On 6 August 2017 the Government announced an independent review of the costs of energy. The review will provide recommendations as to how best minimise the costs of energy consistent with the Government’s overarching objectives, taking account of the costs and benefits of the recommendations. It will set out options for developing and enhancing energy policy. The review will be led by Professor Dieter Helm CBE and will report in October 2017.
To coincide with national mental health awareness week (8 to 14 May 2017) Wessex Water has launched an animated mental health awareness video. The video, developed in partnership with local mental health charity, Wiltshire Mind, highlights common issues associated with mental ill health, which affects one in for people in the UK each year. The video is part of a range of training materials developed for Wessex Water employees who deal with customers in vulnerable circumstances.
The UK Regulators Network has published a report on how regulators involve consumers in their regulatory decisions, hear their views and take their interests into account.ESAN’s recent conference and report on How can the consumer voice be better heard in the regulation of essential services? is given an an example. The guide includes a visual overview of the processes, broken down by key questions, with examples across different sectors.
On 28 February the Consumer Council for Water is hosting a conference that will bring together utility companies, Government and consumer representatives, regulators and the advice sector in Wales. The conference aims to raise awareness of the help available for the financially vulnerable and explore opportunities to work together to help reduce poverty in Wales. For more information please contact email@example.com, or register here.
On 18 January Citizens Advice published the findings of its research looking at how energy suppliers could effectively signpost and refer vulnerable customers to third parties, such as debt advice and support services.
The research found that fewer than 1 in 4 consumers believe that their energy supplier had ever offered them help and support, with fewer than one in ten being able to recall being signposted or referred to a third party organisation.
The best practice guide is designed to help energy suppliers signpost and refer vulnerable consumers to the right source of help.
On Wednesday 2 November, 18 speakers and 92 delegates came together at the iconic BT Tower for the ESAN Conference: How can the consumer voice be better heard in the regulation of essential services? “Fantastic speakers, great content, excellently chaired” #esanevent
It is with enormous sadness that we report that Gill Owen has died. Gill chaired the former Public Utilities Access Forum (ESAN’s predecessor) for a number of years and she contributed greatly to PUAF’s work and development. Her expertise and knowledge in consumer policy and regulation, particularly on energy efficiency and fuel poverty, will be greatly missed. Above all, those of us who worked with Gill will remember her friendship, warmth and humour.
Gill’s husband, David Green, has asked that, instead of flowers, people may wish to consider donations in Gill’s memory to Macmillan at: www.macmillan.org.uk/donate.
ESAN will hold a one day conference on Wednesday 2 November 2016 focusing on the consumer voice in the regulation of essential services. The event will be held at the BT Tower in central London. All those with an interest in consumer engagement are encouraged to attend this unmissable event. To register your interest please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roger Darlington writes: “Linda Lennard has now stepped down as Chair of ESAN and, as her successor, I would like to thank her for all the hard work and wise guidance that she has contributed to the organisation over the last three years. Linda managed the transition from PUAF to ESAN with a revised remit and expanded membership and she skilfully negotiated the acceptance of ESAN as a registered charity.
I am pleased to welcome Paul Sahota as our new Treasurer/Trustee. Paul is a non-executive director at SATRO, a charitable organisation promoting science, technology and maths in schools and colleges. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and Member of the Institute of Risk Management.
I would like to thank our former Treasurer, Neil Ritchie and former Vice Chair, Claire Milne for all their hard work for ESAN and PUAF before that. Neil was our Treasurer for several years and before that was a very valued Secretary. I have worked with Claire over many years in many organisations and I know that she never gives less than real commitment and expertise I am delighted that both Neil and Claire will continue to be part of the ESAN network.”
Ofgem is to begin a new process of horizon scanning. It wants to better understand what is driving system change, the likely impacts on consumers and the implications for regulation. This information will help it set priorities for the evolution of regulatory arrangements. Ofgem has issued an open letter, explaining how to get involved, asking stakeholders to register their interest at email@example.com.