Page 32 - AGL Sustainability Report 2011

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Customers
AGL Energy Limited 30
Customer experience
AGL’s responsibilities as an essential
service provider
The essential nature of the services and products
provided by AGL requires a responsible approach
to disconnection; sales and marketing; the provision
of pertinent information to customers during critical
events; and accessibility of information, including the
availability of concessions.
Wrongful disconnections
In all of the jurisdictions in which AGL retails energy, there are
regulations governing the processes which must be followed when
disconnecting a customer for non-payment of an account. In
Victoria, energy legislation prohibits disconnection of residential
customers other than in accordance with regulations, and retailers
are required to pay customers $250 per day for every day they are
off supply after having been wrongfully disconnected. In FY2011,
AGL wrongfully disconnected 144 customers in Victoria, the same
number as in FY2010. Analysis has identified operator error as
well as some process shortfalls as the major causes of wrongful
disconnections. These issues will be addressed over the coming
year through a number of process improvement projects. AGL
remains committed to ensuring it fulfils all regulatory obligations,
undertaking disconnection of a customer’s supply as an absolute
last resort.
AGL has now commenced detailed reporting on disconnections in
other jurisdictions, to ensure a more robust approach to maintaining
the appropriate checks and balances with respect to disconnection.
Responsible sales and marketing
Throughout FY2011, AGL remained committed to improving the
door-to-door sales experience that is delivered to customers.
Building on the programs implemented in FY2010, the focus in
the past 12 months has been on:
>> improving sales people’s knowledge of legislative and regulatory
requirements relating to telemarketing and door-to-door sales,
with a view to improving compliance and ensuring that customers
have a better understanding of the energy contract which they
are entering into
>> implementing dedicated resourcing to audit operational and
regulatory compliance. AGL was also involved in developing the
new Energy Assured Ltd voluntary Code of Conduct (discussed
further below)
>> conducting regular sales agent refresher training, for compliance
and product familiarisation purposes.
All of these initiatives are focused on ensuring that current
customers and potential customers understand the available
choices with respect to energy retailers and energy products.
Customer complaints from the door-knocking channel have
remained stable (1.12 complaints per 100 sales), despite an
increasingly competitive market place.
AGL recognises that door-to-door sales are a sensitive issue for
the community and, as such, AGL has been actively involved in
the development of an industry Code of Conduct (the Code) for
face-to-face marketing of energy contracts (to be independently
managed by Energy Assured Ltd). The Code was established by
the Energy Retailers’ Association of Australia (of which AGL is a
member), as a response to reductions in consumer confidence in the
door-to-door sale of retail energy products across eastern Australia.
It aims to ensure the highest standards in doorstep selling practices
by energy sales people. Both energy retailers and marketers have
voluntarily signed up to the Code and all door-to-door energy sales
people are required to meet the Code’s quality requirements. While
recognising that door-to-door sales in energy is already heavily
regulated and governed by the new Australian Consumer Laws, the
Code aims to lift the bar further and ensure the strictest compliance
and most ethical practices by sales agents that represent retailers
at the door. In FY2012, AGL will work with its door-to-door selling
partners to ensure that all aspects of the Code are adhered to.
Wrongful disconnections (Victoria only)
Wallet Point
31.7%
40.7%
39.8%
Hallet 1
Hallet 2*
2008/09
144
59
36
FY08
FY09
FY10
144
FY11
Legend
Number of wrongful
disconnections in Victoria,
for both gas and electricity
accounts.