AGL Energy Limited (AGL) will introduce 24 hour, seven days-a-week (24/7) service for residential and small business customers from this November. In an Australian energy industry first, this ‘around the clock’ service will make it easier for AGL’s 2.75 million electricity and gas customers (1) to manage their energy needs. Customers will now be able to confirm account balances and details, pay or query bills and organise their gas and electricity connections at any time of the day or night.
The extension of AGL’s opening hours has been driven by customer demand, with close to 10 percent of customer calls or over 350,000 of calls a year, received outside of AGL’s current opening hours of 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Independent research commissioned by AGL found that consumers are looking for energy retailers to be open outside of usual business hours, and not just for a couple of extra hours. In fact, nearly 60 percent of consumers said they preferred the option of 24/7 customer service, while only 13 percent of consumers said they would be satisfied with a modest extension of business hours (2).
General Manager Marketing & Retail Sales, Mark Brownfield, said AGL recognised the importance of keeping pace with other industries by making it possible for customers to call AGL when it’s convenient for them.
“Seventy five percent of households view energy bills as one of their largest household bills (3) which is why it is important we provide customers with service that’s easy and convenient, and for our part, that means being available 24 hours a day, seven-days-aweek either by phone or online.
“The shift to 24/7 service is part of a broader program of initiatives that AGL has introduced to improve customer service and give customers more flexibility and control over how they manage their energy needs.
“As well as moving to 24/7 service, we’ve also introduced web chat and a mobile friendly ebill. Last year we launched a range of flexible billing options, including monthly billing, which lets customers receive smaller, more regular bills. A year on, we’ve had a great response to this and we expect more and more customers to take up this option,” said Mr Brownfield.
To help make it easier to manage your energy bills, AGL recommends the following tips:
1. Make budgeting for gas and electricity bills easier by changing to monthly billing. You’ll receive smaller, more regular energy bills and you can align the payment date of your bill with your pay cycle.
2. Help manage the seasonal peaks and troughs of energy payments by moving to a monthly bill smoothing payment arrangement. This ensures your payments across the year are the same or a similar amount each time, rather than higher payments in the peak air conditioning or heating months.
3. Track your energy usage via AGL’s free online energy monitoring tool, My AGL IQ®. You can benchmark your energy usage against other similar homes, receive targeted energy tips and set up an energy savings plan.
4. Sign up to direct debit to pay your bill on time and on many energy plans you will also receive a pay on time discount.
5. Draught proof your home by sealing cracks around doors, windows, and electrical outlets. This is the easiest and cheapest way to reduce your energy usage and could save you up to 25 percent off your heating and cooling bills.
(1) AGL currently has 2.7 million individual customers but 3.8 million electricity and gas customer accounts.
(2) Bliss Research, August 2014.
(3) Colmar Brunton Research, June 2014.
AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated energy companies and largest ASX listed owner, operator and developer of renewable energy generation in the country. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for our investors, communities and customers.