Section C

Monitoring and Compliance Customer Survey Specification

Reporting Timetable

Table 1: Reporting Timetable

Calendar Quarter (CQ)

Relevant Reporting Period

Reporting Submission Deadline

Results is­sued to SGB and Suppli­ers1

SGB Meeting where results will be presents

Publication of Domestic Survey Re­sults2

CQ1

1 Jan to 31 Mar

By no later than 20 Working Days after 31 March

By no later than 30 Working Days after 31 March

May SGB

By no later than the last Working Day of Jun

CQ2

1 Apr to 30 Jun

By no later than 20 Working Days after 30 Jun

By no later than 30 Working Days after 30 Jun

Aug SGB

By no later than the last Working Day of Sep

CQ3

1 Jul to 30 Sep

By no later than 20 Working Days after 30 Sep

By no later than 30 Working Days after 30 Sep

Nov SGB

By no later than the last Working Day of Dec

CQ4

1 Oct to 31 Dec

By no later than 20 Working Days after 31 Dec

By no later than 30 Working Days after 31 Dec

Feb SGB3

By no later than the last Working Day of Mar45

1The SGB and Suppliers will receive anonymised Domestic and Microbusiness aggregated results and non-anonymised Domestic results.

2The un-anonymised Domestic Survey Results shall be published in accordance with SMICoP Sec­tion C, Clause 3.5.

3Meaning the month of February in the Calender year following the calender year applicable for the relevant reporting period.

4Meaning the month of March in the calender year following the calender year applicable for the relevant reporting period.

5With the exception of the CQ4 for calender year 2019 in respect of which the results shall be pub­lished no later than the last Working Day of April 2020.

Attachments

Attachment 1 – Example Domestic Customer Survey Returns Template

Attachment 2 - Example Micro-business Customer Survey Returns Template

Customer Survey Specification Overview

1. Purpose

1.1. This specification is designed to establish whether the obligations and standards set out in the SMICoP are being followed by Suppliers (or their appointed agents) during the smart metering installation process. It supplements Suppliers’ own compliance monitoring activities which are also specified within the Code.

1.2. It is separate from other internal feedback mechanisms established by Suppliers1. It is an independent view that is provided to the BEIS and Authority on request. If non-compliance is identified the findings could be used as a trigger for further investigation or information requests, and / or enforcement action.

1.3. It is not intended to evaluate customer satisfaction levels. However, Suppliers can use either a) the same survey or b) a different survey to track customer satisfaction for internal purposes.

1.4. The Monitoring and Compliance Customer Survey Specification applies in respect of the installation of a Smart Metering System at Domestic Premises and at premises of a Micro-Business Customer.

1.5.    The Domestic Customer Survey Reports will be published on the SMICoP website.

2. Roles and Responsibilities

2.1. Suppliers must procure the services of an external market research agency that adheres to the MRS Code of Conduct.

2.2. Results are to be shared in confidence via the SMICoP Code Administrator, with the Authority and/or the BEIS Programme on request, and the Supplier in question.

2.3. Survey results will be sent confidentially to the SMICoP Code Administrator in the pre-agreed format (see Attachments 1 and 2). The SMICoP Code Administrator will collate the results and publish Domestic Customer Survey Results as described in Section B clause 3.5. Collated survey results, other than those provided to the Authority and/or BEIS, will be suitably anonymised.

2.4. The Authority has the right to request information from Suppliers to support a review of the external market research agency’s processes.

3. Survey Questions

 3.1. This section contains a list of questions to be asked during the survey by all Suppliers using a yes/no/don’t know/free text response. The questions should be asked in the same order that they appear in, with the demographic questions in Section C, Appendix D being addressed by all Suppliers using the cross-tabbed response forms provided in Attachments 1 and 2.

3.2. Additional wording has also been included to ensure that the most appropriate person is answering the survey.  This should be included at the relevant stage to set the scene.  The form of this wording can be amended so that it is tailored to meet each Suppliers’ preference and to take into account whether the survey is being conducted by telephone or online. The survey should be done according to customer preference.

3.3. Suppliers should use all reasonable endeavours to engage in communicating with the Customers for whom English is not their first language, to ensure their responses are captured.

3.4. References in brackets refer to the SMICoP clause which includes the relevant requirement.  These do not need to be included in the survey.

 

Domestic Customers

I would like to ask you some questions about the installation of your SMART Meter…I need to speak to the person who dealt with the [installation engineer] when the meter was installed.  Are you the right person or do I need to speak to someone else?"

Question 1 Before someone came to change your meter, were you told that you were getting a smart meter? (A2.7.1)

Question 2 Were you offered an [Insert your own Supplier terminology (in home display)] (A3.5.1)

SMICoP_Section_C00019.jpg

 

Question 3 Did the [installer/technician] provide a demonstration of the equipment installed? (A3.6.1)

SMICoP_Section_C00021.jpg

 

Question 4 Did the [installer/technician] offer advice or information on how to use less [Insert your own Supplier terminology for energy i.e. electricity and gas consumption] during the visit [Insert your own Supplier terminology on how this advice may have been imparted, or the specific terminology or language used, if appropriate]? (A3.7.1)  

If yes:

a) If the [installer/technician] did offer advice or information, did you take up the offer?

If yes:

b) Did the advice or information given take into account your home and/or how you use [insert your own Supplier terminology for energy i.e. electricity and gas consumption]?

SMICoP_Section_C00023.jpg

 

Question 5 Were you asked to pay for any goods and services before, during or after the installation visit?

If yes

a. Had the [Supplier] asked for your permission to discuss goods and services before the visit? b. What goods and services were you asked to pay for?

SMICoP_Section_C00025.jpg

 

The final question refers to information about yourself:

Question 6 Do you, or anyone in your household who was present at the installation, have any long term illness, health problem or disability which limits your daily activities or the work you can do?

If yes:

a. Did this person have any additional needs or specific requirements that the installer/technician needed to take into account during the installation? If yes:

b. Did the installer/technician take into account these additional needs or specific requirements during the installation?

If no:

c. You said that the installer/technician did not take into account the additional needs or specific requirements during the installation. Why do you say this?

 

Micro-business Customers

I would like to ask you some questions about the installation of your Smart meter. As this survey includes questions about the discussions that took place before, during and after the installation visit; could I please speak with the manager, or the most appropriate person to answer these questions?

Question 1 Before someone came to change your meter, were you told that you were getting a smart meter? (A2.7.1)

SMICoP_Section_C00027.jpg

 

Question 2 Did the [installer/technician] provide a demonstration of the equipment installed? (A3.6.1)

SMICoP_Section_C00029.jpg

 

Question 3 Did [your Supplier] offer advice or information on how to manage your [Insert your own Supplier terminology for energy i.e. electricity and gas consumption] usage [Insert your own Supplier terminology on how this advice may have been imparted, or the specific terminology or language used, if appropriate]?

This advice could have been given before, during or after the visit (A3.7.1)

SMICoP_Section_C00031.jpg

 

Question 4 Was there a charge for installation of the smart meter? (A2.7.4)

 If yes  

a. Were you made aware of this before the visit took place?

SMICoP_Section_C00033.jpg

 

Question 5 Did you indicate any specific operational business needs when the installation appointment was being scheduled? (A2.7.6)

If yes

a. Were these needs taken into account during the installation?

If no

b. What were the operation business needs that you identified?

Question 6 Did the Supplier check whether your premises has any domestic premises associated with it? (A3.3.13)

SMICoP_Section_C00035.jpg

 

 

4. Methodology

4.1. Interviewing will be conducted via telephone (CATI) and/or online, taking into account customer preference and accessibility to telephone and online surveys.

4.2. Minimum sample size per Supplier is included in Appendix A.  Suppliers should ensure that they chose a methodology with a sufficient response rate to meet the minimum sample size, noting that the response rates will vary, with online surveys generally having a lower response rate than telephone surveys. Samples should be drawn from all installations carried out by the Supplier in the relevant period.

4.3. If a Supplier fails to meet the minimum sample size then the results should still be submitted to the Code Administrator, together with an explanation e.g. low response rate, fewer installations carried out than expected. The Code Administrator will inform the SGB of the size of the sample and the SGB will determine whether there are sufficient results for a robust comparison.

4.4. Suppliers will make all reasonable endeavours for the interviews to be completed within 10 days of installation, up to a maximum of 15 Working Days.

4.5. Interviews will be spread over the quarter and not a snapshot in time.

4.6. Suppliers will provide a complete list of completed installations to their chosen agency each week.

4.7. The selection of which days and times to interview the customer can be made by the research agency to ensure MRS Code of Conduct is adhered to.

4.8. The selection of jobs to survey will be made by the Supplier’s chosen agency.

4.9. Suppliers should provide to the Code Administrator a one-off, short (approximately one page) summary of the methodology employed by their survey organisation for the survey. This should be provided alongside the Q2 2016 results or, if results are not submitted in Q2 2016, the first set of results to be submitted. This methodology summary need only be submitted once, unless there is a substantive change to the methodology used, in which case, an updated methodology summary should be submitted. The summary should include:

• A summary of how customers were sampled:

• How you propose to meet the minimum sample criteria

Whether any customers are excluded from the research (e.g. because they have opted out)

How differences in communication preference (e.g. online/telephone) were accounted for.

• Your recruitment process, including;

• How non-responders are followed up

• Any incentives offered

• How was your survey administrated:

• Software used to support online/telephone data collection

• Introductory or explanatory text used

• Data privacy notices provided to consumers

• Were the compliances questions included as part of a wider survey conducted by the suppliers

4.10. The methodology statements will be provided to the Authority and/or BEIS.

5. Reporting

5.1. The surveys are to be carried out on a 12-month period of a calendar year. If a Supplier starts their survey during the year, then they will be required to provide results on a pro-rata basis for that calendar year beginning in the quarter that they begin to carry out surveys.

5.2. The calendar year quarter cycles have been provided in the Reporting Timetable on the Contents Page.

5.3. Reporting frequency is in line with this specification.

5.4. A standardised reporting format will be agreed with the SMICoP Code Board and Suppliers will complete this in line with this specification  and send securely to the SMICoP Code Administrator. All Suppliers are to take the surveys and report within agreed prescribed periods.

5.5. Suppliers are to submit a completed report to the SMICoP Code Administrator in line with the Reporting Timetable following the end of each relevant reporting period. This window of submission is to allow Suppliers to conduct surveys for installations that take place up to and including the final working day of any given quarter.

5.6. Only the results of surveys for installations completed within the calendar quarter for any given report are to be included in that report, notwithstanding that surveys can be conducted up to a maximum of 15 Working Days post installation.

5.7. No Supplier will be able to see other Suppliers’ results and the SMICoP Code Administrator shall keep them confidential and not disclose a Supplier’s report to any other Supplier until such time as the Domestic Customer Survey Report is published.

5.8. When reporting the Domestic Customer Survey results, Suppliers should also provide the following information from their internal systems to address the demographic questions:

• Does the customer have a Priority Services Register (PSR) flag (Yes/No)?

• Is the meter mode set to credit/pre-payment?

• Does the customer pay by Direct Debit/other payment method?

• Which Grid Supply Point (GSP) Group is the customer in?

5.9. Where the customer is a gas only customer and the registration data held by the Supplier does not allow the GSP Group to be identified, the GSP Group should be reported as “n/a” in the survey results.

5.10. For additional details on the format that this data should be submitted in see Appendix B ‘Reporting File Structure’.

5.11. Suppliers shall ensure that they do not provide the Code Administrator with the personal data of any individual within the free text response.

6. Complaint Handling

6.1. All Suppliers will take ownership for managing their own customer’s complaints arising from the customer surveys.

 APPENDIX C1: Minimum Sample Size

Installations at Domestic Premises

Fewer than 5k planned installation-visits per annum

If a Supplier is planning fewer than 5k installations in respect of Domestic Premises within the calendar year, there is no requirement to survey customers for compliance purposes.

5k-20k planned installation-visits per annum

If a Supplier is planning between 5k-20k installations in respect of Domestic Premises within the calendar year, a total of 500 surveys will need to be completed to cover the 12-month period. The Supplier will advise the Code Administrator before the end of the first calendar quarter (January-March) if they are planning on installing between 5k-20k installations in respect of Domestic Premises within that calendar year. Results from surveys will be submitted in full no later than four weeks after the end of the calendar year to which they relate, and could be passed to (or requested by) the Authority, and used for compliance purposes.

More than 20k planned installation-visits per annum

If a Supplier is planning more than 20k installations in respect of Domestic Premises within the calendar year, a minimum of 500 surveys will need to be completed each calendar quarter. Results from these surveys could be passed to (or requested by) the Authority, and used for compliance purposes. Regardless of whether the 500 survey target is met, results from these surveys should be submitted on a quarterly basis. Results from these surveys could be passed to (or requested by) the Authority, and used for compliance purposes.

Installations at premises of Micro Business Customers

Fewer than 5k planned installation-visits per annum

If a Supplier is planning fewer than 5k installations in respect of premises of Micro Business Customers in the next 12 months, then reasonable endeavours should be used to gather as many survey returns as possible. Results from these surveys should be submitted on an annual basis. Interim results from these surveys could be passed to (or requested by) the Authority, but only the annual results would be used for compliance purposes.

More than 5k planned installation-visits per annum

If a Supplier is planning more than 5k installations in respect of premises of Micro Business Customers in the next 12 months, reasonable endeavours should be taken to carry out 500 surveys each calendar quarter. Regardless of whether the 500 survey target is met, results from these surveys should be submitted on a quarterly basis. Results from these surveys could be passed to (or requested by) the Authority, and used for compliance purposes.

 APPENDIX C2: Reporting File Structure

SMICoP compliance reporting file structure

The responses to the survey will be submitted using the file structure provided as Attachment 1. Within this file the checksum is the total of the No. of ‘Y’, ‘N’, ‘Don’t Know’ and free text answers from within the survey summary report details.

This file format will be used for all questions, the first questions asked will be the meter installation questions and the next questions asked will be the demographic question.

Note:

The checksum calculation should be the ‘No. of surveys completed’ value multiplied by the number of questions that is included in a survey. This includes both the survey question and sub-questions and should exclude the demographic survey questions.  

 APPENDIX C3: Code Administrator Responsibilities

Code Administrator responsibilities

The Code Administrator will:

•receive reports in line with the Appendix A guidance;

•publish a timetable to all Suppliers detailing the dates by which such reports should be submitted and the reporting period to be included in each;

•develop a common reporting format and require reports to be delivered electronically by email;

•store the reports received securely to ensure confidentiality of the data;

•validate the checksum in the trailer record of the file;

•check the file for completeness ensuring all data items are populated and the data format is correct for each;

•check the reporting period start and end dates match those expected and published in the reporting timetable;

•follow up errors or omissions identified in the validation of the report with the submitting Supplier and request for a corrected report to be provided within an agreed timescale;

•immediately after a quarterly scheduled report submission date has passed, check that reports have been received from all relevant suppliers and follow up any missing reports with the supplier(s) concerned;

•at the next available SGB, present a collated anonymised compliance report of all survey information received in the most recent reporting quarter. The report to the SGB will include the count of survey returns for each Supplier in an anonymised format; and

   publish the Domestic Customer Survey Reports in accordance with 3.5.4 in the format and location as specified by the SMICoP Governance Board.

 APPENDIX C4: Demographic Questions

Domestic Customer Survey Demographic Questions

D1. In which of these ways do you occupy this accommodation?

1. Own it outright/with mortgage

2. Rent from private landlord

3. Rent from social landlord

4. Other

5. Refused

Micro-business Customer Survey Demographic Questions

All questions have ‘don’t know’ option included, allowing for respondents unaware of the wider business to respond.

D1. What is the size of your business (including all sites), in terms of employee numbers? SINGLE CODE

• Sole trader

• 2-10 employees

• 11-50 employees

• More than 50 employees

• Don’t know

D2. Which of the following best describes your type of business premises? SINGLE CODE (To discuss – are the breakdowns of meter relationship required)

• We are based in a residential house or flat (we have no separate business premises)

• We rent our premises as tenants – and we have no right to change our energy meters, this is solely the landlord’s decision

• We rent our premises as tenants – and we have the right to change our energy meters if we choose

• We rent our premises as tenants – but I don’t know if we can change our energy meters if we choose

• We are owner occupiers of our premises

• Don’t know

D3. From the following list, what is your industry sector? SINGLE CODE (To discuss – is a more detailed SIC classification required for micro-business)

• Public sector (including health / social work / education)

• Hospitality/accommodation/food service

• Retail

• Administrative (private sector)

• Manufacturing

• Agriculture/forestry/fishing

• Construction

• Transport/storage

• Information and communication

• Financial/insurance/real estate/ professional services

• Arts/entertainment/leisure

• Other business sector

• Don’t know

1.   As set out in SMICoP Section A, 4 Post Installation, 4.2 Customer Feedback