As we reach the end of the year, I felt it was important to keep you informed of the progress we’ve been making to support our business customers.
As you know, our priority this year has been to improve the level of customer service we provide to our customers, following investment in our new billing system last year. I’m pleased to say that the majority of issues we faced have now been resolved, and many customers are telling us that they’re seeing billing improvements and a better quality of service.
In particular, we’ve found that many SME customers are taking advantage of our new online account management service – more than 70,000 in fact. From submitting meter readings through our app to setting up a direct debit online, this new online service makes it quick and easy for customers to manage their energy account.
That being said, we do know that we still have work to do and I want to thank all of you for your patience and support this year.
We’ve also been working hard to make our contracts as simple as possible. As you may know, we no longer automatically renew energy contracts, meaning our customers have the opportunity to make sure that they’re on the best contract for them.Â This year is the first full year of this process, and we believe this marks a positive milestone for customers and the industry.
Many of our brokers have also appreciated the improvements we’ve made to our offering during the year, such as releasing a no-standing charge contract across electricity and gas, and increasing the sales window to 180 days prior to renewal.
Next year is certainly going to be a busy one for the energy industry, and there are discussions and changes which may affect your conversations with clients. For example, there is an ongoing government consultation into business energy tax simplification, suppliers will be required to put in place billing changes as part of P272, and we will also know the outcome of the Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation into the energy market. Safe to say, we will be in touch to explain any changes in good time, and we welcome any questions or thoughts from you about these issues.
We also know that we need to respond to our customers changing energy needs, particularly concerning on-site energy generation and demand-side management. I was very excited to be part of our parent company Centrica’s announcement regarding a new Distributed Energy and Power division in the summer. This new area of our business will build on the work we already do with business customers by providing a more comprehensive energy management service which will allow them to generate, manage and store energy onsite more easily.Â We’ll also provide the tools to use energy efficiently and sell back any surplus energy to the National Grid. Â There will be more to come on this in the New Year.
I’m very excited about our plans for next year, and look forward to sharing those with you soon. I wish you a very happy and prosperous holiday season and a successful 2016.