Customers and society

The Finnish society and our customers are more dependent on electricity than ever before. The reliability of electricity distribution is a priority, both for the daily lives of our customers and the operations of businesses, organisations and the authorities.

  • In 2016, we put effort in the development of Caruna’s customer experience and the customer focus of our employees and partners.
  • Reliability of supply, reasonable pricing and quality of service remain the three cornerstones of our customer experience.
  • Caruna was rewarded for our leadership in customer experience in a survey by Customer Experience Professionals Association™ CXPA Finland.
  • Over the year, we participated in six exercises conducted by the authorities to strengthen the stand-by capacity of the security of supply.
  • We launched a three-year sponsorship programme with the Finnish Ice Hockey Association, with the aim of supporting exercise and sport activities for children and the youth.

Serving our customers

Our customer base

 
By our customer volumes, Caruna is Finland’s largest company dedicated to electricity distribution. Caruna Oy is responsible for electricity distribution in North Finland, South and Southwest Finland and in the regions of Satakunta and Ostrobothnia. Caruna Espoo Oy delivers electricity to the towns of Joensuu, Espoo, Kirkkonummi and Kauniainen.

Our customer base has grown steadily since 2007. This growth has resulted from several factors, such as the rate of urbanisation and the location of our network areas in towns and regions which are attracting new residents and growing.

For further information about our client base, see here.

Our customers’ expectations

The key expectations of Caruna’s customers are uninterrupted electricity distribution, reasonable pricing and user friendliness. We strive to meet our customers’ expectations and, first and foremost, secure a supply of electricity that is as reliable as possible. We keep improving and developing our electricity network to meet the requirements and future needs of a modern society. Thanks to these efforts, our customers can generate electricity for their own use, and sell the surplus through our network.

The key expectations of Caruna’s customers are uninterrupted electricity distribution, reasonable pricing and user friendliness.

In 2016, we continued the implementation of our customer strategy and initiated a large-scale project to develop our customer experience. This included the introduction of a customer experience group, responsible for developing the experience we deliver to our customers. Their development efforts drew from the feedback received through our customer and employee surveys.

As part of the initiative, we invited all employees to a training day to play the role of a customer. We also launched an online course on customer encounters aimed at our contractors to further improve the experience they deliver to customers.

We strengthened our customer service in social media, and launched a customer chat function on our website in late 2016. We further improved the customer experience by reforming the online services aimed at our customers, such as the energy monitoring service which helps customers to monitor their energy use and, if necessary, change their energy use habits. In addition, our website now includes a map which allows customers to follow the progress of our network improvement programme. In case of any disturbances affecting electricity distribution, we serve our customers 24/7.

Customer Experience Professionals Association™ CXPA Finland rewarded Caruna for developing the leadership in good customer experience. In CXPA Finland’s annual survey, ‘Customer Service Management in Finland’, Caruna was ranked third, up from the previous year, and showed the fastest overall improvement.
 

Case: Caruna is listening to their customers more attentively than ever

 
Caruna is active in developing its customer service, and the company was awarded by the CXPA Finland survey for improving its management of the customer experience.

In the spring of 2016, when Caruna’s customer Tuija Rantala found her light bulbs blowing one after the other, she began to suspect that there was something wrong with the electricity supply. This was the beginning of a months-long investigation into the matter together with Caruna. As a result, Rantala’s friends came up with the tag “it’s working like Caruna”.

Cases like Rantala’s are taken very seriously at Caruna. At the end of 2015, Caruna launched a new customer strategy project that included extensive customer surveys. For this purpose, Rantala also was invited to Caruna’s kick-off day in the autumn to share her experiences.

“I want to thank Caruna for being willing to improve things and for not being indifferent to my problems,” Rantala says and adds that she was surprised to receive the invitation.

The target of Caruna’s development work on customer experiences is to improve and speed up customer service so that each customer is connected to the right person to help them as quickly as possible. Rantala says she queued for up to five minutes at the switchboard. Some months later she received confirmation that the metering work had been done and there should be no more problems with the supply. The fault had been fixed as if by magic.

“What our customers primarily expect from us is reliability of supply, fair prices, ease of use and, above all, professional help delivered quickly. We receive feedback on the length of our delivery times and the accessibility of customer service, and this year we have discovered that even two minutes is too long to wait,” says Head of Customer Relations Katriina Kalavainen.

In November 2016, the Caruna website launched a chat channel. According to Kalavainen, the company has received a lot of positive feedback about it, because customers get answers to their questions quickly and in many situations it has replaced email.

“In future, we aim to guide our customers straight to an expert on the issue at hand. For example, if a municipality contacts us about the building of traffic lights, the customer will have clear guidelines on who to call. We will cooperate internally throughout Caruna to complete this work,” Kalavainen explains.

The CPXA Finland survey was answered by a total of 88 professionals from the field of customer experience management from 74 companies. The survey was completed for the fourth time this year in Finland. The prize for the best customer experience management went to TeliaSonera, the second prize to SOK and Caruna shared the third prize with HUS Medical Imaging and Elisa.

Customer satisfaction

We measure customer satisfaction on a regular basis. In order to achieve more comprehensive results than in the previous years, in 2016 our NPS (Net Promoter Score) survey covered all contacts to our customer service. Our 2016 NPS score was -12.5 (on a scale of -100 to +100), significantly lower than last year. We take this trend seriously, and our key response was to initiate a programme for improving customer experience. For 2017, NPS will become one of Caruna’s shared key performance indicators.

We measure customer satisfaction on a regular basis.

We regularly monitor customer service availability, service levels, waiting times, total number of contacts, fault service availability, turnaround time of customer-initiated jobs and accuracy of metering data in invoicing, and keep developing our operations on the basis of this data.

Non-discrimination of customers

Concerning our customer contracts, we observe standardised and fair practices by customer group and contract type. The prices, terms and conditions of our network services are similarly fair and non-discriminatory for everybody accessing them. The prices, terms and conditions are made available on our website. The terms and conditions of our network services are based on the general terms and conditions approved by the authorities.

Our fair treatment of electricity retailers and other market parties contributes to an effective electricity market. Our employees are trained to take account of the necessary requirements, both in customer service contacts and in data processing.

The prices, terms and conditions of our services are similarly fair and non-discriminatory for everybody.

We annually report to the Energy Authority about the measures we have taken to ensure fair treatment of customers, electricity retailers and the market parties. Our 2015 report was submitted on time in May 2016, and was also published on our website. The 2016 report will be completed and submitted to the Energy Authority by no later than 31 May 2017.

Each year, the Energy Authority receives some complaints concerning electricity connections and other issues. The changes to pricing Caruna implemented on 1 March 2016 led to an investigation conducted by the Energy Authority on Caruna’s actions and pricing. The Energy Authority’s concluded that Caruna had acted in compliance with the Energy Market Act when it announced the price increases, and Caruna had taken into account the requirements for fairness and non-discrimination in its pricing changes.

The Consumer Disputes Board was also applied for decisions. In its response, the Board’s plenary session reviewed sample cases of three different modes of living to decide whether Caruna’s distribution prices were reasonable. The Board found the increases to be reasonable. Precedents issued by the plenary session guide the Consumer Disputes Board’s later decision-making practice.

Our role in society

A modern society cannot function without a reliable supply of electricity.  We form a central part of the Finnish key infrastructure and security of supply. We create prerequisites for economic activity, public services and the smooth running of our customer’s daily lives.

Security of supply

As the largest distribution network operator in Finland, Caruna is considered a critical company for the security of supply. Security of supply means the ability to handle disturbances and states of crisis with a minimum amount of special arrangements and damage. We are prepared to maintain our ability to supply electricity on the current supply security level even during a longer crisis. By investing into the reliability of our electrical network, we ensure the security and continuity of supply, particularly during disturbances caused by the climate.

By investing into the reliability of our electrical network, we ensure the security and continuity of supply, particularly during disturbances caused by the climate.

In Finland, the power generation pool of the National Emergency Supply Agency controls energy security, which means detailed contingency and emergency planning of energy production, transmission and distribution. The key objective of the power generation pool is to ensure, while operating under normal circumstances, that there will be sufficient capacity to guarantee national power generation in emergencies. Observing the plans drawn up and tested in advance, the pool must be prepared to manage and carry out power generation in case of crisis, in accordance with the tasks and mandates assigned to it by the Government.

As a participant in the regional pools, operating under the Agency’s national power generation pool, Caruna is a member of the ALVAR committee for regional preparedness. Caruna is also a member of the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority’s HÄTY incident cooperation group, and the Krivat cooperation group for organisations critical for the security of supply. Over the year, we took part in six shared exercises coordinated by the authorities.

Many of our customers are classified by the authorities as organisations critical for the security of supply. Under emergency law, we would take special measures to secure power distribution to these customers.

Economic impact

Our operations have both direct and indirect economic impacts. Caruna has 270 employees. In 2016, we also employed roughly 2,000 contractors in projects across Finland. In addition, Caruna indirectly provides work for 4,000 people.

Economic value added to society

The most significant direct cash flows in our business consist of electricity distribution fees, purchases from service and goods suppliers, compensation to investors, network renewal and maintenance investments, personnel wages and tax-like payments.

For further information about economic value added by Caruna, see here.

Indirect economic impact

We observe the Finnish legislation in the paying, collecting, accounting and reporting of our taxes.

We observe the Finnish legislation in the paying, collecting, accounting and reporting of our taxes. For Caruna, accurate and timely actions in filing tax returns and dealing with other statutory obligations is of primary importance.

The term ‘tax footprint’ refers to the income society receives from a company’s corporate taxes and tax-like payments. In addition to direct and indirect taxes, Caruna’s tax footprint includes reports on tax withheld from employee wages and social security contributions.

The tax footprint summary includes taxes and tax-like payments Caruna is legally obliged to pay or collect. However, the summary does not cover taxes which are included in the purchase price of products or services and which Caruna is not legally required to report.

For further information about Caruna's tax footprint, see here.

Stakeholder collaboration

In defining our most important sustainability topics, we have identified our key stakeholders and their expectations of Caruna. We seek an open and fair dialogue with all stakeholders. We collect feedback from our stakeholders through an annual reputation survey. As from 2017, we will conduct a six-monthly reputation survey targeting our most important stakeholders.

For our key stakeholders and the forms of stakeholder dialogue, see the following table.
 

Stakeholder Expectations for Caruna Caruna’s actions in 2016
Employees
  • Professional development
  • Maintaining wellbeing and motivation
  • Kaiku employee survey and three Pulse surveys
  • New, more flexible model for targets and development discussions
  • ‘Day 3’ strategy day for all employees, supervisor training day and customer experience training day
  • Implementation of a workplace wellbeing plan using energy surveys and other tools
Customers
  • Professional, friendly and service-oriented customer service
  • Communicating about changes and disturbances
  • Timely fault repair
  • Reliable invoicing
  • Reasonable pricing

 

  • Strengthening customer service presence in social media and introducing a chat channel
  • Signing up customers to the electricity alert service to send network fault notices by text message
  • Developing electronic service channels and launching a project map
  • Continuous monitoring with the Energy Authority to ensure reasonable pricing
  • Regular NSP surveys and the energy industry’s shared customer satisfaction survey
  • Introducing a customer experience group
Contractors, suppliers and partners
  • Maintaining open and foreseeable partnerships
  • Fulfilling promises
  • Actively developing collaboration
  • Maintaining non-discrimination and effective markets
  • Extensive project implementation

 

  • Customer encounter online course
  • Maintaining and developing collaboration in accordance with the systematic management model for contractor relations
  • Developing product and contract practices based on active collaboration
  • Complying with and making use of the public procurement principles
  • Five supplier audits
Authorities and decision-makers (ministries, the Energy Authority, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, political decision-makers and municipalities)
  • Compliance with legislation and regulation
  • Maintaining the electricity network’s reliability of operations
  • Operating responsibly and transparently
  • Active dialogue
  • Complying with legislation and regulations and contributing to their development
  • Reporting to the authorities on matters such as the network structural data, financial statements and technical indicators, and submitting the electricity network development plan to the Energy Authority
  • Submitting statements for regulatory decisions and their preparation
  • Systematic and continued collaboration with local government decision-makers and officials
Industry organisations and partners
  • Developing the industry
  • Providing expert services
  • Active dialogue
  • Representing Caruna in the industry organisations (Eurelectric, EDSO for Smart Grids, Finnish Energy)
  • Contributing to industry collaboration and lobby groups
  • Participating in committees and working groups (Eurelectric and EDSO working groups, Finnish Energy’s network committee and the customer, network assets and regulation committee, Fingrid’s advisory committee)
Interest groups and NGOs
  • Developing collaboration concerning energy matters
  • Increasing awareness of the industry
  • Collaboration with Elf, Federation of Finnish Enterprises, Confederation of Finnish Industries, Finnish House Owners’ Association, Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners, Union of Swedish-speaking agricultural producers in Finland and WWF Finland
Political decision-makers and opinion leaders
  • Providing an open and reliable partner in energy matters
  • Developing the industry
  • Maintaining regular contact with the key energy and political decision-makers
  • Providing decision-makers with background information about current matters
Authorities (the rescue services, the police, the National Emergency Supply Agency, the Finnish Defence Forces)
  • Informing the rescue services about preparedness
  • Providing the rescue services and the police with details of the designated contact persons
  • Drawing up the contingency and emergency plan for the National Emergency Supply Agency every two years
  • Participating in stakeholder seminars and exercises
  • Sending a contingency notice whenever the state of preparedness is increased
  • Providing the rescue services and the police with the appropriate contact telephone numbers
  • Sending the contingency and emergency plan to the National Emergency Supply Agency
  • Participating in six contingency exercises held by the authorities, 12 regional meetings of the National Emergency Supply Agency’s energy generation pool, 17 regional preparedness committee (ALVAR) meetings, two meetings of HÄTY, the incident collaboration group and the Krivat cooperation
  • Three lectures for the regional defence courses
Shareholders
  • Sustainably increasing company value
  • Implementing the chosen strategy
  • Good governance
  • Participating in nine meetings of the Board of Directors and seven committee meetings as part of governance
  • Regular personal contact
  • Observing Caruna’s guidelines and policies
Lenders
  • Compliance with legislation and regulation
  • Compliance with the UN Declaration of Human Rights, International Labour Organization’s (ILO) conventions, the UK anti-corruption principles and UN’s Global Compact initiative
  • Maintaining a strong credit rating
  • Open communications and disclosure of information about the company’s financial standing

 

  • Bi-annual and annual reporting
  • Compliance certificates
  • Providing guideline training and other internal training
  • Maintaining effective operations and strong cash flow
  • Holding approximately 30 meetings with credit rating agencies, banks and other financial institutions
Media
  • Open and proactive communications
  • Good availability of experts for interviews
  • Timely and easy access to information
  • Providing an on-call contact number for media representatives
  • Sending out media releases
  • Posting fault notices on caruna.fi
  • Arranging meetings with media representatives
  • Arranging virtual media briefings on key matters which the public finds interesting

We also hold project meetings with representatives of the key environmental organisations and landowners relevant to Caruna’s operations.

Sponsorship

Our principle is to share good energy on our network areas through sponsorship. Caruna’s sponsoring activities are based on our values: customer centricity, responsibility, collaboration and result orientation.

Caruna’s sponsoring activities are based on our values: customer centricity, responsibility, collaboration and result orientation.

Our focus is on junior sports, with the Finnish Ice Hockey Association as our main partner for the 2016-2019 sponsorship period. Caruna was the principal Finnish sponsor of the Ice Hockey World Junior Championship held in Helsinki between December 2015 and January 2016.

At the beginning of 2016, we increased our collaboration with the Finnish Ice Hockey Association to promote the wellbeing of children and young people in Finland, while supporting ice hockey as a club sport across the nation. We also seek to celebrate the valuable work volunteers do for their clubs.

In 2016-2019, our largest contribution to junior ice hockey is the ‘Easy Hockey, Sponsored by Caruna’ activities aimed at young people aged 10 to 17, who are interested in ice hockey as a leisure activity rather than a competitive club sport. Studies indicate that children and young people should be encouraged to try a diverse range of sports and activities. Instead of having targets and imposing compulsory training, Easy Hockey lets the players decide the level of their play.
 

Case: Caruna supports volunteers’ team spirit as a sponsor of the IIHF World Junior Championship

The IIHF World Junior Championships held in Helsinki at the beginning of 2016 made history by breaking the European attendance record. A total of 215,225 ice hockey fans came together at the Helsinki Ice Hall and Hartwall Arena. Caruna had the honour of being the tournament’s main cooperation partner and the patron of the volunteers.

“We wanted to participate in the tournament in order to direct our sponsoring on the young and on voluntary work. The volunteers do amazing, valuable work and that is definitely worth acknowledgment,” says Caruna’s Head of Communications, Henna Tuominen.

A voluntary team of more than 400 people worked hard behind the scenes of the tournament. Their tasks included, for example, transporting the referees from their hotel to the event, assisting the live score service and acting as first aid and medical personnel. These hardworking volunteers didn’t even mind the fact that the tournament took place in the Christmas season.

“Last year I participated in the Under 18s World Championships in Lappeenranta and liked the work and the atmosphere so much that I wanted to help this year too. It’s a great opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes and it offers a new perspective on the sport,” says volunteer Eveliina Montonen, a member of the medical team.

The IIHF World Junior Championships marked the beginning of three-year cooperation with Caruna and the Finnish Ice Hockey Association. As their main partner in 2016–2019, Caruna will support especially the activities of children and young people in clubs all over Finland and highlight the valuable work done by volunteers in such clubs.

Studies show that children and young people benefit from participating in many different sports and that organisations offering hobbies should aim to provide diverse activities.

“We want to encourage children and young people to enjoy exercise. Easy Hockey is aimed at 10–17-year-olds and offers young people the chance to have fun playing once a week. This leaves time for other hobbies too. The threshold for participating is low, because players only need ice skates, a hockey stick, a neck guard and a helmet with a facemask,” Tuominen says.