Recommendation 3 of the 2018 Annual Report

Recommendation 3 : “The supplier must provide detailed training for advisers on the Cap EcoConso offer”

0- Follow-up to the recommendation

In summer 2018, ENGIE Grand Public rolled out information for advisers on the operation of this offer along with a training kit.
The customer service staff of ENGIE Gaz Tarif Réglementé were informed of the operation of the new tool Activ’conso and its regular upgrades since the end of 2018 through several communication d’année 2018 via plusieurs supports de communication.

1- Observation

The claimant has questions about Cap EcoConso offer and its impact on the billing of natural gas.
He had opted for bimonthly billing. He therefore receives 6 bills a year, 2 of which are based on actual meter readings and 4 so-called “intermediate” ones based on estimated meter readings. The readings are taken by GRDF in February and August of each year.
After a number of difficulties experienced in accessing his online account to enter his meter readings in Cap EcoConso, the claimant complained that certain readings were not taken into account in his billing. He also states that, further to his meter replacement, the reading he took does not appear on the Cap EcoConso graph.

2- Mediation solution

Explanations are provided on how Cap EcoConso works.
The readings taken by distributors are included directly in the usage graph displayed by this service. The same is true for the customer’s readings entered every 2 months as part of the M@relève offer.
The consumer can also enter the readings he himself takes, for instance every month. If the customer forgets to enter a reading in any given month, he can also enter it after the event. Nevertheless, the service and the algorithm only take a single reading into account per month, regardless of the circumstances. If a reading has already been transmitted by a distributor or via M@relève, the customer cannot replace it with one he has taken himself. This is because the bill is always based on readings transmitted by the distributors as a matter of priority, and because the Cap EcoConso service is meant to be totally consistent with the supplier’s billing.
When a meter is changed, the software again can only take one reading into account. But there are two meter readings to consider to ensure continuous monitoring of usage: the last reading taken on the previous meter and the first reading on the new meter (usually zero).
Furthermore, the algorithm takes into account the previous usage to plot the usage curve. This means that the new reading must necessarily be higher than the previous one, to then determine the customer’s curve between two points.
When a meter is changed, there is discontinuity. There is indeed a consistency with the previously entered reading (on removal of the previous meter), but also a 0 reading (on the newly fitted meter), which is not taken into account by the algorithm.

If the last reading of the previous meter is taken into account, the algorithm can subtract the previous reading from it to plot the usage curve. On the other hand, when the next reading is taken on the new meter, there will be an inconsistency, as the latter will in all likelihood be lower than the last reading on the previous meter.
That is why a discontinuity appears on the Cap EcoConso display concerning the usage curve when a meter is changed; there s no line separating the previous meter’s last reading and the next reading in the following month. This also explains why a reading from the new meter cannot be entered “manually” for the month in which the meter was changed: this can only be done in the following month
During the mediation process, the supplier wished to improve its FAQ concerning the Cap EcoConso offer on its web site to explain all that. Compensation was also offered for the inconvenience caused and the lack of explanations.

3- Observation

The Cap EcoConso tool, available in the online account of each consumer who has subscribed for this service, lets consumers track their usage. Advisers must be in a position to answer customers’ queries concerning the service’s precise functions, more particularly when a meter is changed. For instance, the tool only displays one consumption figure per month, which poses a problem in the month when the meter is changed (the usage shown on the old meter compared with the usage shown on the new meter).

4- Recommendation / Generic solution

The supplier must train advisers on the main functions of the service.