EDF Energy unveils Customer Commitments including pledge that elderly customers identified as most in need will automatically benefit from lowest prices
Commitments on Fair Value, Better Service and Simplicity to earn trust
Company will launch Blue +Price Promise – a new low carbon backed tariff with a promise to tell customers if they could save over £1 per week with any other supplier at typical use
EDF Energy Chief Executive, Vincent de Rivaz, will today launch Our Customer Commitments, to deliver Fair Value, Better Service and Simplicity for customers, at a Parliamentary reception attended by the Government, Regulator and Consumer Groups.
As part of these commitments, by the Winter, EDF Energy will make sure customers whom the government identifies as most in need automatically benefit from its cheapest prices, via a rebate on their bill.
This voluntary step is in addition to the obligations on EDF Energy. It follows the company being the first to launch a social tariff in 2006 and the first to launch a trust fund for customers struggling with household debt in 2003.
It means that those customers who have been identified by the Department of Work and Pensions as most in need will not pay more than they would have if they had been on our cheapest prices.
For this group we will apply our cheapest tariff rate at any given time, as well as all direct debit discounts regardless of how they pay. We will rebate any difference between this and their actual bill. In the coming year nearly 150,000 people are expected to be eligible. The value of this will vary from customer to customer and over time but on average these customers will benefit by about £40, on top of the £120 they already receive through Warm Homes Discount. It means we are increasing the support for our most vulnerable customers by on average one third.
The company will also launch a new product ‘Blue +Price Promise September 2013’ on April 2. This comes with a ground-breaking pledge to let customers know if a rival supplier brings out a product which is £1 a week or more cheaper at typical use, with no termination fees to pay if they choose to leave. Full details are available at www.edfenergy.com.
The new product will also come with a guarantee that the electricity a customer uses will be backed by low carbon electricity generated by EDF Energy’s nuclear power stations.
Mr de Rivaz said: "I am determined to make EDF Energy a better kind of energy company. Our commitments build on our track record and set out what we will do to earn the trust of our customers.
"The energy industry has been criticised over prices, service and complex tariffs. So Our Customer Commitments are based on fair value, better service and simplicity.
"Our commitment to ensure those identified as most in need automatically get our best prices continues our track record of innovation in helping vulnerable customers. We were the first supplier to launch a social tariff in 2006 and the first to set up a trust fund for customers struggling with debt in 2003.
"If the most vulnerable and elderly customers are not participating in the market they are not getting the benefits of competition. Our step means that even if they do not actively switch, they will get our best prices.
Our promise to tell customers who sign up to Blue +Price Promise if they can save more than £1 per week with any of our competitors at typical use is also an industry first.
"We know we will not achieve everything overnight and we want others to hold us to account on our journey. We want to be open and transparent. We will ask for direct feedback from our customers when they contact us, which we will publish on our website. Furthermore we will work with others, including the regulator, Government and consumer bodies to rebuild trust in the industry as a whole."
Our Customer Commitments include;
Fair value: We are committed to providing fair value for our customers. We froze prices in Winter 2010, were the last of the major suppliers to increase prices in autumn 2011 and moved first to cut our gas prices in 2012. Our new commitment to the most vulnerable customers and the launch of our new product Blue +Price promise are further steps to offering Fair Value.
Better service: A commitment to be here for customers whenever they need us, with UK-based telephone advisers who you can call for free and who care about providing the kind of service customers deserve. We recognise that the upgrade to our IT systems means our service levels have fallen short, and we have acted to get back on track. We want to be amongst the best for customer service by the end of the year.
o To help with this, from June we will be introducing 24-hour Webchat Customer Services,
o We will also publish customer satisfaction ratings online, so customers can see our progress
Simplicity: We have already simplified our tariffs and made it easier for customers to choose the right one for them. The next step is that by summer, with help from our customers, we will redesign our bills to make them simpler and clearer. Our aim is to achieve the Plain English Crystal Mark.
Customers can find out more about our commitments, and track progress on our website www.edfenergy.com/ourcommitments. We are also appointing a Customer Commitments Officer to strengthen our governance further.
Speaking at the event Lord Sassoon, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, said: "I welcome the efforts energy companies, such as EDF Energy, are making to rebuild trust with their customers and ensure that consumers are offered the best possible deal. The UK currently enjoys some of the lowest domestic energy prices in Europe and we need to keep it that way. It is important that all companies engage in the work Ofgem are leading to improve the functioning of the retail energy market and provide the best deal for their customers. The market needs competition, customers have to be able to make informed choices, and they need to get a fair deal."
The Customer Commitments build on EDF Energy’s Sustainability Commitments, launched in 2010, which set out the company’s agenda on a range of environmental and social themes.
EDF Energy also updated the attendees at today’s event on progress against these.
Mr de Rivaz said: ‘We now need to build on what we have achieved, maintain momentum to reach our targets, and take another bold step forward. Our Sustainability Commitments – strengthened further by the launch of our new Customer Commitments – will help us to do that. We will be judged on our progress and these commitments will be at the heart of everything we do.’