Utility Week

Utility Week 7th August 2015

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

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/551405

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 31

Customers This week Smart meters delayed another four months Decc factors in an expected four-month delay to the most recent go-live date given by the DCC The Department of Energy and Climate Change's (Decc) latest smart meter rollout plans have factored in an expected four- month delay to the most recent go-live date given by the smart meter network operator Data and Communications Company (DCC). In its smart metering rollout strategy, Decc told energy companies to expect the DCC to go live in August 2016, four months aer the April 2016 date currently given by the DCC in its replan. Decc said the new date had been used "in recognition of the fact that six months of contingency has been held in reserve… it had been recommended that other parties use a central planning assumption of August 2016 to be ready for DCC Live." The DCC is tasked with connecting smart meters to the business systems of energy suppliers, network oper- ators and other authorised service users of the network. The DCC Live date has already been delayed from December 2015 to April 2016, announced in March this year. Then energy secretary Ed Davey said the "slight reprogramming" of the delay to April was "not going to have any dramatic effect" on the rollout. Decc has set out deadlines for using the DCC and meter installation as part of its plans to ensure a "timely" rollout, and ensure both energy suppliers and distribution network operators are ready to com- mence the rollout from the DCC Live date. All domestic suppliers are required to be using the DCC by 1 August 2017, while large suppliers will also have to install 1,500 SMETS2 meters by 1 February 2017. LD ELECTRICITY Tesla battery on sale in UK in early 2016 Tesla has announced it will make its Powerwall energy stor- age battery available to custom- ers in the UK from early 2016. The company told Utility Week it is in the process of final- ising its distribution partners and will make an announcement on these "as soon as possible". Tesla unveiled the Powerwall, which is designed to collect and store excess energy from roof- mounted solar panels and small- scale wind turbines, in May. The company claims it will "wean the world off fossil fuels". Energy consultant John Scott told Utility Week that if 5 per cent of UK customers buy a Powerwall battery, decentralised energy storage capacity would increase to 10.5GWh. WATER Separate retail arms 'will win more' Water companies that legally separate their retail arm from their wholesale division will "win more business", according to major water user and poultry supplier Bernard Matthews. The company's procurement category manager Stuart Read said water firms that completely separate their retail arms will have a "more flexible and dynamic" company that is better able to respond to the demands of customers. He added that the move would also help to distance the retail company from the wholesale company, which could be an advantage for some retailers as there "is no baggage" associated with the new retail arm that there may be with the incumbent wholesaler. "I would probably be as a buyer more open to talking to them if I knew that they were completely independent," Read said. ENERGY British Gas Business profits down by 95% Centrica has revealed that British Gas Business first-half 2015 profits have been slashed by 95 per cent to just £3 million, from £61 million in 2014, aer a new billing system caused billing issues, raising costs and hitting customer service levels. The company said in its interim results for the first half of the year that the number of supply points dropped six per cent to 802,000 from 854,000 in 2014, as customer service suffered. In contrast, British Gas resi- dential energy supply reported that profits have almost doubled to £528 million from £265 mil- lion in the first half of 2014, as a result of higher temperature-led energy use and lower policy costs. Home suppliers must use DCC by August 2017 I am the customer Lewis Shand Smith "Complaints have been decreasing since March" Figures released earlier this week by Ombudsman Services: Energy show that 35,309 energy complaints were received in the first six months of the year, up 55 per cent compared with the same period last year. However, in a surprising turn, energy complaints figures have been decreasing since March. We received 15,853 complaints between April and June, down from 19,456 in the first three months of 2015. It seems energy companies may have started announced plans to introduce 24-hour switching to the energy industry, although consumers will have to wait until 2018. We're also now publishing data sheets every quarter, show- ing the volume of complaints against each of the ten largest providers. This means consum- ers thinking of switching can check the customer service standards of each company before making a decision. Lewis Shand Smith, chief ombudsman to improve their complaints handling procedures. Despite this, we know many consumers still do not raise a complaint if they are facing issues. Our latest Consumer Action Monitor found 71 million problems were not acted on in 2014, with more than two-fihs of consumers saying complain- ing "isn't worth the hassle". It's concerning so many are failing to get the resolution they deserve. Key concerns for consumers include billing, which accounted for 85 per cent of all complaints made, and transfers, accounting for 10 per cent. But there could be some good news on the hori- zon – the government recently 22 | 7TH - 13TH AUGUST 2015 | UTILITY WEEK

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - Utility Week 7th August 2015