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Looking after our customers Customer and Community Liaison.

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Presentation on theme: "Looking after our customers Customer and Community Liaison."— Presentation transcript:

1 Looking after our customers Customer and Community Liaison

2 Role of a Liaison Officer Winter Commitments How to pay Debt and payment of debt Help – What can we do ! Overview 2

3 Role of the Liaison Officer Key points Vulnerability – Priority Services Register, WHD Customer Issues – Unable to resolve over the phone Energy Efficiency Complaints – gather information, help resolve Metering issues – transposed readings, details not registered Advice and Guidance 3

4 Services include Password scheme Relocate prepayment meters that are difficult to reach or use Take more frequent meter readings if no-one in the house is able to read the meter Send bills to a nominated person Provide services for clients with hearing or visual impairment Advance notice of power interruptions Priority service in an emergency Annual gas safety checks Priority Service Register (PSR) 4 All suppliers are required to have a PSR, which is available to any customer who asks to be placed on it. They provide special services to customers who are vulnerable through age, disability or chronic illness. SupplierPSR nameTelephone number British GasHome Energy Care EDFEnergy PSR E.OnEnergy PSR NpowerWarm Response Team Scottish PowerCarefree Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) Careline

5 Providing an enhanced customer service experience for Vulnerable customers 5 What we will be doing ScottishPower have wrote to all its customers who pay for their energy on a quarterly basis, with a personalised quote to estimate how much they can save by making changes to their energy account. This builds on the success of our three-month tariff check campaign last winter, which resulted in just under 37,000 ScottishPower customers changing tariff and saving them more than £6.3 million. Targeted Tariff Check Campaign ScottishPower will not disconnect any customers for debt between November 2013 and February Disconnections are very rare, and would only ever follow a lengthy and detailed process. ScottishPower will never knowingly disconnect a vulnerable customer for debt under any circumstances. No Disconnections “

6 Providing an enhanced customer service experience for Vulnerable customers 6 Winter Commitments The Warm Home Discount scheme is a programme of support aimed at households who are living in, or are at risk of, fuel poverty. Certain customers will qualify automatically for a rebate and will receive a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions telling them this. Others can apply to ScottishPower for the rebate if they meet certain eligibility criteria. ScottishPower will not place any upper limit on the number of customers who can receive this rebate, should they meet the criteria. All customers who are eligible, and apply within the specified timeframe, will receive the discount. WHD ScottishPower has identified a group of its most vulnerable customers who are currently repaying a debt through their prepayment meter. The company will write to these customers and advise them that it will not be collecting any debt repayments for a 3 month period over the winter from December 2013 to February This should ensure that any payment made by these customers will be purely for energy that is used during the 3 month winter period. Prepayment Break

7 Warm Home Discount – 2013/14 GroupCore GroupBroader Group Who are they?Under 80’s in receipt of Guaranteed element of Pension Credit Only Over 80’s with either Guaranteed element only or both Guaranteed and Savings elements of Pension Credit Varies slightly by supplier, but generally households in receipt of means tested benefits who also have a disability, small children or pensioners in the household. Check with the appropriate supplier directly. What do they get?£ in 2013/14 paid by their electricity supplier onto their electricity account (always electricity supplier as not all homes have gas) Same as the core group How do they get it?DWP and energy suppliers share information to identify eligible households. A letter will be sent out by Government between Sept 2012 and Feb 2013 confirming eligibility. Payments will be made by suppliers automatically They must contact their supplier directly and ask to apply – there are no automatic payments for this group 7

8 WHD Broader Group Scottish Power Customers Income Support Income Related Employment and Support Allowance Income Based Jobseekers allowance Or, if the following statement applies you may also qualify Your total gross household income is less than £16,190 In addition to the above you must meet at least one of the following criteria: Have a child who was under 5 on the 1 st of April 2013 permanently living in the house (born on or after 1 st April 2008) Have a child entitled to free school meals Receive Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit which includes a disability element or severe disability element, disabled child element or severely disabled child element or family element. Income Related Benefit which includes a disabled child premium, disability premium, severe disability premium or enhanced disability premium Income Related Benefit which includes a Carers Premium Employment Support Allowance which includes a Work Related or Activity Component or Support Component Receive Disability Living Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Attendance Allowance Be aged 62 or over Receives exemption from NHS prescription charges Providing an enhanced customer service experience for Vulnerable customers 8

9 Bills, Tariffs and How to Pay Customers who have remained with their original supplier throughout privatisation may possibly be paying more for their energy Paying your bill as it is issued is normally the most expensive Paying via a Pay-Go meter may provide them with more control over energy spend, but will not be the cheapest option Paying by Direct Debit and Online are normally the cheapest options Different packages might be available –Fixed price Unit price remains static for the duration of the contract period Protected from future price rises –Discounted energy Prices are normally guaranteed to be cheaper that the suppliers standard monthly Direct Debit price Prices will stay lower than the standard rate, and may rise or fall Some of these non standard deals might have exit penalties should your client wish to leave before the fixed period ends – please check. 9

10 Payment Plans Payment MethodAdvantagesDisadvantagesWho may benefit Weekly / Fortnightly / Monthly Budget Plans Smaller Payments on a regular basis (normally using a payment book or card) Good for those who get money weekly or fortnightly Possible inconvenience and travelling costs to payment agents Some Post Offices and banks may charge Generally most expensive Individuals with no bank account Those who find it difficult to budget monthly or quarterly Direct Debit and Standing Order Payment is made at the same time and at the same amount every month Once in place there is no need for any further action other than annual reviews This payment arrangement offers discounts as it is easier to administer Payments can be changed to meet any changes in energy usage Standing order offers more control for the client Individual may be paying too much or too little if bills are estimated If payments are not adjusted to reflect usage a balance may become due Bank Charges may be incurred if clients don’t have money in to cover the payment Standing Order – customer has to make the change Individuals with regular income Those with a bank/building society account Those who want to spread the cost over the year Prepayment meter (Pay-Go) Pay for energy as it is used so no bills Can budget according to means Any debt can be repaid on a regular basis No worry of unexpected large bills Good for those who get money weekly or fortnightly Some suppliers offer online top-ups Proximity of pay points Travelling costs Individual needs to understand how standing charges and debts are taken through the meter Emergency Credit levels or “friendly disconnect” arrangements Higher heating costs in winter but income doesn’t change Those who want a Pay Go meter and have no issues with availability of pay points Individuals who want to avoid debt or better manage an existing debt Fuel Direct – all suppliers should offer this arrangement Payment for current energy use and debt taken directly from benefits Energy expenditure and arrears evenly spread Less expensive for individuals in debt than other methods Offers protection from disconnection If ongoing energy use is more than the amount being deducted, debt will increase and so will future deductions Money is taken directly from benefits reducing households budgeting flexibility Individuals without a bank account Individuals who find difficulty in budgeting Only for those on correct/qualifying benefit 10

11 What An Individual Can Do Always read the meter to ensure bills are accurate Monitor their energy usage on a regular basis Contact their supplier as early as possible if they are struggling to pay Speak to others who may be able to help Do not avoid the issue. 11

12 Check for actual readings Electricity single rate meter: Records just one rate of electricity, regardless of the time of day. Not recommended for homes with electric heating. Normally used in properties that have heating provided by gas, oil, coal etc. Electricity standard Economy 7 meter: Has two rates, one for normal daytime electricity usage, and one for cheaper rate electricity overnight. Normally used in households that have electric storage heating. Electricity Multi-Rate Meter: Some homes may have electricity meters that record more than two rates. This type of metering is only for all electric homes, and they may have a specialised type of heating system. Gas Meter: Records by volume (not kWh) in either imperial or metric volumes. Always just one rate, regardless of the time of day. 12

13 Energy Savings – Quick tips Energy Saving HabitPotential Annual Saving Don’t overfill the kettle£7 Switch off unnecessary lights £8 Wash clothes at 30°C£12 Use a clothesline, not a tumble dryer £17 Have a shower instead of a bath £18 Switch Appliances off£35 Turn heating down by 1°C £60 Number of ways to reduce energy wastage and save money Simple things can be done to reduce costs: Monitoring of consumption Switching appliances off when not in use Keep heating at 21°C – no need for it to be too hot All this adds up to £187 per year! 13

14 What a responsible energy supplier should offer The option of paying for your energy through the Fuel Direct scheme, provided you receive a qualifying benefit, and are accepted for the scheme by the Department of Work and Pensions. Help to work out an acceptable payment plan by working with other agencies, such as Citizens Advice Bureau. The option to pay in regular cash instalments. The use of a prepayment meter, where it is safe and practical to install one. At all times an individuals ability to pay and their circumstances should be taken into consideration. 14

15 Who Can Assist? Energy SupplierScheme British GasBritish Gas Energy Trust – grants to clear energy and other household debts and for essential items. You do not need to be a BG customer EDF energyHelp is available to current EDF customers who require a grant towards domestic gas/electricity debt E.ONCaring Energy Fund – providing funds for repair or installation of heating systems, insulation measures and essential household appliances npowernpower customers who are struggling to pay their bills can apply to help. Grants for arrears of electricity & gas or purchase of white goods for the home Scottish PowerEnergy People Trust – designed to support charitable organisations who are involved in alleviating fuel poverty Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) Careline - grants for energy efficiency measures and WHD

16 Energy Company Obligation (ECO) 2.7 million homes might be eligible under the Affordable Warmth element Householders must be in receipt of qualifying benefits or tax credits and own their own home or live in private rented property Measures will be free of charge and include: -Cavity wall and loft insulation -Boiler repairs -Boiler replacements -New heating systems – replacing old or inefficient heating systems 16

17 ENERGY QUIZ 1.Give 3 steps you can take to start saving energy 2.Name a measure you can take to make your home more energy efficient 3.Which appliances use most electricity ? 4. True or False – Its better to leave the emersion heater on all the time 5.True or false – Less energy is used to turn lights on and off rather than leaving them on all the time. 6.True or false – The biggest source of heat loss in an un-insulated house is through the windows 7.What temperature is recommended for a room thermostat ? 8.What temperature is recommended for a hot water cylinder thermostat ? 9.What is the cheapest method of payment for electricity and gas ? 10. What can we do to reduce energy bills ? Providing an enhanced customer service experience for Vulnerable customers 17

18 Final thoughts Do you have any final questions? Is there anything that you would like to discuss in more detail? Is there anything else you think we should cover? 18


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