Utility Week

UTILITY Week 21st March 2014

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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26 | 21st - 27th March 2014 | UtILItY WEEK Customers This week Most people confused by energy bills Despite rMr reforms, the majority can't pick out the cheapest energy price from a list of tariffs Most people still find energy tariffs confusing, according to an investigation by Which? The study by the consumer watchdog revealed that only 35 per cent of people were able to pick out the cheapest energy deal when they were presented with them in line with Ofgem's Retail Market Review (RMR). A total of 31 per cent picked the wrong tariff, while 34 per cent said they did not think it was possible to calculate what the cheapest deal was, or did not know how to work out the best value tariff. In a similar test in 2012 only 8 per cent of people were able to choose the cheapest energy tariff but Which? said that while there has been an improvement the latest results show "the majority of people are still baffled". Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: "In spite of Ofgem's tariff reforms to simplify the market, consumers are still failing to spot the cheapest deal because energy pricing remains too complicated. "More radical changes are needed to fix the broken energy market." Trade association Energy UK said it was pleased the survey by Which? showed an increase in consumer understanding and that the RMR reforms were "a wel- come sign we are moving in the right direction". In a statement, Energy UK added: "The RMR is the latest stage in improving customers' experience with their energy companies and is making the industry clearer and easier to understand." MB WatEr Anglian recognised by the Carbon Trust Anglian Water has become the first in the sector to achieve the Carbon Trust's Water Standard, which recognises companies' commitment to sustainability and water efficiency. Anglian said it put the lowest amount of water into supply for more than 25 years in 2012/13 by driving down leakage, encouraging more customers to switch over to water meters and through targeted initiatives and campaigns. David Riley, carbon manager for Anglian Water, said: "We believe it is our responsibility to lead by example if we are encouraging others to reduce their water consumption. It's central to our Love Every Drop strategy, which was born back in 2010, and achieving this new Water Standard recognises the efforts of customers who have come with us on that journey." EnErgY Davey and Fallon support The Big Deal Energy secretary Ed Davey and energy minister Michael Fallon have both personally pledged to sign up to The Big Deal cam- paign for cheaper energy. The pair have become the first senior politicians to publicly sign up to the national collective switching scheme, which was launched last week. The Big Deal campaign has written to every MP asking them to sign up to the scheme and for them to encourage their con- stituents to do so as well. Henry de Zoete, co-founder of The Big Deal, said: "The energy secretary and energy minister both pledging to sign up to The Big Deal shows that momentum is building to take on the big six." Davey said: "I kick-started collective switching schemes so that consumers could get and increase their buying power." EnErgY Good Energy offers smartphone FIT app Good Energy will offer its cus- tomers a smartphone app to help them claim the feed-in tariff (FIT) payments for the electricity gen- erated by domestic solar panels. The app, developed by PassivSystems, will enable mem- bers of Good Energy's HomeGen photovoltaic scheme to use their phones to record and submit their meter readings, rather than filling in forms online. Good Energy chief executive Juliet Davenport said: "Our goal is to be a catalyst for change in the UK energy market by empowering customers. "Ensuring that we continue to provide the best possible ser- vice to those customers is a key part of achieving that aim." Confusion still reigns over tariffs I am the customer Charlene Wallace "Keeping staff motivated is crucial to customer service" Customer service is more or less the same across the board. Regardless of what industry you are serving, the same rules apply to getting it right and wrong. I've just joined the water industry, having spent years working for an airline. At first glance, that may not seem like a simple transition. But the reality is that customer expectations are almost universally the same. Naturally, the specific issues at hand are different. For Busi- ness Stream, the most common that supports this. That means celebrating the success of a job well done, ensuring everyone is engaged with the industry and creating access to training and personal development opportu- nities for staff. At the end of the day, custom- ers of all stripes just want their issues resolved. And if you get that right, they might just tell someone they know. Charlene Wallace, director of customer operations, Business Stream customer enquiries relate to vacated properties, billing issues and shared supply arrange- ments. But how you deal with these issues, the values you hold and the level of service that you aspire to deliver remain the same, whatever the product or service. That means constantly look- ing for ways we can make a cus- tomer's journey as seamless and consistent as possible, delivering the high standards they expect throughout. The customer wants to know you are thinking about them as an individual and not just coming up with blanket solu- tions to vastly different problems. Keeping staff motivated is crucial to fostering a culture

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