Utility Week

Utility Week 19th September

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UTILITY WEEK | 19Th - 25Th SEpTEmbEr 2014 | 25 Customers This week Complaints fall for sixth successive year CCWater report reveals 18.3% fall in total number of complaints about water companies The number of complaints about the UK's water companies has fallen for the sixth successive year, according to the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater). CCWater's annual Written Customer Complaints report revealed the total number of complaints about water compa- nies was down 18.3 per cent (27,675) to 123,218 in 2013/14, compared with the previous year. The worst-performing water and sewerage company in terms of complaints per 10,000 customers remained Southern Water, despite the company recording a 28 per cent drop in complaints. Darren Bentham, Southern Water's chief customer officer, said: "While our perfor- mance in 2013/14 saw a big improvement, we are still lower down the results table than we want to be." Of the water-only companies, South East Water had the highest number of complaints per 10,000 customers, with more than double those of Dee Valley in second place. However, South East Water also posted a drop of 28.7 per cent (2,526) in the number of complaints it received in 2013/14 compared with the previous year. Thames Water recorded the biggest fall in complaints, with a 32 per cent decrease (10,317) in 2013/14. Affinity Water recorded the biggest increase in the number of complaints received, with 16.9 per cent more customers (367) complaining. Welsh Water (3.2 per cent), Severn Trent (5.3 per cent) and South West Water (5.4 per cent) were the only other companies to record increases in the number of complaints they received. MB EnErgY Big six to pay back £153m to consumers The UK's biggest energy suppli- ers have committed to paying back as much as £153 million to former customers who have not reclaimed what they are owed. The big six have accumu- lated the surplus cash over the past six years from unclaimed credit balances le on payment accounts by around 10 per cent of energy users, and averaging £50 per account. The new scheme will aim to return the cash balance to consumers, and prevent unclaimed funds from accu- mulating in future. Any funds which are le unclaimed will then be put towards helping vulnerable customers, according to the plans. Energy UK has urged energy users to make use of the MyEnergyCredit online tool, which helps consumers take the first steps towards reclaiming the money owed to them. EnErgY Green Energy begins pig-themed offering Independent energy supplier Green Energy has launched a "white label" retail offering to appeal to a wider consumer base, the company's chief executive said. The green energy provider said its Oink Energy brand would operate under the same supply licence, offering one dual fuel energy tariff, which includes electricity from renewable energy sources. Green Energy chief executive Douglas Stewart told Utility Week that Oink's simple tariff, clear billing and contracts that can be ended without penal- ties or exit fees would help the company to better engage with customers. In a statement, the provider said it is "not about dumbing down, but rather engaging with people in interesting and humor- ous ways to communicate some very important messages". EnErgY Ovo tops customer approval table Independent energy supplier Ovo Energy has been found to have the highest customer approval rating by consumer site MoneySavingExpert.com. The survey found that 82 per cent of Ovo Energy's customers consider the provider's service over the past six months to be "great", as compared with "okay" and "poor", which were the other options available. By comparison, EDF Energy was given the top rating by only 48 per cent of its customers who participated, while 71 per cent of Npower's customers rated the supplier "poor". Glass half full: Southern worst despite 28% fall I am the customer Mark Lloyd "We are planning to include water footprinting too" In 2008 we launched our wide-ranging environmental programme, Earthbalance, with a commitment to a 10 per cent reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 and 25 per cent by 2020 – and to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2012. As part of the process, we measured the carbon footprint of our products to benchmark all activities throughout the business, and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our full product range. sustainability journey, we are now planning to include water usage and water footprinting. The process will start with water usage reductions on site, and then we aim to roll this out to include water footprinting up and down all parts of the supply chain. It's another big step, but we think that water needs to be a key element in sustainable manufacturing for the future. Mark Lloyd, sustainability manager, Crown Paints It was a big step, but by look- ing at the entire range rather than each product in isolation, we identified that our highest volume products, while not necessarily having the highest footprints individually, make up the largest part of our carbon footprint overall. So, by targeting raw materials and processes that have the largest influence and, crucially, without impacting on quality, we have been able to make good progress on carbon reductions. Now, in 2014, the targets are well on track – and zero waste to landfill was achieved 12 months ahead of schedule. As we continue on our

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