Energy group lans network accolade

EDF Energy has won a £300,000 award for the customer care it provides in London, the South East and the East of England.

EDF Energy has won a £300,000 award for the customer care it provides in London, the South East and the East of England.

The company, which distributes power to 7.8million customers across its three networks, was one of only two businesses to win awards in a new reward scheme launched by industry regulator Ofgem.

Ofgem uses a variety of regulatory tools, such as price controls, financial incentives and standards of performance, to improve the quality of service received by customers from electricity Distribution Network Operators (DNOs)

Under the most recent price control, Ofgem established the Discretionary Reward Scheme to encourage best practice in areas that cannot be easily measured.

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All 14 DNOs were invited to enter and EDF Energy said it was delighted that the customer care provided by its networks branch had been singled for recognition.

Alan Feakins, director of customer operations for EDF Energy Networks, said: “Whilst we would all wish for a guaranteed 100% reliable electricity supply the vagaries of our weather and other factors mean that is not realistic.

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“One of our ambitions is to care more for our customers, particularly when problems like power cuts do occur, and this award is testimony that we are making good progress in this endeavour.

“We are making sure we help our most vulnerable customers when they need us and we are delighted a number of our initiatives, including our team effort with our partners the WRVS, have been recognised in this way.”

EDF Energy received £300,000 in recognition of its work in priority customer care, which will be reinvested in services to benefit the 7.8million customers the company distributes power to in London, the South East and the East of England..

Ofgem said EDF Energy was particularly singled out for its work with suppliers and consumer watchdog energywatch to improve data quality on its Priority Services Register and for raising awareness of the free services available.

The company was also praised for proactively undertaking customer research and incorporating this into its staff training to improve services and for the support it offers priority customers during interruptions, such as contacting them to provide regular updates and offering additional assistance.

The panel particularly liked EDF Energy's partnership with the Women's Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS), which can provide additional support, such as hot meals and drinks, for vulnerable customers during prolonged power interruptions. The company also has a language service, offering an interpreter for customers whose first language is not English, as well as a text line for customers with hearing impairments.

Sarah Harrison, managing director for corporate affairs at Ofgem, who chaired the judging panel, said: “All DNOs can learn from the best practice highlighted and the ultimate winners will be customers who will benefit from improved support and service.”

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