Customers

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

Editor's picks

Trustpilot is investigating Symbio Energy over the nature of its responses to customers leaving negative feedback. The review site stressed it takes action when “businesses act in a way that is threatening, or is perceived to be so”.
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Centrica says it is continuing to face tough trading conditions as a result of the pandemic but added that its restructure remains "on track". In a trading update issued ahead of its AGM the company said the factors impacting its 2021 outlook remain “broadly unchanged” since its preliminary results in February in which it announced a £360 million loss.
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Newly released government figures show 12.5 per cent of households in England are estimated to be in fuel poverty in 2021. The projection represents a reduction from the figure in 2019 of 13.4 per cent, which BEIS attributes to the progress in energy efficiency.
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Featured

Although both are white labels of Octopus, M&S and Co-Op Energy manage to outperform their parent company on customer service rankings. Utility Week asked Octopus Energy’s Rebecca Dibb-Simkin why this is, and what approach the company has taken to integrating two household brands into a disruptor model.
Interviews
Debt and collections leaders in utilities remain braced for the wave of debt and affordability woes they know will come with the end of government’s coronavirus support measures. Are they armed with the right products, resources and data to service the new scale and profile of customers in arrears?
Downloads
New research commissioned by Northern Gas Networks (NGN) has shown that just one in five Brits believe that we can meet the UK’s net carbon zero target by 2050, but that there is also a strong public appetite for a greener future. As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, chief executive Mark Horsley shares his views on how the gas sector must win hearts and minds as 2050 draws nearer.
Opinion

Latest in Customers

Making water companies responsible for social tariffs is "not good enough", the shadow water minister told an online round­table hosted by Utility Week. Gavin Shuker MP said he would look into the feasibility of a national scheme to help customers in need.
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Risks for European utilities have declined over the past quarter, according to a regular report by analysts Citi, but the risk from the economic recession remains high.
So far, as was pointed out during Utility Week's online discussion forum last Friday, there has been little public debate on proposals in the Water White Paper. That should change as the implications begin to filter into the public consciousness.
It's tough being a water company right now. Consumer and industrial demand is affecting availability, managing the obsolescence of complex, distributed assets is a challenge and the regulator is shifting the incentive model in favour of customer experience.
Comment
43 per cent of people are worries they can't afford their next fuel bill, according to a survey of 2,000 people by Citizens Advice. The charity is now handling 500 fuel-related problems each day and has urged consumers to check they are getting support they are entitled to from energy suppliers and government.
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In a water white paper published last month, government pledged to shake up the water industry. It set out plans that would eventually allow all non-domestic customers to choose their supplier, exposing water companies to competition in many cases for the first time. The government wants companies to be more responsive to customers and the environment, but has it done enough to make sure water remains affordable, and will it give companies and customers the tools they need to manage demand? Have your say in our live webchat, starting at 3pm. The webchat will scroll in a "Cover It Live" panel immediately below this paragraph. To have your say, use the comment box in the panel - no login required.
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SSE is the next major energy supplier to announce a price cut. The firm will cut gas prices by 4.5 per cent as of 26 March and promised not to raise electricity prices until October at the earliest.
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Calor Gas, the UK's biggest provider of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) has announced plans to be the first rural energy supplier to become an energy services company (Esco).
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