Utility Week

UTILITY Week 9th September 2016

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

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/723894

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 31

Customers This week Extra Energy bottom of complaints table Independent supplier attracts record number of complaints per customer in Citizens Advice league Extra Energy has remained at the bottom of the Citizens Advice complaints table for a second quarter in a row. The independent supplier reached a record complaints ratio (1,791.2 per 100,000 cus- tomers) and performed 80 times worse than the best performing supplier, SSE. According to Citi- zens Advice, this is the biggest gap between the best and worst suppliers since the table began five years ago. Common problems reported about Extra Energy included late or inaccurate bills and difficulty getting through to its customer service team on the phone when there was an problem to resolve. SSE retained its position at the top of the table with a complaints ratio of 22.5 per 100,000 customers, com- pared with 28.4 the previous quarter. EDF Energy, British Gas and Eon also made the top five, with Scottish Power below Npower in nineteenth position. Npower slashed complaints by over a third but was ranked the same because Spark Energy entered the table in a higher position. Citizens Advice's latest table also showed Flow Energy fell from second-best performer to tenth, with a fourfold increase in its complaints ratio, and Ecotricity doubled its complaints ratio. The charity publishes the quarterly results of the 21 largest energy firms to demonstrate to the public how well they are dealing with complaints. Suppliers' scores are calculated based on the seriousness of the complaint and how long it took to resolve. SJ WATER 'WOCs and WASCs cannot be compared' South East Water has suggested the Consumer Council for Water's annual complaints report should compare overall industry perfor- mance excluding sewerage, and then including sewerage, rather than comparing water-only com- panies (WOCs) and water and sewerage companies (WASCs). In a consultation in June, CCWater asked whether com- panies had concerns about the data it is collecting. South East also argued that connected-property data is "inconsistent". It proposed the report be modified as follows: l Supply complaints should be normalised by number of water supply connections. l Sewerage complaints should be normalised by number of sewerage connections. l Billing complaints should be normalised by the number of connections directly billed by the company. l Metering complaints should be normalised by the number of metered connections. ENERGY Domestic storage to dominate by 2024 Behind-the-meter energy storage will overtake grid-scale storage as the largest market segment in 2021 as the result of a surge in storage capacity, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Today, utility-scale storage makes up 84 per cent of total installed capacity, but by 2024, behind-the-meter storage will represent two-thirds of capacity. The BNEF report revealed that, by 2024, capacity will reach 45GW, 16 times the current amount, aer investment of £33 billion. About £2.9 trillion will be invested in power genera- tion capacity. ENERGY SSE committed to flexible service SSE is to offer flexible customer services and improve complaints handling in a bid to attain a gold standard for customer service. The energy supplier is aiming to become the first to meet the criteria of the British Standard for Inclusive Service Provision. It has committed itself to put in place flexible customer services that are designed, marketed and available to all customers, including those experiencing some form of vul- nerability, by 2018. Will Morris, SSE group managing director of retail, said: "Some of our customers require more help or a differ- ent service and putting in place the improvements to achieve BSI accreditation will help us accomplish this." Many complaints were about inaccurate bills I am the customer Judith Donovan "A paper bill is the best way to engage with spending" The investigation by the Com- petition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the energy market aimed to improve the bills of millions of UK customers. One of the primary problems it identified was the perceived lack of customer engagement, with people not taking time to review their expenditure and shop around. As a result, more than 70 per cent of the six larg- est energy firms' customers pay a default tariff, which is also the most expensive. manage their finances well (75 rather than 48 per cent of those with electronic payments). We must do more to get people to monitor their energy spending. For some consumers, a traditional paper bill is the clearly the best way to ensure this. As such, it is a shame that the CMA's findings do not exam- ine how the methods by which people receive their bill affects their subsequent behaviour. Judith Donovan CBE, chair, Keep Me Posted The CMA's report proposed a number of measures to cap tariffs and hold providers to account. While this should be applauded, to my mind it does not truly address the best way to engage customers. With our culture's embrace of digital services, more people than ever have been encouraged by their provider to manage their accounts online. The option to receive bills online works for some but for many this makes them far less likely to actively engage with their spending. Behavioural research conducted by the Keep Me Posted campaign found that people who receive their bills on paper generally UTILITY WEEK | 9TH - 15TH SEPTEMBER 2016 | 23

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - UTILITY Week 9th September 2016