The fundamental need for energy won’t disappear, but traditional ways of working with our customers will change. We are embracing this future and taking action to ensure we are better than anyone else at solving customers’ energy needs. We will achieve this by doing the basics brilliantly and offering great service, which in turn will earn us the right to add value to our customers and innovate. This includes making things easier for customers whilst providing them more choice and more control over their energy consumption.
At EDF Energy, as a responsible business, caring for all of our customers is something we have always considered our duty. For the most vulnerable in society, our aim is to develop our internal processes and develop more collaborative third party partnerships. This will enable us to provide more holistic support to make sure that we add sustained value for those that need it most.
Demand for digital is radically changing the way we interact with customers. We are therefore seizing these opportunites including digital energy efficiency solutions and services, to enable customers to manage their energy better.
In an ever changing world, we are constantly improving our existing services and developing new ones. Digital tools have radically transformed how we engage with our customers and presented us with opportunities to make their lives easier.
In 2016, we set out a new target: to be the most trusted brand in the UK energy industry, with the highest customer advocacy. We will do this by concentrating on how we can better respond to and solve our customers’ changing energy needs.
MEETING CUSTOMER NEEDS
We hold a Standards of Conduct Advisory Panel with respected third parties such as Which? and Citizens Advice to help us understand what we need to do next to best meet customer needs and deliver high standards for every customer.
We measure and reward our staff to balance the number of calls they take with the quality of what they do. Although we have incentives in place for the promotion of additional products, they are modest and are only honoured if high quality standards and targets are met.
TACKLING COMPLAINTS HEAD ON
We have a complaint improvement programme in place to ensure complaint management is focused on positive customer outcomes. The programme has also implemented a systematic root cause approach that identifies and delivers the changes required to prevent complaints arising.
In response to the fairness requirement from Ofgem, our industry regulator, we’ve introduced a Trust Test to make sure we meet the Standards of Conduct. It means that when we create new policies, processes, products or communications, we ask ourselves ‘is this the right thing to do for our customers?’.
Then we ask five more questions:
- Is this a fair thing to do?
- Are we being professional?
- Are we offering products, services and advice appropriate for our customers’ needs?
- Are we being transparent and communicating clearly?
- Are we being honest? This includes admitting mistakes and acting quickly to put things right
We are reviewing our Trust Test in 2017 to ensure it reflects changes in our regulatory environment; including changes specifically to sales and marketing practices and to ensure we are presenting products and services to customers in a transparent and simple way.
To make energy easier for our customers, we provide many ways for customers to contact us and manage their accounts. Our customers can email us, call us to speak to an advisor here in the UK, get supportwith our live webchat service or access and manage their account online with MyAccount whenever they need to.
Our residential and small business customers can also use the EDF Energy app to manage their account on the go.
How we measure our progress
What we measure:
- Customer trust index, this is based on measures such as the Net Promoter Score, which measures the likelihood of customers recommending us to a friend or colleague.
It also includes:
- Average speed of answering calls from residential customers
- High level complaints from residential customers
- Advisor recommendation score
- Average speed of answering calls from business customers
- High level/written complaints from business customers
- Percentage of customers using our self-serve options, like managing their account online.
- Achieve a customer trust index score of 100
- Increase the percentage of customers using self-serve
This builds on our previous goal to publish progress on our Customer Commitments (Better Service, Fair Value, and Simplicity) and continually improve in our ‘Best for Customers’ Index.
How are we doing
BETTER FOR THE CUSTOMER
In 2016 we finished the year in second position of the major suppliers on the Trust Index Survey, narrowly behind SSE. This is similar to our Net Promoter Score (which measures the likelihood of customers recommending us to a friend or colleague) which was zero, compared with -11 in 2015. This put us in second position, again, narrowly behind SSE.
We answered 5.6 million residential calls in 2016 with a telephony average speed of answer (ASA) at 2 min 09 secs for residential customers.
Advisor Recommendation Scores increased in the fourth quarter, to a 6-month rolling average of +56. Around 45% of our customers are on fixed tariffs, including 60% of vulnerable customers, compared to an average of a third for our key competitors. We finished the year in second position of the major suppliers in the Citizens Advice residential complaint league table.
Citizens Advice has also announced that it is taking a new ‘star ratings’ approach to consumer supplier performance. Its new Energy Comparison Tool looks beyond complaints to include other measures of customer service, such as ease of contact and bill clarity. Supplier performance in each category is marked out of 5, where 1 is poor and 5 is excellent. These separate category scores are combined to provide the overall star rating. Under this new approach, EDF Energy achieved a score of 4, along with SSE the only other major supplier to achieve 4 stars.
We have also made choosing tariffs easier with our show us your bill campaign, which helps people find out if they can save money by switching to EDF Energy.
We installed 3,500 more electricity meters for our small business customers in 2016, after improving our product ranges and offering more flexible pricing. And a high proportion of large business customers also renewed their contracts with us, showing that they value our service.
We delivered 10 terawatts of energy to large businesses and partnership customers. We worked closely with these partners to provide tailored, innovative energy solutions to help meet their efficiency and sustainability targets. We are proud to remain the UK’s largest supplier of electricity to the public sector. In 2016, we signed a major new contract with The Energy Consortium to supply 4,500 sites, including English and Welsh Universities, colleges and museums.
In 2016, we have achieved strong telephony performance for our large business customers with average speed to answer of 18 seconds against a target of 15 seconds for large business customers and on-target speed of 40 seconds for small and medium business customers. The Q4 2016 Citizens Advice Non Domestic league table put EDF Energy in 5th position out of the 15 largest suppliers.
SELF-SERVICE AND DIGITAL
Around 65% of transactions with our residential customers and 40% of those with our business customers are done through our self-serve portal, MyAccount, or through our app. Through our app, users can receive an instant quote by scanning the quick response barcode on their energy bill. This is an example of how innovation can make life easier for our customers.
We held over a million live chats in 2016, around 23,000 chats per week. More than 96% of these were answered within 60 seconds. We also responded to 820,000 emails. 96% of which received a response within 12 hours.
Last year we became the first energy supplier to launch voice-controlled energy accounts with Amazon Echo. This innovation means our customers can now ask ‘Alexa’, the Echo’s virtual assistant, to check their account balance and next payment date, submit a meter reading or check when their tariff is due to end.
We define vulnerability as a combination of personal circumstances and aspects of the market that create situations where people are:
- significantly less able to protect or represent their interests in the energy market than a typical customer, and/or
- significantly more likely to suffer detriment, or that detriment is likely to be more substantial, than a typical customer
Our aim is to support all vulnerable people with information about their energy use and the energy-related benefits available to them. We want to make energy easy for our customers by offering new services that give them control over their energy use.
We make sure vulnerability is considered every time we speak to customers, as well as when creating new products, services or processes. To do this we train our staff to recognise the signs of a customer who is struggling and potentially in fuel poverty.
To help our staff manage these situations in the right way, we have put some guidelines in place:
- Identify – proactively identify customers who are vulnerable
- Capture – make sure it is recorded on our systems
- Act – make sure the customer’s needs are met by offering support
Nearly all our customer service employees have now received vulnerability training and we have developed equivalent training for Energy Field Services and Smart Metering employees and contractors.We have also made technical changes to our billing system to include new vulnerability categories. People have also been trained on the online Personalised Support Service toolkit which shows individual customers the wide range of services available to them.
How we measure our progress
We have taken a new approach to vulnerable customers following Ofgem’s Consumer Vulnerability Strategy (CVS) in 2016. This included expanding the eligibility criteria and increased proactivity to identify and engage with customers. Our Vulnerable Customers Strategy includes services that focus on customer well-being, especially through the winter months.
Our new goals for 2017 are to develop:
- an updated internal Vulnerable Customers Strategy to support those who need it most
- new third party partnerships to help us give customers more holistic and specialist support
- ways to add long term value for customers who need it most
This builds on our existing reporting commitments on vulnerable customers.
How are we doing
PRIORITY SERVICE REGISTER
We help customers with special requirements or circumstances, which may be temporary or ongoing, by adding them to our Priority Services Register, providing them extra help and support with their energy supply.
Please see graphs below
In 2016 we have increased the number of customers on the register and they now stand at:
- 591,673 accounts to the Priority Service Register for electricity – an increase of 113,105 (19%)
- 350,510 accounts to the Priority Service Register for gas – an increase of 63,407 (18%)
Ofgem is reviewing the way the Priority Services Register works to make sure existing support meets the needs of vulnerable customers.
ONLINE PRIORITY SERVICES TOOL
Our Online Priority Services Tool brings all our services and advice together in one place. In 2016, we re-designed the Tool to make it more user friendly.
We also added more signposts to the Tool on our website so more customers can see what is available for them specifically on:
- Making sure customers are on the best tariff and payment plan for them
- Providing solid energy efficiency advice to help them reduce energy and save money
- Access to expert debt and budgeting advice – through our relationship with Citizens Advice
- Access to expert advice around benefit entitlement – through our partnership with Income Max
- In extreme cases, support with energy debt or other urgent needs via the EDF Energy Trust
Since its launch there have been over 4,000 referrals through the tool. We hope this will continue in 2017 as we make further improvements. For more detailed information please visit: https://www.edfenergy.com/for-home/help-support/personalised-support-service/digital-tool
WORKING WITH PARTNERS
We have strengthened relationships between our existing partnerships by encouraging cross referrals, making sure all our customers get access to schemes that might benefit them.
In November 2016, we launched a new partnership with Islington Council called the Seasonal Health Interventions Network (SHINE). The scheme aims to reduce fuel poverty and seasonal mortality and morbidity amongst vulnerable residents.
The scheme partners work together to find such residents and help them with their energy needs by looking at their home environment, financial status, seasonal health and general social support. We will then offer them an interdisciplinary package of measures designed to reduce risk.
We will be running a pilot from 2016 - 17 for SHINE across the three London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Haringey/City of London and Westminster, providing:
- an Interventions Helpline
- in-home energy efficiency advice
- low cost energy efficiency measures
Between now and 2030, we want to become a digital champion for residential and business customers. This includes working with customers so they make the most of connected smart homes, as well as connected public buildings, communities and cities.
Through continuous innovation and development of digital energy efficiency solutions, we will provide more choice enabling customers to take control and manage their energy better.
ENERGY COMPANY OBLIGATION
For residential customers, the Government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme gives each large energy supplier a series of targets, such as saving on bills and reducing carbon dioxide. We achieve these by making improvements to energy efficiency, such as installing insulation and boilers in our customers’ homes.
For business customers, our Energy Services teams have been developing advanced energy efficiency programmes and innovative commercial offers.
For our business customers, the strong co-operation between Blue Lab, Business Development and Business & Partnership teams has allowed us to deploy some innovative tools to support our customers in their energy efficiency journey:
- The partnership with First Fuel (digital audit tool for buildings) is now proposed to large and medium customers, with first results available in terms of potential of energy savings; the methodology and business model for the implementation of the recommendation is currently being finalised.
- The partnership with Measure My Energy (MME) is proposed to medium and large customers and will allow us support them in monitoring on real-time their energy consumption.
In partnership with EDF Research and Development (R&D) and other UK companies, we have started work on high value projects such as our geo-solar low-carbon heating system. This year we are working on:
- deploying the MotorBOX, a toolkit to help businesses decide on the best, most efficient motors for their operations
- preparing and launching a demand side response demonstrator, to show how cutting electricity use at times of peak demand can benefit businesses and the nation
- optimising our existing district heating scheme, Barkantine Combined Heat and Power (CHP)
At Blue Lab, our innovation accelerator, we are trialling and developing solutions which will help our customers transform their relationship with energy.
For instance, last year we became the first energy supplier to launch voice controlled energy accounts with Amazon Echo. This innovation means that customers are now able to ask virtual voice ‘Alexa’ to check their account balance and next payment date, submit a meter reading, and check when their tariff is due to end.
Our research and development teams are creating new heat and electricity products, home management systems and ways to encourage our customers to use energy better. We are also sharing any lessons we learn about digital technologies that help people run their homes, with other EDF companies across Europe such as Luminus, Edison and Edelia.
2016 was an important year for us, as we significantly ramped up efforts to meet the Government requirement to install a smart meter into every UK home and small business by 2020. Smart meters have a critical role to play in helping our customers better understand their energy use and this programme gives us the opportunity to talk directly to our customers about managing their usage.
At peak of the roll-out in December, our teams installed 950 smart meters in one day. By the end of 2017 we expect this to increase to over 2,000 smart meter and will be taking on around 500 new installers to help achieve this.
To make the installation as simple as possible, we launched a new self-service booking system on MyAccount. Customers are now able to book, reschedule and cancel installation appointments at their convenience. We are also developing technology so customers can see their smart meter information on their mobile phones and other devices.
How we measure our progress
We want to help everyone to become a champion of low-carbon growth and play their part in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
- to find digital energy efficiency solutions to help our customers manage energy better
- to develop our online and digital platforms
- to support new services that give customers more choice and control over their energy use
These replace our old target, which was to be the most cost efficient energy company in delivering the Government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programme.
The ECO programme is being extended in 2017 for a further 18 months transitioning some of the revisions to the obligation. In Oct 2018 a new ECO3 obligation will be launched which will take this programme through until March 2022.
How are we doing
We met our Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme targets throughout 2016, and are confident that we’re on track to deliver these more cost effectively than other energy companies. At the end of 2016, we had fitted more than 50,000 homes with replacement boilers. This will reduce bills for some of our most vulnerable customers, saving more than £857 million in total over the boilers’ lifetimes. We look forward to the next phase of the ECO scheme, and to making sure our services are simple and affordable, while supporting the most vulnerable customers.
We also proactively contacted over 1.2 million customers with information on how they can reduce their energy consumption. This included letters, texts, emails and outbound calls. Our dedicated energy efficiency webpages also had over 676,000 visits in 2016.
Business Development Account Manager
“Our team looks to identify and develop ECO funding opportunities with local authorities, councils and housing associations. We then manage the commercial development of each project to ensure EDF Energy’s obligated funding is spent appropriately and cost-effectively, typically reducing energy costs for householders, creating warmer and more comfortable energy-efficient homes, plus reducing household carbon emissions.”
Vulnerable Customer Innovation Executive
"I work on the warm home discount project and on redeveloping our personalised support service for customers with additional needs.”
Our six Better Energy Ambitions set out our short, medium and long-term goals and targets for improving our social, economic and environmental performance.