The current state of the energy industry has resulted in rising bills and consumers having to switch their electricity providers. Many high output industries are also struggling as the prices increase, putting many at risk of closure. Sagacity, a data solutions firm, has provided new statistics relating to the ongoing energy crisis.
The energy crisis imposes data risks
With the transition of energy customers comes the issue of data transfer. Around 3.8 million households need to be reassigned to new energy providers, resulting in an epic overhaul of customer data. According to Sagacity, the shift could result in 10% of all customer data will be prone to data gaps, including incorrect records of names, addresses, meter readings and tariff details.
How will this affect energy providers?
The worst case for energy suppliers is that mismanagement of data could lead to delays in account billing. For providers that are already stretched, this could result in a total industry debt of £380mn—based on the average household spend of £1042.
Anita Dougall, Founding Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Sagacity, says, ‘with millions of customers already displaced and potentially more to come, data migration will be a huge challenge for energy providers. Customer tariffs may be accidentally transferred to a default rate, debt repayment plans may be disrupted, and bills could go to the wrong addressees, leading to bill shock in a few months’ time – the potential issues are endless given the significant task in hand for energy providers’.
There are also imminent risks to some customers if their data is not handled correctly, leaving customers to struggle in a difficult period of economic instability. Minor data mishaps could cause issues for new suppliers, such as the organisation of first names and surnames. Dougall has provided some advice for customers who are struggling with the energy transition.
‘As a customer, one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk is to make sure your current provider has your most up to date information – in particular, your latest meter readings and contact information. Those who are willing to go one step further, noting down their previous tariff and proactively getting in touch with a new provider, can even further reduce the chances of any nasty surprises down the line’, says Dougall.
She continues, ‘energy companies have a tough job on their hands to take on an extra 3.8 million customers and deal with the pressures this will put on their customer service teams. They need to invest in their data and not rush this process. Even if the data provided by the old supplier is good quality, it can still cause challenges if it’s in a different format to the new provider’s system. Just migrating old records simply won’t work, the data needs assessing and validating – quality matters’.
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