Utility Week

Utility Week 7th March

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26 | 7th - 13th March 2014 | UtILItY WEEK Customers This week Ofgem calls on big six to hand back £400m regulator challenges major suppliers over closed accounts more than £400 million in credit Ofgem has asked the big six energy suppliers to return more than £400 million from closed accounts to consumers. The regulator revealed that major suppliers are holding on to £202 million from closed domestic accounts and £204 million from closed business accounts, affecting 3.5 million domestic and 300,000 business customers. Ofgem said the suppliers needed to return this "unacceptably large amount of money" to their former customers. It also called on suppliers to make it "crystal clear" to consumers what they need to do to avoid leaving behind an account in credit, and said any money that cannot be returned should be used to benefit consumers more widely. Interim chief executive Andrew Wright said: "When many people are struggling to make ends meet, it is vital that energy companies do the right thing and do all they can to return this money and restore consumer trust." Responding to the regulator's claims, Energy UK said the major suppliers took "all reasonable steps to trace customers who leave a credit behind", but in many cases former customers do not provide new contact details "so suppliers don't know how, or to whom, they can return the money". Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said Ofgem was "right to challenge the energy companies", but stuck by Labour's pledge to abolish the regulator if they win the 2015 election. MB EnErgY EIIs to miss out on £35m CFP rebates Energy intensive industries (EIIs) could miss out on £35 million because a government proposal for a carbon floor price (CFP) compensation package is not being backdated. The proposal, which is expected to gain state aid approval from Europe next month, does not include provi- sions to backdate rebates. Once it comes into force, EIIs will benefit from a £65 million compensation package next year, and the amount they can claim will increase in line with the CFP. However, they could miss out on an estimated £35 million for the first year. Richard Warren, senior energy and environment policy adviser at the manufacturers' organisation, EEF, said "While it is going to be extremely frustrat- ing to not get the compensation for this year, it's not as impor- tant as making sure we've got it for next year, or even more important for 2015/16 when the CFP jumps to £18 per tonne of carbon dioxide." EnErgY Co-op charges most for prepay removal Co-operative Energy charges customers the most amount of money to have prepayment meters removed from their prop- erties. The independent energy supplier charges £69.02 to remove a gas prepay meter and £66.15 for an electricity meter. Scottish Power is the second most expensive for the removal of a gas meter (£62.90), while Npower is the next most expen- sive for removal of an electricity meter (£60). British Gas, Eon and EDF Energy do not charge to remove prepay meters. Co-operative Energy told Utility Week it relies on metering operators to carry out prepay meter removals and these costs are passed on to the consumer. EnErgY Extra £60m to fight Scottish fuel poverty The Scottish government has provided an additional £60 mil- lion to help tackle fuel poverty, Scotland's housing minister, Margaret Burgess, announced this week. The money will be provided through the Home Energy Effi- ciency Programme for Scotland (HEEPS) and be used for the installation of energy efficiency measures such as solid wall, cavity and lo insulation. Around £42 million will be split between the 32 Scottish councils, while the remain- ing £18 million will be made available to local authorities to develop larger-scale schemes. Energy UK: customers leave no contact details I am the customer Dan Palmer "Complaints handling is rated very highly" In 2008, we carried out research into the way customer service is perceived and its impact on business and consumers. At the time, social media was still emerging and the way people shopped differed vastly from today, with price comparison websites still a relatively new concept. In December 2013, we surveyed again to coincide with the newly revised customer services standard, BS 8477. If we examine what a customer wants, it is oen the and energy companies are top of the list of service providers when it comes to switching. Mean- while, 20 per cent of customers comment about their experi- ences on social media for rapid impact and resolution. BSI's standards are there to help businesses think about and meet their customers' needs and expectations, thus addressing any future problems. Dan Palmer, head of market development for manufactur- ing and services, BSI following: good quality and value for money in the product or service they buy; a simple and straightforward experience with customer service professionals; and to know that when things go wrong, there will be an amicable solution to the problem. Our latest research revealed that more UK consumers are reporting improved levels of customer service – 22.9 per cent, up from 9.1 per cent in 2008. However, one in three are still not happy with the service they receive. Complaints handling is rated very highly, with a quarter saying they would move to a competitor if an organisation failed to resolve their complaint,

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