Reconnecting With Our Customers
Even though we are going through a bit of a heatwave, the horrendous weather we experienced last winter is never far from my mind. It was one of the worst winters on record, and the effect of the gale force winds, heavy rain and flooding on our network caused misery for families at the worst possible time of the year - Christmas.
We have a network that is over 99% reliable, and yet that reliability wasn’t enough to provide a service to our customers that they so rightly deserve. So, in the first week of January we began consulting our customers to learn from the winter storms; how to improve the way we operate and maintain the network, and how to improve our communication with customers during powercuts to avoid a repeat of last Christmas.
The consultation closed at the end of March and today we are publishing its findings. Called "Reconnecting with Our Customers", the report outlines our wide range of commitments which we believe will improve customer service and increase the reliability of our network. Some of the changes we are introducing include:
• Moving overhead cables under ground where there is a high risk of our network being compromised
• Improving our customer communications during a power cut
• Increasing the number of community and customer service advisers
• Reducing the number of faults on our network by a fifth over the next eight years
• Further building our stock of mobile generators that are used during an emergency.
These are just some of the changes that I hope will make a difference but please have a look at the full list in the Reconnecting with Our Customers document.
Powercuts can be a very frightening time for some customers, especially for those who rely on electricity for medical equipment, the elderly and infirm who use equipment such as stairlifts, and those with very young babies. For these customers we have our Priority Services Register, which is a free service offering extra help and support during a powercut, and I'd recommend anyone who feels they may be eligible, or have a friend or relative who may benefit, to get in touch to find out more.
We are proud of the fact that our network is over 99% reliable, however, when things go wrong and there's a powercut, we want to make sure that everyone is as safe and well-informed as possible before their supply is back on. We believe that we have listened to our customers, learnt from the experience of last winter, and made the changes to the way we operate and maintain our network that will provide an enhanced level of customer service.