Customers

Examining how utilities are tackling the key issues of vulnerability and affordability

Editor's picks

After a bruising week for the energy retail market, in which wholesale power prices hit dramatic new heights, more than 500,000 customers saw their supplier exit the market and a major price comparison website was forced to suspend its energy services, the real fear is that we have yet to see the worst. Adam John looks at where the energy retail sector goes from here.
Analysis
One of the major price comparison services has halted energy comparisons after soaring wholesale costs resulted in suppliers restricted the number of tariffs available. Elsewhere other comparison services are offering a severely limited number of deals, with only a handful of suppliers listed on their sites.
News
A customer service expert has warned utilities they cannot get away with blaming poor performance on Covid or Brexit. Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, pointed to evidence that after an initial wave of high satisfaction across sectors, consumers were now becoming more demanding and less likely to be pacified when they encounter problems.
News

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Download Utility Week’s report to discover the factors driving industry pilots of open banking technology to improve debt and payment management in the post-pandemic world.
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As part of our Countdown to COP series, Ovo Energy’s director of sustainability, Dr Rebecca Heaton, discusses the company’s Plan Zero as well as what COP26 means to her.
Interviews
As part of our Countdown to COP series, Utility Week speaks to Gordon Rogers, head of long term strategy, environment, planning and innovation at United Utilities. He discusses his company’s decarbonisation commitments as well as the wider need for action to adapt to a climate that is already changing.
Interviews
Elexon has decided to bar small supplier Omni Energy from registering new electricity meters after the company failed to sufficiently reduce its credit cover percentage. The disruptor brand, which specialises in serving in prepayment meter (PPM) customers, previously warned it was “highly likely to cease trading”.
News
A more than £1 billion tax windfall should be used to help fuel poor households in the forthcoming budget, the head of the charity National Energy Action has argued. Adam Scorer warned that without emergency support, millions of households will sink further into debt or be forced to turn off their heating, becoming at risk of serious ill-health.
News
Energy suppliers have been warned not to use threatening tones in communications with their customers over debt, following research showing this may be counterproductive. The research by Ofgem was published alongside its latest Consumer Protection Report which raised concerns some suppliers were prematurely or even incorrectly involving debt collection agencies. The regulator said in one case a supplier issued a county court judgement to a consumer over a small amount of debt, despite not having sent them a bill.
News
Good Energy, Green Energy UK and Ecotricity have been accredited by Which? as its first ‘Eco Providers’ for energy. The consumer group assessed the green energy credentials of more than 40 energy suppliers, giving each of them a score of out 20.
News
Ofgem has been threatened with legal action by a number of small suppliers which said they no longer have confidence in the regulator and have demanded redress for what they deem as its failings. In a letter written by Jo Gilbert, the former chief operating officer of the recently failed PFP Energy, Ofgem was accused of helping to bring the energy market “to its knees”.
News
Getting consumers to engage with net zero is going to require big changes to service strategies. But are utilities clear on what those changes should look like for a diverse spectrum of customers?
Analysis
As part of our Countdown to COP series, Utility Week speaks to Suleman Alli, director of customer service, strategy, regulation and information services at UK Power Networks. He discusses the legacy of COP26 but also delves into action his company is taking to facilitate on-street electric vehicle charging and how it aims to “write the book on green home heating”.
Interviews
Ofgem has expressed concerns that the number of priority services register (PSR) services offered by energy suppliers seem to be “out of step with need”. The regulator’s latest Consumer Protection Report draws from the latest social obligations data from domestic suppliers, as well as engagement with consumer groups and charities over the course of the pandemic.
News
Energy retailers have told Utility Week that Ofgem’s plans to make them refund customer credit balances will do nothing to address the affordability issue and simply heaps further pressure on suppliers at the worst possible time.
News
Shell Energy has become a supplier of last resort (SoLR) for the second time in a week following the demise of GoTo Energy. The failure of GoTo Energy marked the 16th time this year the SoLR process has been invoked and the 38th time since 2016.
News
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