Utility Week

UTILITY Week 13th January 2017

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

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/772056

Contents of this Issue


Page 26 of 31

Customers UTILITY WEEK | 13TH - 19TH JANUARY 2017 | 27 Scottish Water has confirmed its plans to implement a 1.6 per cent increase in household charges in April this year. The increase will apply across all council tax bands and is in line with the price limits set by the Scottish regulator Wics as part of a six-year agreement between Scottish Water and the Customer Forum, which repre- sents the interests of customers. WATER Scottish Water to hike domestic charges by 1.6 per cent from April Wics set the 1.6 per cent price increase limit in November 2014. It is effective until 2021 and is designed to deliver Scottish min- isterial objectives at the lowest reasonable overall cost for the benefit of customers. Despite the increases, Scot- tish Water has assured custom- ers that their water bills will remain "considerably" lower than the English average (£389). The additional cost should equate to just £6 being added to the average household bill per year, according to the firm. It also said it remained com- mitted to its intention to reduce household water charges in real terms by 2021. Scottish Water chief executive Douglas Millican said: "Scot- tish Water customers continue to enjoy the benefits of one of This week Thames under fire for service failures A series of disruptions left some customers without a water supply on Christmas Day Thames Water has come under renewed criticism following a series of service failures in London over the Christmas period. The water company has been told it must step up efforts to reduce the risk of water supply incidents, such as a pump failure that le thousands without water on Christmas Day and a series of pipe bursts during December. "It is enormously frustrating for people to be le without a water supply on Christmas Day but we're particularly concerned that this is the latest in a series of service failures to affect thousands of consumers across London," CCWater London and South East chair Tony Redmond told Utility Week. "A reliable water supply is a priority for customers and Thames needs to look closely at whether it could do more to reduce the risk of these incidents occurring." Redmond's comments come on top of criticism from London mayor Sadiq Khan, who said before Christmas that people were "rightly furious that it appears lessons are not being learnt". A spokesperson for the London mayor's office also told Utility Week it was "appalling" that water supplies had been cut off on Christmas Day. Thames told Utility Week that recent disruptions "serve as a clear reminder that we must continue to keep investing heavily in our ageing network, with many pipes in London well over 100 years old". A team of experts at the water company are "fully investigating all the recent events" and will recommend how the company can improve its service to customers, the spokesperson added. LV ELECTRICITY Northern Powergrid boosts awareness Northern Powergrid has seen a 148 per cent increase in visits to its Priority Services Register web page following a two-week awareness campaign. The campaign had more than 4.5 million web page appear- ances on regional news websites across the electricity distribu- tor's operating area and called on viewers to think of people in their life who would benefit from extra support during power cuts. Northern Powergrid said the campaign had allowed the company to reach out to differ- ent groups of customers and link them directly to the website. ELECTRICITY Green Energy UK launches ToU tariff Green Energy UK has launched a time-of-use (ToU) tariff for households with smart meters. Customers who sign up will pay one-fih the rate for electricity overnight compared with peak hours on weekday evenings. "Our new tariff is called Tide and is about being savvy and smart, where being smart is the way customers can bring down their energy bill, not trying to find the cheapest deal with a new-on-the-block-supplier," said chief executive Doug Stewart. Customers will be charged the High Tide rate of 24.99p/ kWh for electricity between 4pm and 7pm on weekdays and the Low Tide rate of 4.99p/kWh for using it between 11pm and 6am on any day of the week. The rest of the time they will be charged 11.99p/kWh. Green Energy UK said it would install smart meters for customers wanting to sign up who did not already have one installed. Tide is the second time-of- use tariff to be launched in the UK aer British Gas unveiled its FreeTime tariff in July, which offers free power to smart meter customers between 9am and 5pm on weekends. ENERGY Suppliers failing on bill transparency Energy suppliers are failing to make progress on simplifying energy bills, suggests research from Echo Managed Services. Despite measures introduced by Ofgem in 2014, 70 per cent of those surveyed by Echo Man- aged Services said bills were either as difficult to understand or had become harder to under- stand. Just 3 in 10 said bills were getting easier to interpret. Billing jargon also remains confusing. In the survey, "tariff information label" topped the list for the most confusing terminology in bills, with 78 per cent of customers admitting to not understanding the term. This was followed closely by "chargeable value" (72 per cent) and "tariff comparison rate" (72 per cent). Taps ran dry in southwest London after pump failure the UK's best value water and wastewater services." He added that "the quality of drinking water has never been higher" and that the firm is focused on meeting customer expectations. "That's why we're building on the significant improvements we've made to water services by providing value for money, stability and certainty in charge levels."

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - UTILITY Week 13th January 2017