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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Despite FIT cuts, PV can still be attractive to utilities if they use the power purchase agreement model as Thames Water has, says Patrick Charignon.
Opinion
Few dispute Midata's intentions, but with issues such as security, liability and practical delivery far from sorted, giving consumers access to their data will be no walk in the park. Kathy Oxtoby reports.
News
Ryanair is an extremely successful airline. Its transparent pricing means that active consumers can cut down on those optional extras such as checking in at the airport, or taking baggage, and reduce their costs. For those who don't have that flexibility, however, the total price can add up quickly.
The charges levied by distribution and transmission companies for use of their networks are so volatile and unpredictable that they create major unhedgeable risks for suppliers. From 2010 to 2011, domestic electricity distribution charges changed between -3 per cent and 24 per cent, based on average consumption figures across the 14 distribution network operator (DNO) regions. The latest indicative tariffs suggest that households will see similar changes for the coming year.
Comment
With so many choice and purchasing options available to consumers, trust is emerging as a key brand battleground, according to Dominic England and Dan Taylor.
News
Consumer organisations tell Utility Week how they want utilities to respond to customers' needs in the next 20 years.
News
Norwegian utility Statkraft's trading update for the last quarter of 2011 makes interesting reading.
Comment
SSE has made major changes its retail offering, reducing its energy products range to two standard and two fixed options based on a standing charge and a unit charge. However, it has left room for more variation by allowing customers to pay for optional add-ons.
News
Chargemaster is rolling out the country's first national EV charging infrastructure. Chief executive David Martell tells Karma Ockenden he has praise for electricity suppliers but DNOs could do more to help.
Opinion
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