On 19 February, the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) released its annual report on the performance of energy distributors. The report summarises the performance of three electricity distribution service providers and three gas distribution service providers:
- Electricity distribution – Horizon Power and Rottnest Island Authority with Western Power having over 95.7% of total state electricity connections; and
- Gas distribution – Esperance Power Station and Kleenheat Gas with ATCO Gas having 99.82% of total state gas connections.
Performance is reported across the categories of (i) access to supply (connections and re-connections), (ii) network reliability (duration and frequency of supply interruptions) and (iii) customer service (numbers of complaints and telephone service).
The ERA reports that electricity connections have increased by 2.4% and gas connections have increased by 3% both of which are in line with population growth in WA. The overwhelming majority of connections were completed on time with less than 1% in total not on time across all distributors.
With regards reliability, the ERA reports that for electricity distribution ‘the overall average length of unplanned supply interruptions were similar to last year’. For gas distributors ‘fewer gas customers experienced long supply interruptions than last year’. In particular, a reported 743 ATCO customers experienced a long (greater than 12 hours) unplanned supply interruption in 2015, down from 1,534 customers in 2014. A single incident involving a broken gas main accounted for just over a third of all customer interruptions.
The report notes that electricity distributors received 1921 quality of service complaints in 2015, down 6% from the previous year. Of the gas distributors, only ATCO Gas received has ever received complaints. In 2015 the number of complaints is reported as 236, up from 25 complaints in 2014. Of these, 56% related to customer service and 30% were classified as ‘other’ with the remaining 14% of complaints spread across other complaint categories. The likely increase in complaint numbers is that, prior to 2015, ATCO excluded complaints that were resolved during the first contact with the customer.
Call centre performance is summarised in the table below, Western Power and ATCO are represented as the distributors with the largest customer share in the electricity and gas markets respectively.
|Percentage of calls answered within 30 secs||82.9%||84.6%||80.9%||75.8$|
|Average wait in seconds before a call is answered||14 secs||11 secs||27 secs||30 secs|
|Percentage of calls unanswered||4.8%||3.9%||2.7%||2.8%|