Edison is convinced that the transparency and correctness of its commercial practices strengthen its relationship of trust with consumers. Underpinning this relationship are clear contractual documentation, sales personnel training and the preparation of information necessary for the transition to the free market in accordance with the regulation pursuant to the commercial code of conduct updated by AEEGSI (the Italian Regulatory Authority for Electricity, Gas and Water).
Transparent, clear information and conduct are also key elements when dealing with the consumer groups recognised by the Ministry of Economic Development and registered with the CNCU (National Consumers and Users Council).
In this scope, Edison has sponsored and signed the “Voluntary self-regulation protocol to prevent unrequested electricity and natural gas activations and contracts”, which all CNCU consumer groups also signed.
The objective of the protocol is to increase consumer guarantees with respect to the stages of the new customer acquisition and new supply activation processes, surpassing the requirements of the legislation (Resolution 153/2012). The practice of “confirmation calling” has been strengthened, seller training has been improved, fines have been introduced for incorrect procedures and offers and customers may now make stop billing requests and claim refunds in the event of non-performance.
Edison’s “welcome call” is a tool created to ensure more effective and efficient control over the sales network and serves to double check the data in contracts and customers’ effective understanding.
Furthermore, Edison has created an email account exclusively for consumer groups, where they can send reports of unrequested contracts and service activations.
The joint observatory between companies and CNCU consumer groups, established thanks to the voluntary self-regulation protocol to prevent unrequested electricity and natural gas activations and contracts, monitors compliance with the established provisions: it meets at the parties’ request or every six months and is responsible for sharing training modules for the agencies, analysing the report sent to AEEGSI with the results of report monitoring, participating in the process to check the recognition of measures to be applied in the event of breach, updating the protocol and distributing the half yearly meeting reports and monitoring data with all the consumer groups that have signed the protocol.
Following the implementation of this tool, the number of unrequested activations is now extremely low.
Discussion with consumers
An efficient and transparent market is based on an attentive and proactive relationship with institutions, consumers and the consumer groups under CNCU (National Consumers and Users Council), recognised by the Ministry of Economic Development.
Through various discussion panels and a number of initiatives, such as the “regional roadmap” and the “service quality charter”, Edison listens to consumers’ needs, their comments and suggestions and promotes settlement as an effective tool in resolving disputes.
Settlement is an alternative to the ordinary justice system in the resolution of disputes, and is voluntary, rapid, free and friendly. It contributes to improving the quality of services provided to customers, who remain at the centre of Edison’s focus.
In September 2016, Edison signed a protocol of understanding with 19 CNCU associations to establish the Alternative Dispute Resolution Body made up of the same number of Edison representatives as consumer group representatives. The signed protocol includes the requirements of Legislative decree no. 130/2015 implementing the European directive on ADR, seven years after Edison signed the agreement with consumer groups to establish fair settlement practices with customers. The ADR Body acts to rapidly manage any disputes, ensuring transparency and impartiality. The Body is made up of three units: the settlement office, the settlement commission and the joint guarantee body, which meets twice a year and is responsible for guaranteeing that the procedure functions well (https://organismoadr.edisonenergia.it).
This agreement is the next step in Edison’s consolidated relationship with consumer groups and its customers, taking action before any critical issues can arise from the contractual relationship and readily and adequately meeting the new needs of consumers and continuously evolving consumption models.
Again with respect to settlement, Edison also participates in the settlement service established by AEEGSI with the Single Buyer to facilitate the settlement of disputes between customers and electricity and natural gas operators and is registered with the service white list for two years. Unlike the fair settlement procedure, the service entails the participation of a third party mediator to help the parties reach a solution acceptable to both. It is available online (www.conciliazione.energia.it) and is voluntary and free.
As from 1 January 2017, for disputes in the electricity and natural gas sectors, the customer and prosumer can try to resolve the problem with their operator, using settlement, which is a mandatory step before going before a judge, if necessary. The mandatory settlement attempt may be made with the authority’s settlement service or, alternatively, with a ADR body included in the authority’s ADR list.
To ensure the best quality of the services it provides, Edison has organised the Edison Market Academy (EMA): created in 2011 for an innovative development path of expertise and company culture based on “customer centrality” and “service quality”, “cooperation” and “operating efficiency”.
In 2016, EMA’s range of action expanded, with the training scope extended to cover the customer care workers of contact centre outsourcers. Furthermore, the basis was laid for the commercial agent training project, which will be rolled out in the first few months of 2017 both to form and certify indirect sales structures.
Another innovation entailed the introduction of a loyalty program to encourage and foster active participation and the sharing of experiences, focused on the knowledge of each individual and actively sharing it. The project, named “Let’s focus on knowing” saw the increasingly greater involvement of professional experts in specific areas, training and testimonial champions, in Edison courses and, in particular, in e-learning courses.
Thanks to the 2016 activities, EMA has taken a step forward in the transition from a simple knowledge transfer process to a genuine tool for social collaboration. The platform is always being improved: its potential will also be extended to SME agents who, through specific training, will earn certification at the end of their training. The project began in 2016 and a pilot will be launched in spring 2017.
Over five years, EMA has provided over 32,000 hours of training, including 4,500 in 2016, with trainees rating their satisfaction 4.6 out of 5, for an improvement of 0.1 on 2015. In 2016, a total of 13 training programs were designed and completed, for a total of 56 sessions.
The Energy Services Market Division firmly believes that to achieve energy efficiency and sustainability goals, it is also necessary to take a cultural approach and share knowledge.
To make this sensibility tangible, in 2013 the Group company EDF Fenice (which is consolidated as part of the Edison Group since April 2016) established the Energy Efficiency Campus, a hub for training and sharing know-how with the market, institutions and internal resources with its own structures and organisation. In particular, the campus is an innovative answer to the desire to listen to the local area and meet the needs of local and industrial communities, acting as a lever for development and inclusiveness. The campus draws on the expertise of the Group’s technical staff and specific agreements with the Turin Polytechnic, as well as with some of the main institutional agencies in the area.
In its three years of operation, the campus has:
- held about 40 events and training seminars in myriad sectors and areas, directly reaching approximately 3,000 participants, including entrepreneurs, energy players, public administrators, legislative institutions and universities, and influencing public opinion through reporting in the press on its work;
- reached an agreement with the Turin Polytechnic for the joint development of activities and training on the energy efficiency campus;
- created the first Level 2 European Master’s decree on “Energy efficiency and sustainability in industry” with the Turin Polytechnic Master’s Program, which began on 7 November 2016 and involved leading local manufacturing companies as partners and scholarship providers, about 20 Group employees as teachers and received nearly 100 applications, from which it selected 15 students.