Quarterly Complaints Report 2016 Q4

Quarterly Complaints Report 2016 Q4

Why did people complain to Bristol Energy in Q4 2016 and what are we doing about it?

Opening Reading Not Used – 8.5%

  • Any reading sent to our Meter Readings inbox is picked up automatically and added to the relevant customer account. A small percentage of readings can’t be picked up automatically, and are added manually to customer accounts by our staff. A rapidly growing customer base has resulted in an increased workload for our staff and, as a result, manual processes such as this have been affected.
  • Bristol Energy have recognised this issue and responded in two ways. Firstly, our automated system has been improved to increase the efficiency with which it can recognise and process readings within customer emails. We have also been recruiting more staff to deal with increasing workloads, and training existing staff to process and respond to meter reading emails.

Direct Debit Review – 8.5%

  •  A significant number of Bristol Energy customers weren’t paying enough for the energy they were using, and were asked to increase their monthly payments as we approached the winter months. This led to a number of complaints from customers unhappy to be paying a higher amount.
  •  While this action was taken to prevent our customers falling into debt, we recognise that the message wasn’t received well in all cases. We periodically review all communications to customers and will review the wording in our Direct Debit Review letters as part of this work. We have also trained our Customer Care team to better explain the advantage of maintaining a positive account balance over the winter to our customers.

Read Dispute (Incoming Supply) – 7.7%

  • Issues affecting our automated meter reading process mean that opening customer readings have occasionally not been used, so estimated readings have been used to open some Bristol Energy accounts. This has resulted in us raising Read Disputes with other suppliers in order to have the opening readings corrected.
  • The efficiency of our automated meter reading inbox has been improved, and increased staffing levels should help us ensure that the vast majority of opening meter readings are picked up and used. We are also improving the way we communicate with our customers during the Read Dispute process in order to keep them informed along the way.

Estimated Readings – 5.2%

  • Issues with our automated meter reading process meant that regular customer readings have occasionally not been used, resulting in estimated bills.
  • We have apologised to customers affected by this issue, and taken fresh meter readings to create new, accurate bills. Our ability to provide accurate statements should improve as our processes become more efficient, and as we make more staff available to process readings not captured by our automated system.

Appointment Delay/Cancelled – 4.1%

  • Bristol Energy grew quickly during the last three months of 2016, resulting in a higher number of customers requesting meter exchanges and smart meter installations. We also took on a significant number of Prepayment Meter customers, which has increased the number of metering appointments we’ve needed to make.
  • We’re aware of how frustrating a delayed or cancelled appointment can be for our customers, so we’re taking steps to avoid this wherever possible in the future. We have recently built a metering database, which will allow us to monitor appointments more effectively. We are also working directly with our Meter Operator in order to improve advance notification of appointment delays and cancellations.

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