Nurturing customer relationships and meeting customer needs are as critical to your utility’s success as keeping the lights on. Customer preferences are evolving, and expectations for instant access to information and support are increasing. As a public power utility, your organization needs the support and goodwill of the communities you serve.  APPA’s Customer Service Management Certification Program® provides practical training and guidance on how to build and sustain a culture of outstanding customer service involving all stakeholders—utility employees, governing board members, and city officials. This program explores the mainstays of good customer service and how everyone at your organization can uphold them.

Customer service representatives, managers, and supervisors who complete this program’s five required courses, pass an online exam, and successfully file a customer service assessment or improvement project plan within one year of

completing the coursework will earn a Public Power Customer Service Manager certificate.

This program focuses on developing a culture of excellence in customer service among all public power utility employees and governing officials. Therefore, while the course content is designed for customer service managers, supervisors, and representatives, the course is also recommended for utility senior managers with cross-departmental responsibilities, governing board representatives, and senior officials.

Attendees are requested to bring samples of your utility’s customer service policies and procedures, organization chart, customer newsletters or other communication materials. In 2016, APPA distributed a Customer Service Policies Survey. Please bring a copy of your utility’s completed survey, if you participated.

Attendee will receive a copy of APPA’s Customer Service: Building a Strong Infrastructure for Your Utility publication.

To earn this certificate, participants must complete all requirements within one year of attending their last course in the certificate program curriculum.

 1. Complete the five required courses

  • Electric Utility Industry Overview*
  • Strategies for Successful Customer Service Operations
  • Utility Collections: The Complete Process
  • Technology: From Distribution to Meter Reading and Customer Information Systems
  • Modeling Customer Service in Your Leadership Style

*Participants who can demonstrate advanced knowledge of the utility industry, through work experience or coursework, may opt-out of this course. Contact for more information

2. Pass an online exam

3. Submit a plan for a customer service assessment or service improvement project 

After completing the required coursework, participants must:

1. Pass an online exam

  • The online exam, made up of 75 multiple choice questions, will assess the participant’s comprehension of the five required courses.
  • Participants can take the exam at their convenience, after finishing the coursework requirement.
  • An individual must score at least a 75% to pass the exam. Participants have two opportunities to pass the test, thereafter there will be a $50 fee assessed to retake the exam.

2. Submit a plan for a customer service department assessment or service improvement project

  • Participants will choose one of four provided topics or submit a topic of their own for instructor approval, with a focus on evaluating and improving the customer service culture and operations of their organization.
  • Participants will receive plan guidelines that outline what is expected in each section.

Participants must complete the program requirements within one year of attending their last course in the certificate program curriculum.

Please contact APPA’s Education Department at 202/467-2919 or

Steve VanderMeer, Senior Vice President of Planning and Marketing, Hometown Connections, Fort Collins, Colo. 
Steve jointed Hometown Connections in 1998 and provides consulting, training and facilitation support to public power utilities and their governing boards. He has worked with a wide range of municipal governments and non-profit organizations on strategic planning, governance, organizational assessments, public participation, market research and customer service issues. He is the author of APPA’s publication, Customer Service: Building a Strong Infrastructure for Your Utility. Previously, Steve worked at Fort Collins Utilities where he was the Director of Marketing and Energy Services. 

Pat Corrigan, Principal, Katama Technologies, Inc., Wake Forest, N.C.
Pat has over 35 years of experience in the utility industry, with the last 10 of those years focused on public power. He has held many technical and commercial positions with technology immersed businesses, including advanced metering infrastructure, mobile device management, outage management, T&D equipment, distribution automation, demand side management, energy management, and electric/water/and gas metering. He has also helped several major corporations with enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, web services, and new technology investments. Prior to joining KTI, he was the vice president in charge of Elster’s consumer-owned utility business.   


APPA Members
Early Registration Date - $2,200
Late Registration Date - $2,450

Early Registration Date - $4,400
Late Registration Date - $4,650

The enrollment fee includes the five courses, cost of study material, exam and post-course project grading.


Attend an APPA Education Institute

The Customer Service Management Certificate Program classes are held once a year, in conjunction with one of our seasonal education institutes (winter, spring or fall), and they provide a great opportunity to network with industry peers from across the nation.

2018 Schedule
The next offering will be in conjunction with our Winter Education Institute, Jan. 29 - Feb. 1, 2018 in Anaheim, California.

Download the Program Brochure

Let Us Come To You!
We can bring our courses to your location at any time—a convenient and cost-effective option for groups of eight or more. This format also allows you to customize course content to address the specific goals that are important to your organization.

Pool Your Resources
Partner with neighboring public power utilities, state and regional associations, or joint action agencies to bring the training to your area. This is a great way to share costs and to secure a location that is within driving distance (ideal for utilities facing strict travel guidelines or joint action agencies looking to add services to their members).

For more information, contact Ursula Schryver at 202/467-2980 or

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