SSE to offer all customers an Annual Energy Review
25 Apr 2012
Over the next 12 months, SSE will offer all of its customers a wide reaching energy review designed to ensure they are on the best product for their needs. The GB-wide roll-out follows a successful pilot involving over 1,000 customers. To support this initiative SSE will create 200 new jobs dedicated to delivering the reviews.
- Following completion of a successful pilot, all SSE customers will now be offered an annual energy review (AER).
- 200 new jobs to be created to deliver this commitment.1
- SSE has delivered on all ten of its ‘building trust’ proposals announced in October 2011.2
- Roll-out of AERs is one of ten new measures announced today, to further enhance transparency, restore simplicity, improve customer service and ensure fairness for all customers.
- Other new plans include:
- simplifying energy bills;
- publishing an outlook on what may happen to retail prices;
- an ‘open book’ approach to customer service performance;
- ensuring prepayment meter customers can get onto SSE’s best tariff.
- Commitment to freeze prices until at least October 2012 remains, despite wholesale price pressures.
The Annual Energy Review is designed to make sure that customers are on the best product for their needs, paying for their energy in the most effective way, using their energy efficiently and accessing any benefits or support they might be entitled to. SSE will initially prioritise AERs for customers believed to be vulnerable and then offer this service to all customers throughout the year.
A commitment to design and trial an Annual Energy Review, was one of the ten commitments SSE made in October 2011 to help address the perceived lack of trust in energy companies. All of these commitments have now been delivered.
SSE has today outlined ten further measures to enhance transparency, restore simplicity, improve customer service and ensure fairness for all customers. It is writing to all of its nine million customers outlining the progress made against the original ‘building trust’ proposals and outlining the ten new commitments, which are:
- Simplify energy bills - SSE will trial a prototype simple bill with customers and work to remove many of the compulsory regulatory requirements which get in the way of customers’ need for straightforward and practical information.
- Tackle estimated bills - SSE will launch a new service dedicated to reducing the need for estimated bills. This will assist customers during the seven-year transition to smart meters.
- Always ensure that prepayment meter customers can get onto the best tariff - current prepayment meters have inflexible technology and suppliers do not provide their cheapest tariff through these meters. SSE will enable these customers to benefit from its cheapest tariff.
- Price freeze guarantee - SSE is the only supplier to commit to not increasing its electricity and gas prices, if it has to, until at least October 2012, and will implement further price reductions when possible.
- An ‘open book’ approach to customer service data - SSE will introduce an externally-assured online display showing performance against a range of meaningful customer service measures.
- Extend the Sales Guarantee to all energy products - SSE will extend its Sales Guarantee to cover all domestic gas, electrical and renewable maintenance and installation services.
- Prioritise vulnerable customers with an Annual Energy Review - SSE has been encouraged by customers’ reaction to the Annual Energy Review pilots and will now commit to rolling out the service to every customer, beginning with those considered to be vulnerable. To deliver this SSE is recruiting 200 new employees.
- Introduce freephone customer service numbers - SSE will make all customer service phone numbers, freephone 0800 numbers.
- Publish an Energy Market Outlook - SSE will regularly publish statements analysing wholesale market conditions and the potential impact that this and other costs may have on the retail price of electricity and gas in the coming months.
- Trading commitment for smaller suppliers - SSE has developed a specific wholesale trading commitment for small suppliers consisting of terms suitable to their needs and has written to every small supplier to inform them of this package.
Read more about SSE’s new commitments.
To support the announcement today, Ian Marchant, SSE’s Chief Executive, will host a webchat at 10.00am this morning. This will provide an opportunity for customers to say what they think about the actions SSE has already taken, the new measures announced today, and where they believe SSE could do more. Anyone wishing to participate in the webchat can do so by clicking here.
SSE also supplies electricity and gas as Southern Electric in England, Scottish Hydro in Scotland, SWALEC in Wales, and through Atlantic via the internet.
SSE Chief Executive Ian Marchant said: “SSE takes its responsibilities toward its customers very seriously and believes that actions speak louder than words. That is why over the last six months we have been working hard to implement the ten commitments we announced in October 2011, which were designed to begin the process of regaining our customers’ trust. I’m pleased to report that we have delivered against all of them.
“The fact that in just six months SSE has delivered real changes that benefit all customers, shows how much more effective swift action by responsible energy companies can be, rather than drawn-out and potentially misguided regulatory change.
“As the ten steps we are setting out today show, we have no intention of stopping here either. We want to work in collaboration with customers and other interested parties to further improve our performance and that of the industry as a whole.”
Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE’s Generation and Supply Director, said: “The work to build customer trust is far from over. As the needs and expectations of customers evolve, energy suppliers have to work even harder to continually meet them. The ten new measures SSE has announced today show that we remain committed to this task.
“At SSE we are proud to continually outperform our major competitors in almost every independent survey of customer service. Although some responsible energy suppliers appear to be following SSE’s lead in seeking to rebuild the trust of their customers, others have been slow to react or appear to have ignored this important issue altogether. We believe that customers will respond to this, and support those suppliers who are prepared to do the right thing. We have set ourselves the challenge of moving further and faster than any other major competitor and of ensuring that we stand comparison with quality companies in any other sector.”
1. The 200 new jobs will be created at SSE’s award winning customer service centre in Havant, near Portsmouth
2. Read more about SSE's commitment to building trust