Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Excess energy not required

It's great when a big company does a simple thing well.

I had another red letter from EDF Energy today. I always pay my bill late. However, this was more serios: it promised a scheduled disconnection for tomorrow. The letter wasn't sent first class. It was dated the 14 August.

I had actually paid the bill on 30 June. However, I had done so online and paid it into the gas account rather than the electricity account - entirely my fault.

I called the call centre to sort out the problem. I was waiting for less than five minutes before speaking to an operator. It took the operator less than two minutes to spot the problem and after three minutes on hold, they had transfered the money to the correct account and I was promised that the matter was resolved.

EDF resolved the matter so quickly that I was really pleased not to have to get cross or become assertive with the call centre operator.

However, with a bit of extra thought, the company could be even better. The billing system could do with a reassessment.

In the old days it was fair enough that the warning letter said that you need take no action if the bill had been paid in the "last few days". However, now APACS have ensured that all inter bank transfers are immediate - and with the automated creation of non payment letters - it should no longer be necessary.

Instead, if letters were only generated when payment had not been received (and were sent first class or by email where possible) the energy suppliers would ensure that fewer unnecessary letters were sent and that where there were errors (as in my case) the customer didn't just ignore the letter thinking that the matter had been dealt with.

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