When outsourcing collections trumps debt sale in utilities

Ben Jones from Extra Energy gives the inside track on the firm’s strategies for credit risk, data and collections

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Ben Jones, managing director of operations at Extra Energy, talks theft, fraud and vulnerability.


Ben Jones said he regards “outsourced collections” as a bigger priority than debt sale, and considers the latter “a last resort; not a replacement for good collections practice.”


Jones explained that the hot topics for him and his teams are “vulnerability and theft and fraud, and finding that balance.”


In a Q&A with Credit Strategy, Jones revealed he was keen to see how innovation and technology will transform the industry during the next 12 months.


Jones said: “Traditional debt collection methods still rule the roost and I don’t understand why technology isn’t playing a bigger part in managing risk and also performing collections. The connection to smart metering for example could open up a new world of opportunity and the Extra Energy team will focus on that in 2017.”


During the past year Jones said one of the most visible changes to the industry has been the emergence of new entrants and the impact it is having on customer behaviour.


Jones said it will be interesting to see how these new entrants will adapt their credit and debt strategies, and how entrepreneurial flare will impact the credit industry.


He added: “Data has always been at the heart of energy and has often been the difference between success and failure.”


As with his counterpart, Ian Parry at First Utility, Jones will be discussing fraud strategies at Utilities & Telecoms conference.

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