From the introduction of the safeguard tariff to the Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Act 2018, discussion of price caps has dominated the retail energy market in 2018.
As a result, 2018 was never going to be a quiet year for suppliers and the retail side of the policy team at Energy UK. This is before you even take into consideration the introduction of GDPR, numerous SOLR events, the CMA’s disengaged customer database, Ofgem’s switching compensation proposals, the development of ECO3 and much, much more.
All this activity can, however, sometimes obscure the huge number of positives we also have to look back on this year, as we have sought to continue to rise to the challenge of ensuring retail markets deliver good outcomes for customers.
Initiatives like the Energy Switch Guarantee, a voluntary set of commitments to reassure customers that switching is simple, speedy and safe, have continued to go from strength to strength. At the time of writing the Guarantee now has 24 members, exceeding our target for the Guarantee to cover over 90% of the retail market.
Ofgem’s Future of Retail Market Regulation work on supplier-customer communications, has built directly on Energy UK’s 2017 ‘Rules of Engagement’ report. Our report advocated for the removal of the majority of existing prescriptive licence conditions relating to customer communications, in favour of a set of narrow principles. Following Ofgem’s recent Statutory Consultation, we hope to see new rules around customer communications introduced early next year.
New initiatives, like our independently chaired Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances, have also sought to identify how as an industry we can continue to drive up levels of service for those most in need. Similarly, our work in partnership with Huntswood and Citizens Advice has mapped and identified how we can improve the complaints handling process to ensure it delivers good customer outcomes.
We also continue to work closely with stakeholders like Ofgem and BEIS to support their efforts. We have provided a dedicated consultant to assist Ofgem with technical design assurance in relation to the Faster Switching programme. We are chairing the Industry Delivery Group helping both government and the regulator to develop and deliver MiData 2 and we continue to lead industry engagement with the Each Home Counts review as it seeks to develop a new quality mark for energy efficiency installations.
We have also continued our hard work to assist members, Ofgem and government to address the challenges facing the smart meter roll-out which is facing a critical year ahead with the next phase of the programme getting underway with the rollout of SMETS 2 meters.
Watch our videos on Positive Initiatives and on Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances.