MEDIA RELEASE – 23 October 2019
Long-been the favoured option for developers and owners’ corporations due to their ease of management, community energy networks are now the proven choice for energy customers.
According to the Energy and Water Ombudsman of Victoria (EWOV), community energy networks scored far fewer complaints than conventional energy grid customers. Australia’s largest community energy network provider, WINconnect, scored the best in the community energy sector, receiving less than one complaint per 1,000 customers.
Compare this to Australia’s two biggest energy retailers, who received nearly five complaints per 1,000 customers in the last 12 months.
Community energy networks work by taking the aggregated energy usage of a development through a single point to purchase electricity from the wholesale market at wholesale rates. By combining the usage of an entire development together, this allows the community to share in the benefits that buying energy at wholesale prices provides.
These benefits are then passed on as savings to consumers with apartment blocks such as Mink, in Melbourne’s north, saving around $12,000 per annum to the owners’ corporation thanks to free solar installed into their WINconnect community energy network.
Tom Patsakos, CEO of WINconnect said the company’s strong approach to customer service has meant that more and more buildings are choosing the WINconnect community energy network model.
“WINconnect has been the leader in community energy networks for years because of our technological expertise and excellence in customer service. These independent stats prove that when done well, community energy networks are a winner for all parties.
“Community energy networks are a win-win – developers get infrastructure provided to them at no upfront cost, owners corporations have complex compliance managed for them, and customers receive excellent service. The model not only works, it is industry best practice!” Mr Patsakos said.
The EWOV results come on the back of customer research compiled from over 5,000 participants, which found that:
- 92% of customers were satisfied with the service when opening their account
- 94% of customers were satisfied with the response to a call or email
- 92% of customers were satisfied with how knowledgeable our staff were in dealing with their call/ problem
- 90% of customers were satisfied with how promptly our customer service team resolved their problem or question
- 94% of customers said it was easy to understand our bills
- 93% of customers are happy with the frequency of our monthly billing
Mr Patsakos said the results were unsurprising, given the importance the organisation was placing on getting problems solved the first time, every time.
“Our Melbourne-based call centre staff have no formal KPI’s. Their only objective is to help the customer solve their enquiry. We’ve given our staff the discretionary power to make decisions without requiring them to gain approval from above. The results speak for themselves,” Mr Patsakos said.
Mr Patsakos said that WINconnect had led the industry in providing no nonsense, clear advice to its customers on their tariffs, without the gimmicky discounts provided by the big retailers.
“Because we run community energy networks on behalf of owners’ corporations, we have no interest in gimmicks. That’s why we led the industry in giving one standard rate to customers – even before there was talk of mandatory default offers,” Mr Patsakos said.
The community energy network provider’s next priority is to give customers access to rich data to enable them to have more power over their power.
“Our customer data shows that over 70 per cent of our customers want to benchmark their usage with their neighbours. With a community energy network, this is very possible, and we are working on a way to make this happen. That’s the brilliance of our model. Customers win!” Mr Patsakos said.
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