Energy regulatory body Ofgem has set out targets for electricity distribution networks (DNOs) to improve their services for the benefit of consumers.
The plans outlined by Ofgem include greater price control for customers, in addition to increased payments for customers who experience prolonged power cuts.
The plans will run from 2015-2023, and are designed to encourage companies to make improvements in areas such as customer satisfaction, reliability, stakeholder engagement and sustainable services at value for money to consumers.
Ofgem are aiming to introduce a number of customer improvements, with one area including a reduction in the time it takes for consumers to become eligible for compensation payment when shut off from supply. This is now to be reduced from 18 hours to just 12.
Customers in the Scottish Highlands and Islands areas will now be made eligible for these payments, following the removal of exemptions. All compensation will remain in line with inflation once introduced.
Vulnerable customers will also be able to receive these payments automatically if they are part of the DNOs’ Priority Service Register. This is just one aspect of Ofgem’s calls to companies to take a more active role when looking to help vulnerable consumers.
Another example is the need for companies to demonstrate how they will work with other industry members when it comes to sharing data, knowledge and best practice.This move is expected to be an improved method of sharing information which could help vulnerable customers when it comes to future payments.
Senior partner, distribution at Ofgem Hannah Nixon said: “The RIIO-ED1 framework clearly sets out that we expect the network companies to play a full role in demonstrating improved stakeholder engagement and delivering a better customer experience at value for money to consumers.”
The proposals from Ofgem also hope to encourage DNOs to help customers and give better service when it comes to connecting low carbon technologies and distributed generation. Solar panel installation is one particular area which can benefit from this.