Utility Week

Utility Week 12 12 2014

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UTILITY WEEK | 12Th - 18Th DEcEmbEr 2014 | 25 Customers This week Nationalising utilities 'would save £6bn' research for campaign group champions return to public sector for water and energy companies Renationalising the water and energy industries would save customers more than £6 billion, according to an investigation by independent research group Corporate Watch. The report said a renational- ised energy industry would cut costs to consumers by £4.2 bil- lion a year, and a public water sector would save £2 billion. This represents annual reductions of £160 and £75 on customer electricity and water bills, respectively. The study, completed alongside public service cam- paign group We Own It, said state ownership would save money because profits would not be paid to sharehold- ers, and because the government could borrow money more cheaply than private companies. It added that the actual savings "would likely be higher" because the costs involved in regulating the industries and outsourcing services "could be reduced". Also, the study found that 68 per cent of the public want energy to be in public ownership and 71 per cent want water to be renationalised. Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It, said: "Privatisa- tion is a failed experiment. We could run these services ourselves and save money, either for households or for government." The study comes amid a week of privatisation anni- versaries for the UK's utilities sector. Gas was privatised 28 years ago on Monday 8 December, electricity was pri- vatised 24 years ago on Thursday 11 December and water was privatised 25 years ago on Friday 12 December. MB EnErgY EDF Energy hits efficiency targets… EDF Energy has met its energy efficiency targets for the Energy Company Obligation (Eco) scheme by installing 170,000 energy-saving measures in 144,000 properties across Eng- land, Scotland and Wales. The scheme's deadline is in March next year. The supplier said it is the first energy company to meet its target under the scheme, which required energy companies to fit energy-saving measures such as lo insulation, cavity wall insu- lation and replacement boilers in vulnerable and low-income households as well as properties that are 'hard-to-treat'. EDF Energy said it worked with local authorities to identify the most vulnerable communi- ties in the UK. It fitted more than 32,000 replacement boilers deliv- ering a lifetime energy savings bill of more than £550 million. EnErgY … as British Gas has to pay out £11m Ofgem will force British Gas to pay out £11.1 million to vul- nerable energy users aer the supplier failed to meet targets to improve the energy efficiency of its customers' homes. Ofgem said it is "unaccepta- ble" that the supplier achieved just 62.4 per cent of its obliga- tions under the Community Energy Saving Programme (Cesp) scheme by the December 2012 deadline. However, the supplier performed better on its Carbon Emission Reduction Target (Cert) obligations, achieving 99 per cent by the deadline, and com- pleted both the Cert and Cesp targets by February and August 2013 respectively. Eventually British Gas over- delivered by 2.3 per cent for Cert and 1.5 per cent for Cesp, and a further 20,000 homes benefited, Ofgem said. WaTEr Supermarkets take on festive blockages Eleven UK water and sewerage companies have teamed up with supermarket giants Sainsbury's and Waitrose to tackle festive sewer blockages. The water companies are working with the supermarkets to give away about 250,000 fat traps and funnels to people when they collect their pre- ordered Christmas turkeys in an attempt to prevent them from pouring fats, oils and grease down the drain. The number of blocked drains rises by 25 per cent dur- ing the festive season, when more than 1,000 tonnes of leover cooking fat is poured down sinks. Energy: 'bills could be £160 lower' I am the customer Nick Hague "An energy company's brand has become its biggest asset" In a market where consumers are more mobile and savvy than ever, an energy company's brand has fast become its biggest asset. Brands might be built up through marketing campaigns, but they're only proven in the day-to-day experiences of customers. Any company that ignores customer experience does so at its peril. You can't design a great customer experience without understanding the current one. Creating a Customer Journey disconnect. Journey mapping lets you see the degree to which the customer is considered in each department, tailor services to meet their needs, and develop compelling positions that cut across departments. Suppliers that understand the customer journey in detail will be able to orientate the opera- tions, and the people delivering them, to engage customers with the brand and build loyalty. Nick Hague, director, B2B International Map (CJM) is an ideal framework to analyse current practice and lay the foundations to improve it. A CJM works as a visual representation of all of the touch-points customers have with a business throughout their contract. It's an effective way of identifying the moments of truth that either present risk to your brand or an opportunity to cre- ate a positive interaction. A common problem is a lack of consistency. Most companies operate in ways that separate different functions of service – such as sales, billing and cus- tomer services. If these functions aren't joined up and consist- ent, the customer will feel the

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