NIE tops charts for UK electricity customer service standards

Dec. 4, 2002 — NIE has once again topped the charts of the UK’s electricity companies for its customer service standards.

The Customers Services Standards report 2001-2002 published by electricity regulator Ofreg shows that NIE’s performance in providing services to its customers for the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002 was “better than the aggregated performance of electricity companies in Great Britain when compared against each of the eleven Guaranteed Standards.”

The report also indicated that during 2002/2002 Ofreg received a total of 25 complaints against NIE, a decrease of 58% compared to the previous year. (In 2000 / 2001 there were 60 complaints, a decrease of 61% compared to 153 complaints in 1999/2000.)

This equates to 3.5 complaints per 100,000 tariff customers, against the figure 84 complaints per 100, 000 customers for all GB companies in 2000-2001 (the latest figures available).

The performance of the NIE network has also continued to improve, as measured by both the number of faults and their impact on customers.

NIE currently has a fault CML of approximately 100 (Customer Minutes Lost – a figure used to measure the average loss of supply per customer due to faults), reduced from approximately 180 minutes in 1993 / 94, and very similar to comparable GB rural regions. The Republic of Ireland has a currently has a fault CML figure in excess of 400 minutes.

The total number of faults has fallen by around 10% during the last five years to 2700 per annum.

However NIE has warned of an alarming increase in the number of faults attributed to Third Party damage, such as contractors hitting underground cables. These faults increased last year by approximately 60% to approximately 1500 per annum. Based on performance in the first nine months of this year, this pattern is likely to be sustained in the current year.

Billy Graham, Managing Director for NIE Transmission and Distribution, praised staff performance saying, “This performance is a credit to all our staff who continue to improve our service to customers.

“The recent Price Control agreed with electricity Regulator Ofreg, requires NIE to find additional cost savings to fund further cuts in the price of electricity. This presents us with a significant challenge. NIE would intend to find these cost savings through increasingly efficient working practices while continuing to work to improve customer service.”

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