Utility Week

UTILITY Week 10th March 2017

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Customers UTILITY WEEK | 10TH - 16TH MARCH 2017 | 25 This week Business Stream and Veolia have announced a new partnership in the run-up to market opening, to provide business customers with a "complete retail water package". The duo say their partner- ship will make use of Business Stream's existing presence and experience in the water retail market, and Veolia's global engineering innovation, to offer WATER Business Stream and Veolia offer 'holistic' resource management a "holistic approach" to water resource management, saving customers money as well as cutting carbon. The two companies will work together to provide businesses with an "end-to-end solution" for all their water, energy and waste needs via a single pro- vider – from the installation and management of on-site networks and processing facilities to the provision and management of water and waste resources. Business Stream chief execu- tive Jo Dow said: "We know that businesses in England are taking a fresh look at how they buy and manage their water and waste- water services as a result of the choices they will have available from April. "Business Stream already provides retail and value-added Severn Trent delays formal retail exit Firm plans June exit, to give it time to integrate Dee Valley and to avoid confusing customers Severn Trent has announced it will delay its formal exit from the non-domestic water retail market while it works through licence changes and the integration of Dee Valley Water, which it recently acquired. The company said delaying the move will avoid confusion for its customers. Severn Trent intends to exit the competitive market via a transfer of its business customers to Water Plus, a retail joint venture set up last year by Severn Trent and United Utilities. The water firm confirmed for Utility Week that it has formally delayed this process, however, while it focuses on assimilating the Dee Valley business. It will now look to exit in June rather than April. Severn Trent insisted that this will have "no impact" on its readiness for market opening, and that it is "eager to get going on 1 April". A spokesman for the company told Utility Week: "We're in constant dialogue with Water Plus, and will continue to work with them to make all necessary arrangements to ensure our customers continue to receive an excellent service." Severn Trent originally revealed that it would look to delay its retail market exit in a document from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The same document flagged Yorkshire Water's inten- tion to U-turn on the transfer of its business customers to its retail spin-out Three Sixty. There are now market rumours that Yorkshire Water intends to sell off its non-domestic customer book completely. LV ENERGY Complaints drop to three-year low New figures from Ofgem and the Energy Ombudsman show that complaints about energy sup- pliers fell by 32 per cent in 2016 compared with the previous year. This takes complaint levels to their lowest for three years. There were 3.5 million com- plaints about energy suppliers and supply issues in 2016, down from 5 million in 2015. Further- more, for large and medium- sized suppliers, most complaints were successfully dealt with internally – without them need- ing to be referred to the Energy Ombudsman. Despite the improvement in complaints handling, however, suppliers were still required to hand back £3.3 million to con- sumers in 2016 aer interven- tions by the Ombudsman. Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said the "steady" decline in the volume of energy- related complaints is "encourag- ing", but he cautioned against complacency and observed that consumers are "rightly more demanding of their energy suppliers than ever before". ENERGY 'Routine' upgrade caused display gaffe Energy supplier SSE has moved to reassure customers aer a rou- tine soware update for smart meter customers resulted in inaccurate energy charges being reported on in-home displays. According to the BBC, one SSE customer's display suggested she would be charged more than £30,000 for a single day. An SSE spokesperson said customer billing will be "com- pletely unaffected" because the "technical issue only affects the digital display" – not the actual smart meter. They added that the errors – experienced by a "small" but unconfirmed number of customers – were the result of "a routine soware upgrade carried out last week". ENERGY Children lead to bigger smart savings Anecdotal evidence suggests that UK households with school- aged children show better engagement with their smart meters than those without, according to Smart Energy GB. "Anecdotally, we have seen that children have a very posi- tive impact on engagement with smart meters," said Rob Smith, head of policy and public affairs at Smart Energy GB. He clarified that the enthusiastic interest of children in the new devices appears to reap "bigger savings" compared with households with smart meters but without school-aged children. Smith said Smart Energy GB, which is responsible for manag- ing public awareness of the smart meter rollout, is now con- ducting trials with two schools in Wales to explore how this apparent link can be optimised. In the pipeline: business users to move to Water Plus services to a range of industries and organisations, but this col- laboration will allow our custom- ers access to Veolia's breadth of expertise. By working together, we can offer customers a compel- ling combination of innovative, tailored solutions to help them deliver significant savings on their water and wastewater charges, as well as helping reduce their environmental impact."

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