SSE’s proposals to build customers trust in energy supply
As Robert C Solomon and FernandoFlores said in their book, Building Trust,’to understand trust is to be able to buildtrust into our everyday practices andrelationships, and to develop institutionsin which such practices and relationshipsare not only possible, but mandatory’.When SSE announced the suspensionof its commission-based doorstepsales activity in July 2011, it said that‘condence in the way companies sellenergy on the doorstep, and the way inwhich salespeople are remunerated,is low’. Unfortunately, that lack ofcondence, or trust, extends to toomany other aspects of the provisionof electricity and gas in Britain’s retailenergy market.Some executives employed by overseas-owned energy companies believe theanswer to the trust question is to pass thebuck to the Competition Commission. It isthe considered opinion of SSE that thereare two fundamental problems with this.Firstly, SSE has been advised that adecision by the regulator, Ofgem, topursue a Competition Commission inquiryinto the energy sector would be unlikelyto result in a conclusion much before themiddle of 2016.Secondly, and more fundamentally, SSEbelieves that the time for action is now,and that the ve years it would take fora Competition Commission processto conclude would be better spent ondeveloping and deploying practical stepsto improve customers’ experience of theretail energy market – in other words,building trust into everyday practices andrelationships.This document sets out SSE’s initial plansand priorities to address customers’concerns on issues relating to complexity,transparency and customer service.SSE is actively seeking comments andfeedback on those plans and prioritiesfrom customers and other interestedparties.At the same time, it must be emphasisedthat the plans are initial. SSE is veryconscious of the extent to which the retailenergy market is changing and believesit, too, must continue to change if it is toprovide customers with the right productsand services as the way that we provideenergy fundamentally changes as the‘smart’ world gets under way .