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Knowing who can help: The future for energy consumer advice and redress

12 October 2015

report cover for Knowing who can helpEarlier this year we commissioned a research report Strengthening and streamlining energy advice and redress [ 1.2 mb] to provide an overview of the the current advice and redress schemes for energy consumers.

The report highlights the confusion an energy consumer can face, and suggests the need for more coordination between providers to make this simpler. The report also draws attention to the difficulty that arises when trying to understand the advice/redress landscape due to the array of funding streams and various commercial factors which indicate a lack of transparency in this market.    

It  also highlights that there are often missed opportunities to identify and address systemic issues in the energy market, which could be used to improve company performance, enhance customer service and drive down complaints overall.

Head of Smart and Sustainable Energy Dhara Vyas' Blog

photo of Dhara VyasStrengthening and streamlining energy advice and redress

In April 2014, Citizens Advice took on additional responsibilities following the abolition of Consumer Futures and is now the statutory watchdog, with responsibility for advocating on behalf of all energy consumers.  

We provide the consumer voice on issues across the energy market, from generation, infrastructure and metering, to supply, complaints and performance.

As a service provider, Citizens Advice is continually seeking to improve our services to better meet client needs, whether this be through the work we do or working in partnership with stakeholders and the wider energy landscape.  

We published our energy advice strategy [ 210 kb] in January 2015, the aim of which is to ensure our organisation is at the forefront of advice and support for clients affected by rising energy prices, helping to improve the experience and outcomes for clients by creating a seamless customer journey for clients through the energy landscape.

It is essential that consumers understand where they can go for help or advice, and know where they can get support to seek redress if any part of the market has let them down.  Energy consumers deserve advice and redress frameworks that are easy to understand, accessible, joined up and future proof.

Our report Knowing who can help: The future for energy consumer advice and redress [ 290 kb] summarises some of the research findings and begins to set out Citizens Advice’s vision for the future of the energy consumer advice and redress framework.  It reflects on some of the key recommendations from the research, and considers how to improve the way that energy consumers can access support, advice and redress under the following four themes:

  1. easier to navigate,so consumers are not  ‘stranded’ without support, and get the right support, advice or redress action that they need, first time;

  2. improve customer experience, so companies can learn the lessons from queries and complaints to improve the way they work and reduce complaints;  

  3. transparent and accountable, so Ofgem and Government know how and where money is being spent to support consumers; and

  4. fit for the future, so advice and redress schemes are prepared and able to support consumers in more complex future energy markets.