Utility Week

UTILITY Week 7th November 2014

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

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/410309

Contents of this Issue


Page 2 of 31

UTILITY WEEK | 7Th - 13Th NovEmbEr 2014 | 3 Leader Ellen Bennett This week 4 | Seven days 6 | People & Opinion 8 | Interview Jonathan brearley, director of brearley Economics and architect of Emr at Decc 13 Policy & Regulation 13 | News No state subsidies for interconnectors 15 | Analysis Why Tideway isn't home and dry 14 | Market view Principles-based regulation 19 Finance & Investment 19 | News renationalisation 'no longer unthinkable' 20 | Market view Technical application software 22 Operations & Assets 22 | High viz West of Duddon Sands windfarm 23 | Pipe up offshore wind and SmEs 24 | Market view virtual reality training 25 | Analysis What's the outlook for winter? 26 Customers 26 | News Scottish Power faces big rise in customer complaints 27 | Market view Dealing with a crisis in the digital age 28 Markets & Trading 28 | Market view Total invests £30m in fracking 30 Community 30 | Reader of the week Nicola Eaton Sawford, Customer Whisperers 31 | Disconnector A bad experience being the customer Luckily, the lady on the other end of the phone was polite, helpful and informed – otherwise I might just have slammed it down. I took some time out from writing about utilities last week to move house – and in the process, as I switched utilities to my new address, received a customer's eye view of the industry. Frankly, it did not impress. Two hours on the phone, simply trying to get a new energy account set up. Much of this was spent listening to the customer ser- vice adviser read by rote various terms, conditions and offers – the Ofgem-mandated small print, intended to protect me as a consumer, but leaving me confused and impatient. Then came the incomprehensibly detailed quotes for different tariffs on the basis of different usage estimates – all from one sup- plier – that varied from under £100 a month to more than £150. Aer all that, I was informed I could get a better deal with two other sup- pliers operating in the market – by which time, the thought of going through the whole painful process again, with the added bureau- cracy of switching, was enough to make me weep. When I finally got off the phone having agreed a Direct Debit, there was still a separate bill to pay for the few days between moving in and contacting the supplier – for reasons that defy understand- ing, this couldn't be met by the direct debit payments. On to water – even more disappointing. There had been a signifi- cant underpayment through my direct debit arrangement, resulting in a high closing bill from my old supplier. When I asked to see my usage data over the period of the account, I was told this informa- tion wasn't available and I must take it on the company's word that my usage had risen significantly, rather than there being a leak or billing error. The intentions in this industry are so good. The company lead- ers and the regulators genuinely want to improve the customer experience; the call-handling staff genuinely want to help. But a toxic combination of onerous regulation governing communication, usage data that is patchy at best and seldom communicated (at least before the onset of smart meters), and reliance on jargon are com- bining to deliver a customer experience that would make a budget airline blush. Ellen Bennett, Editor ellen.bennett@fav-house.com GAS 5 | Seven days british Gas names Ian Peters interim managing director WATEr 13 | News Catchment scheme extended to 2014/15 15 | Analysis Why Tideway isn't home and dry 19 | News renationalisation 'not unthinkable' ELECTrICITY 6 | Chief executive's view John Pettigrew, National Grid 13 | News 'Prejudice' behind cut in solar subsidy 21 | Investor view Exotic equity structures 22 | High viz West of Duddon Sands 23 | Pipe up mark Knowlton 25 | Analysis Energy crisis, what energy crisis? ENErGY 16 | Market view Principles-based regulation 19 | News €40m boost for UK power link projects 26 | News Independent firms face ofgem probe 26 | News Suppliers exceed Warm home duties 28 | News Peterhead tested for winter supply role Knowledge worth keeping Visit the Downloads section of Utility Week's website http://www.utilityweek.co.uk/ downloads O Power: The tranformation from com- modity suppliers http://bit.ly/1FQobpA IBM: Smarter Asset Management http://bit.ly/Xx7myx

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - UTILITY Week 7th November 2014