Utility Week

UTILITY Week 9th December 2017

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

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Customers This week Co-op 'will benefit only in the long term' Co-operative Energy will not benefit from taking on GB Energy Supply's customers in the short term Co-operative Energy will not benefit from taking on GB Energy Supply's customers in the short term, but the "vast majority" will stay with the supplier, according to the group's general manager, Ramsay Dunning. Dunning also told Utility Week that the firm was "very, very well set up" to manage the influx of customers. Co-operative Energy will take on all of GB Energy Supply's customers aer the firm ceased trading last month due to rising wholesale prices. Dunning said: "In the short term the move won't benefit Co-operative Energy; in the long term we think the vast majority of those customers will choose to stay with us – not all, but the vast majority. "The majority of GB Energy customers le the big six to go to an independent supplier where they got a better deal, and in staying with Co-operative Energy they will still get a better deal. At the moment, some of the best deals are with Co-operative Energy, so why would they move away?" Last year, Co-operative Energy ranked worst for cus- tomer service of 19 of the UK's largest energy suppliers, according to figures from Citizens Advice. The figures showed the supplier had the highest customer com- plaint ratio ever recorded by Citizens Advice – of 1,584 complaints per 100,000 customers for July to September 2015. Co-operative Energy blamed a new billing and cus- tomer service system that had been introduced earlier that year. SJ WATER Companies to fund market opening awareness campaign The water companies will fund a national campaign to raise awareness of market opening, as part of a wider communications and PR plan. In the latest Open Water update, Ofwat retail market opening director Adam Cooper said: "A lot of our focus is now on raising awareness of the market for customers. "In collaboration with the Open Water partners and the water companies, Ofwat believes that all eligible customers should have access to impar- tial and reliable information, enabling them to feel confident about the market and able to make an informed decision about their choice of water retail services provider." He added: "By the time you read this, it is likely that an agency will have been appointed to run the campaign, and water companies will already be using the brand guidelines and toolkit sent out last month." ENERGY Cap 'could hamper smart meter rollout' A price cap for prepayment meter customers until the full smart meter rollout is complete could discourage customers from installing a smart meter, three of the UK's largest suppli- ers have warned. British Gas, EDF and SSE said the transitional price cap rem- edy from the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) probe could have a "number of adverse unintended consequences" for the smart meter rollout. Centrica urged the CMA to remove the paragraph that states the cap will apply to customers where "no excluded smart meter" has been installed – which currently includes Smets1 foundation meters. It requested that the statement instead reads: "The price cap shall apply solely to the provision of traditional prepayment meters". ENERGY Centrica trials local market in Cornwall Centrica has launched a £19 mil- lion trial to develop a local energy market in Cornwall. The pioneering programme will include the installation of new technology into more than 150 homes and businesses. Over the next three years, Centrica will give renewable generators, local businesses and other large energy users free smart technology upgrades and install new energy storage units. Participants will be able to sell their flexible energy capacity to the grid and the wholesale market via a virtual marketplace. Dunning: supplier is 'very, very well set up' I am the customer Rod Sinden In this column in the 11 Novem- ber issue, Allen Creedy of the FSB said Ofgem has been slow to take the lead in plans for a Code of Practice (CoP) for third-party intermediaries (TPIs). The Utilities Intermediaries Association (UIA), a member of the FSB, has attended energy meetings with the FSB, Ofgem, Decc and Number 10. One of the reasons why Ofgem is not proceeding with the CoP is that it is shiing from prescriptive to principles-based regulation. an independent redress scheme that protects the consumer on all aspects of a TPI's work, regard- less of supplier. The code can be signed up to by the TPI outside of trade association membership for a very small sum. Trade associations such as the FSB are in a position to encourage their members to use TPIs that are signed to a CoP and set an example in their own commercial activities. Rod Sinden, operations director, UIA There are also possible legal rea- sons in that Ofgem has no pow- ers to directly regulate TPIs and is unable to collect money from them. However it can apply for injunctions under the Business Protection from Misleading Mar- keting Regulations legislation. It could apply for extra powers to regulate TPIs, which would be costly to the customer and could be terminal to smaller TPIs. This then leaves the status quo: Eon, which has promoted its "TPI Code of Practice", which has only ever covered business that is placed with Eon's SME department. The UIA is custodian of the premier code that incorporates UTILITY WEEK | 9TH - 15TH DECEMBER 2016 | 25 "The UIA is custodian of the premier code for TPIs"

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