizing that customer needs are changing and we need to keep pace to provide effective levels of service,” said Vanessa Beaupre, a supervisor for government and media relations with SaskEnergy.
In addition to a continued decline of customers using cashiers to pay their bills, Beaupre noted two other reasons why the provincial corporation publically decided – on Monday – to close cashiers in nine provincial locations effective Jan. 2, 2014.
“There are also other more popular options to pay your SaskEnergy bill and providing the service is costly,” Beaupre said.
The eight other locations affected by the discontinuation of cashiering services are: Prince Albert, North Battleford, Weyburn, Yorkton, Tisdale, Kindersley, Estevan and Swift Current.
Less than four per cent of all SaskEnergy bills paid in Moose Jaw, as well as the other eight locations, are done through cashiers.
Across the province, 67 per cent of SaskEnergy customers pay their bills via a financial institution and another 15 per cent do so courtesy pre-authorized payment plans.
“It's important to note that there's a lot of available options for customers in Moose Jaw for them to continue to pay their bills,” said Beaupre.
Customers can also pay through cashier services in Regina, or Saskatoon, through the mail, or through other Crown cashier services.
The changes will not, however, result in any lost jobs.
Changes in the Friendly City will affect the equivalent of two full-time employees, said Larry Simpson, SaskEnergy’s general manager in southwestern Saskatchewan.
“It’s a change to their work day in that (now) it is face-to-face, plus the phone, but it will be less face-to-face,” said Simpson.
He noted that with any change to the structure of a business it always comes as a surprise. However, Simpson also told the Times-Herald there is “no shortage of work” to be done in the Moose Jaw office.
“We are just realigning our resources,” said Simpson.
That realignment will likely include a heavier reliance on customer service representatives – telephone inquiries, account management and service connection activity – that is in higher demand.
“Our customer base is growing annually, so that means more and more accounts to manage, and more and more connections,” said Beaupre. “And that's how our customers want to connect with us – by telephone and by email.”
While Monday’s announcement was the second SaskEnergy recently made impacting Moose Jaw – the walk-in centre in South Hill was closed last November – Beaupre said the corporation values their connections with customers in the city.
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks