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Why Wales & West Utilities next Business Plan is important for household gas users

Posted on: 16/09/2019

Wales & West Utilities fulfil a really important function in keeping the country running, keeping people warm, and keeping them safe.

As a monopoly company, Wales & West Utilities  is the only regulated gas network serving Wales and South West England. That means if customers are not happy with Wales & West Utilities  services or costs, they have little or no choice to switch to another provider. This is why it is vital the organisation is committed to understanding their stakeholders’ expectations and needs and has an effective plan in place to meet them.

There are many reasons why Wales & West Utilities next business plan is really important for households, businesses and communities throughout the regions they serve:

Wales & West Utilities charge for their services through consumer bills

Wales & West Utilities is planning to spend billions of pounds over their current Business Plan period (2013-2021). Their services are paid for by consumers via their energy bill. Charges account for around 24% of the overall bill[1], for 2018/19 charges were £121. Whilst this figure has reduced from £154 in 2013/14 – in the context of stagnating wages and rising fuel poverty levels, for many people, every penny counts.

Wales & West Utilities service affects people every day

Through its operations, Wales & West Utilities  touches people’s lives every day. From digging up roads to upgrade the network – replacing old metal pipes with new durables ones, responding to gas emergencies and connecting new customers - 7.5 million people rely on their services. The company also has in place fuel poor schemes, helping those who need it most to benefit from a gas connection to lower their energy bills.

Wales & West Utilities actions affect our environment

Transporting gas comes with a huge responsibility to protect the environment. This includes managing gas leaks and waste through its day to day operations to reduce its impact on the environment and local biodiversity. Beyond Wales & West Utilities  core operations, the company is also investing to reduce its carbon footprint of the services it provides.

What the Customer Engagement Group (CEG) is doing for Wales & West Utilities  stakeholders

During our monthly meetings with Wales & West Utilities, our CEG closely reviews how Wales & West Utilities is planning on meeting consumers’ expectations and needs. We check whether Wales & West Utilities  has spoken to gas consumers directly and if they are listening to consumers’ feedback, and whether their proposals are in the best interest of consumers. And we ask the company to spell out the costs and benefits that they will deliver for consumers during 2021-2026.

My involvement is proving to be enjoyable and worthwhile, working closely with my fellow CEG colleagues and the wider Wales & West Utilities team to make sure consumers benefit from a safe, reliable, sustainable energy supply that is affordable for all.

 

 

[1] https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/infographic-bills-prices-and-profits

Author profile

Victoria Pelka

Victoria is a Senior Policy Researcher for Citizens Advice. Since 2014, Citizens Advice is the official consumer body for energy. The Energy…