Utility Week

UTILITY Week 22nd May 2015

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UTILITY WEEK | 22ND - 28TH MAY 2015 | 21 Customers This week Scottish Power breaks complaints record Billing system upgrade triggers 488% hike in complaints from customers during 2014 Scottish Power attracted a record number of complaints for an energy company in the last quar- ter of 2014 because of its new billing system, Citizens Advice has said. There were 1,163 complaints per 100,000 customers from October to December last year, a 488 per cent increase throughout the year that Citizens Advice called "staggering". Scottish Power said the sudden rise in complaints was the result of the introduction of a £200 million cus- tomer IT system. Some customers did not receive a bill and others struggled to get their problems resolved. It said it now has 700 new customer service advisers, and has worked with Ofgem to meet targets on call wait- ing times, outstanding bills and ombudsman complaints. Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: "In the past few years, four of the largest firms have intro- duced new billing systems, and their implementation has caused chaos for consumers. Thousands of customers have been hit by delayed and incorrect bills, which have resulted in extreme frustration and significant debts." Scottish Power's retail and generation chief execu- tive, Neil Clitheroe, said: "The levels of service fell short of our expected standards and, although there have still been challenges, we have been working hard to make significant improvements in recent months." The record number of complaints meant Scottish Power topped Citizens Advice's table for the most num- ber of complaints, almost twice as many complaints as the second worst performer, Npower. LD ENERGY Two-year fixed tariff pegged to 2012 levels Independent supplier First Util- ity has cut the price of its two- year fixed tariff to 2012 levels, to reflect lower wholesale prices. It said the Isave Fixed June 2017 v2 tariff was a response to customers who take advantage of relatively low wholesale prices by choosing fixed tariffs to get price certainty for longer. The tariff will be fixed until sum- mer 2017. The tariff will cost £994 a year and is available to new and existing customers. First Utility said customers that switched to the supplier would save an aver- age of £229 a year. First Utility's chief customer officer Ed Kamm said: "By cut- ting the price of our two-year fix even further we're helping to keep bills lower for longer. We are already topping the table with our one-year fix tariff and our three-year fix is the cheapest until 2018." ENERGY EUA: clarify future of energy efficiency The Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) has called for more clarity from the Conservative govern- ment on its energy efficiency policy, and for a review of the Green Deal. The EUA's chief executive, Mike Foster, told Utility Week the Conservative election manifesto was "sparse in detail", but he welcomed the certainty that single party government would deliver. The Conservative manifesto only mentioned energy efficiency twice, pledging to "bring energy efficiency measures to over one million homes" in the next five years, but giving little detail on how this would be done. In addi- tion, Foster said a review of why the Green Deal failed to deliver meaningful change should also be undertaken. ENERGY EDF's UK sales up 11% in first quarter Sales revenue at EDF's UK busi- ness rose by almost 11 per cent in the first quarter of the year, supporting total revenues of £22.9 billion across the group. Cold weather in the UK, com- pared with early 2014, prompted an increase in nuclear volumes of 5.3 per cent, which EDF said offset the reduction in business customer numbers to leave revenues 10.9 per cent higher on the year at €3.24 billion. The number of EDF UK busi- ness customers fell 3.8 per cent to 5.5 million, the company said. The French state-owned energy company reported a total revenue increase of 7.8 per cent compared with the same quarter last year. There were 1,163 complaints during Q4 2014 I am the customer Ed Matthew "The paucity of ambition might seem like a calamity" In the lead-up to the general election, we called for cross- party consensus on making home energy efficiency a UK infrastructure priority as a means to ending fuel poverty, slashing carbon emissions and generating jobs. The call was embraced by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens in their mani- festos and backed by a range of business associations. But the Conservative manifesto con- tained a pledge to insulate only percentage to invest in energy efficiency would represent great value for money. It could reduce gas imports, slash energy bills, make big NHS savings and gen- erate 100,000 jobs. As Amber Rudd takes her place as secretary of state at Decc, she must make energy efficiency infrastructure invest- ment a top priority. No other infrastructure investment can achieve so much. Ed Matthew, director, Energy Bill Revolution one million homes – a commit- ment that would represent an 80 per cent fall compared with what was achieved by the coalition. The paucity of ambition might seem like a calamity for energy efficiency. But there is hope. David Cameron promised in 2013 to make the UK the most energy-efficient economy in the world. He is personally ambi- tious on this issue and the Con- servatives more broadly need a ramp-up on energy efficiency to deliver their promised support for the Climate Change Act. Furthermore, the Treasury has plans for £100 billion of infrastructure investment over the next five years. Using a tiny

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