Customers and society
Our society and the running of our daily lives are dependent on electricity, now more than ever before. Reliability of electricity distribution is a primary concern for our customers, businesses, the authorities and many other actors in society. Caruna’s updated strategy has taken account of these issues.
- In 2017, we continued to put effort in the development of Caruna’s customer experience and the customer focus of our employees and partners.
- Over the year, we participated in three exercises conducted by the authorities to strengthen the security of supply.
- Reliability of electricity supply, reasonable pricing and efficient service remain the three cornerstones of our customer experience.
- Our three-year sponsoring partnership with the Finnish Ice Hockey Association supports low-threshold leisure activities for young people.
- We updated our invoicing system, developed our online customer service options and improved the flow of information in projects.
- Inspired by Finland’s 100th anniversary as an independent country, we held a competition to increase environmental and energy awareness, inviting school children from grades 7 to 9 to contribute their ideas for a future energy system.
Serving our customers
Our customer base
By our customer volume, Caruna is Finland’s largest company dedicated to electricity distribution. Caruna Oy is responsible for electricity distribution to 467,000 households and businesses in its network areas in the regions of Uusimaa, Häme, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, South Ostrobothnia, Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia and Lapland, where the network is mainly located in the countryside. Caruna Espoo Oy delivers electricity to 205,000 households and businesses in the urban areas of Espoo, Kauniainen, Kirkkonummi and Joensuu.
Our customer base has steadily increased since 2007 and we currently have 672,000 customers. 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.
Our customers’ expectations
Our customer promise is to make our customers’ daily lives run smoothly, every single day. Our customers’ most important expectations for Caruna are reliable 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 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. When customers require service or information, they expect user friendliness, a sense of responsibility and solutions from us.
In 2017, we continued to improve the customer experience. In late 2017, we introduced a new customer management and invoicing system that aligns our ICT solutions with our efforts to improve the customer experience, both at the customer interface and for the back office processes.
As part of the reconfiguration of Caruna’s management system, our dedicated customer experience team was discontinued in September 2017. This reform ensures that the management of customer experience will be integrated in the management of each unit.
We changed our organisation at the customer interface to meet the segment-specific customer expectations. This change also took account of the geographical distribution of our customers across urban and sparsely populated areas, to ensure that our geographical network improvement projects can better serve our customers.
We will also improve the customer experience by reforming our online services with a dedicated customer website, to be launched in early 2018. During interruptions in the electricity supply, we serve our customers 24/7.
We measure customer satisfaction on a regular basis. In 2017, NPS (Net Promoter Score) became one of Caruna’s shared key performance indicators. Over the year, we implemented a NPS survey during several customer encounters. Our customer feedback is divided by customer segment to five stages of the customer path: beginning of the customer relationship, electricity use, customer-initiated network jobs, Caruna-initiated electricity network jobs and other customer contacts.
We measure customer satisfaction on a regular basis.
In 2017, our NPS score was -3.9 (on a scale of -100 to +100), which showed slight improvement from the previous year (-12.5). We also 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.
We take customer feedback seriously. In 2017, the most important action we took to improve the customer experience was the introduction of a new customer management and invoicing system. Our objective is for the customers to feel that Caruna takes their needs into account in all contacts and operations. In 2018, we will launch a strategic key project to further develop the customer experience.
Case: Chat team completes the phone service
When trees fall onto electric lines due to a crown snow-load or autumn storm, it means a busy day for Caruna’s customer service personnel. From the beginning of 2017, Caruna’s Customer Service department has been boosted by a chat team of four who provide assistance on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on the chat facility on Caruna’s website.
“Speed is an advantage online and that is what our customers expect from us. You can file a fault report in the chat service or on our social media sites in the middle of the day in between meetings without having to arrange a quiet moment for a phone call,” says Customer Services Manager Maarit Laiho.
Many visitors to the Caruna website may have noticed the turquoise chat window that opens automatically in your browser when you are looking for contact information. The purpose of this service is to make it as easy as possible for you to contact us.
In the chat service, you can ask about an invoice or report a problem in the electricity supply just like in the more traditional phone service. We will do our best to take care of your issue at once and if the matter requires further investigation, we can agree together on the best time to contact you and whether you prefer to be contacted by email or phone. Sending messages in the chat is safe and no details about the conversation are stored by the browser.
Customers have welcomed the new chat service with open arms. Although the majority of customers still contact us by phone, Caruna receives roughly a thousand messages a month via the chat facility.
This new channel has also shaped the way our customer service professionals work. More and more questions are asked about saving energy and about the customer’s possibility of producing energy for their own use.
“It’s satisfying to see that customers trust our expertise. In this job, you feel like you have a thousand skills: first I help someone with an urgent fault report and then I advise someone else on how to reduce their electricity bill. At best, you can have three or four conversations going on at the same time. So yes, my days in the chat customer service just fly by,” expert Tiia Turunen laughs.
Together with Caruna’s communications team, the chat team shares information about interruptions in electricity supply and the progress being made with repairs in the social media. Serving customers through chat requires the seamless cooperation of communications and customer service, and to ensure this, Caruna organises regular training.
“Facebook brings additional challenges to our work because communications there are public and anyone posting a question expects an answer quickly. You have to be able to articulate your thoughts clearly even when you’re very busy. The advantage is that updates and comments in the social media are seen by hundreds or thousands of people, so we can serve more customers at once,” Maarit Laiho explains.
Expectations on the level of customer service given and received grow continuously. That is why Caruna provides its customer service team with regular training and also recruits new people with specific skills when needed. One thing is for sure: Caruna will stay online.
Non-discrimination of customers
The prices and terms and conditions of our network services are similarly fair and non-discriminatory for everybody accessing them.
Concerning our customer contracts, we observe standardised and fair practices by customer group and contract type. The prices and terms and conditions of our network services are similarly fair and non-discriminatory for everybody accessing them, and they are made available on our website. The terms and conditions of our electricity network services are based on the general terms and conditions recommended by the Finnish Energy.
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.
Each year, the Energy Authority receives some complaints concerning, for example, the pricing of electricity connections. In 2017, the Consumer Disputes Board issued several new decisions concerning Caruna’s price changes of 1 March 2016. The Board has found the increases to be reasonable.
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 customers’ daily lives.
Security of supply
As the largest distribution network operator in Finland, Caruna is considered a critical company for the security of supply, which means the ability to handle disturbances and crisis situations with a minimum amount of special arrangements and damage. We are prepared to maintain our ability to supply electricity on the current level of the reliability of supply even during a longer crisis. By investing into the reliability of our electricity network, we ensure the security and continuity of supply, particularly during disturbances caused by the climate.
By investing into the reliability of our electricity 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 working under the power generation pool of the National Emergency Supply Agency, we belong to the ELVAR committee for regional preparedness. We are 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 three 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.
Our operations have direct and indirect economic impacts, both locally and nationally. They are felt especially in the regions where we operate, but through our electricity network and investments we also have nationwide impacts.
The domestic content ratio of created jobs has been estimated at 100%.
In 2017, we commissioned Gaia Consulting Oy to carry out an analysis of our social and regional impacts. The impact model used in the analysis was based on observing Caruna’s electricity business value chain as a whole, and the economic, environmental and social impacts it has.
According to the analysis, the regional economic impacts of Caruna’s operations can be felt locally, for example through job creation and tax revenue. New jobs are mainly created through service providers, especially for network improvement contracts. The domestic content ratio of these jobs has been estimated at 100%.
Caruna has 276 employees. In 2017, we also employed roughly 2,000 contractors in projects across Finland. In addition, Caruna indirectly provides work for some 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, contributions to lenders, electricity network renewal and maintenance investments, personnel wages and tax-like payments.
EUR 426 million in income from customers
Caruna’s net sales in 2017 were EUR 426 million. Net sales increased year-on-year. Our customer volume grew by 8,000 to 672,000 at the end of 2017.
EUR 142 million in payments to suppliers
This figure includes acquired materials and services, costs incurred from the loss of electricity, Fingrid’s national grid fees, fault repair and maintenance costs and other smaller items of expenditure.
EUR 20 million to employees
We paid more than EUR 20 million to employees in salaries, pension payments and social security contributions.
EUR 129 million in contributions to lenders and shareholders
Electricity distribution is an extremely capital-intensive sector. Consequently, in relation to the net sales, the level of interest paid is higher than the average observed in other sectors. In compensation for the use of capital, we paid EUR 48.5 million in interest to our debtors in their order of priority, and EUR 80.5 million in interest for the loan raised from the parent company.
EUR 7 million in support of public interest and taxes
This amount covers the income taxes and property taxes paid, sponsoring and donations. In line with its values, Caruna supports junior sports that give positive energy.
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.
EUR 7 million in taxes paid
Caruna is a Finnish company that pays its taxes in Finland. The amount of corporate taxes increased in 2017, due to Caruna’s improved taxable income. Other taxes include unemployment insurance payments, social security contributions, taxes on property and transfer taxes.
EUR 259 million in taxes collected
This amount covers the electricity tax collected from our customers and accounted to the government, value added tax and withheld taxes. A significant part of the electricity distribution fee collected from our customers is composed of the electricity tax and value added tax.
EUR 291 million in investments
Caruna invested EUR 276,5 million in the construction of an electricity network for the future. Other areas included investment in the IT systems to support the network business and customer service.
In defining our most important areas of sustainability, we have identified our key stakeholders and their expectations for 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 2017|
|Contractors, suppliers and partners||
|Authorities and decision-makers (ministries, the Energy Authority, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, political decision-makers and municipalities)||
|Industry organisations and partners||
|Interest groups and NGOs||
|Political decision-makers and opinion leaders||
|Authorities (the rescue services, the police, the National Emergency Supply Agency, the Finnish Defence Forces)||
We also hold project meetings with representatives of the key environmental organisations and landowners relevant to Caruna’s operations.
Our principle is to share good energy on our network areas through sponsorship. Sponsorship is based on Caruna’s values. Caruna’s support is focused on junior sports, with the Finnish Ice Hockey Association as our main partner for the 2016-2019 sponsorship period.
We endeavour to promote the wellbeing of children and young people in Finland.
Through this partnership, we endeavour to promote the wellbeing of children and young people in Finland, while supporting club sports across the nation. We also wish to celebrate the valuable work volunteers do for their clubs.
In 2016-2019, our largest contribution to junior ice hockey is the low-threshold ‘Caruna Easy Hockey’ activities. These are 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. Easy Hockey does not impose any targets or compulsory training, allowing the players decide the level of they play.
Case: Easy Hockey
A lot of people play ice hockey in a target-oriented way, but you can also play it just for fun with the Easy Hockey programme. This is a low-threshold sports programme for children and teenagers developed by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association, and Caruna has sponsored it since 2016. The aim of this collaboration is to encourage children and teenagers to do sports and exercise and also to try different sports.
“The joy of exercise belongs to everyone. When we started this cooperation with the Ice Hockey Association we had a burning desire to make ice hockey as a hobby available to every child and teenager, instead of supporting only national teams and elite sports,” says Henna Tuominen, Head of Communications at Caruna.
Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports in Finland, but not everyone wants to compete or follow a strict training or tournament schedule.
“The Easy Hockey programme is designed for over 8-year-old children and teenagers who like to play ice hockey but don’t have the time or opportunity to attend training sessions several times a week,” says Youth Hockey and Club Operations Director Turkka Tervomaa from the Finnish Ice Hockey Association.
In two years, Easy Hockey has inspired a great number of children and young people from many sports clubs to join in this low-threshold hobby. The activities are run by local ice hockey clubs with the support of the Finnish Ice Hockey Association.
In training sessions, everyone is on the ice and the players play a full-rink game or a game covering a section of the rink almost throughout the session. No previous experience of the game is required, and the players only need ice skates, a neck guard, a hockey stick and an ice hockey helmet with grid. Easy Hockey is suitable for both girls and boys.
“I want to send a huge thank you to our partner Caruna for their support in making this feel-good ice hockey project available to young people all over Finland. I’m thrilled that together we can offer a new way to play the game as a hobby and to give more and more people the opportunity to participate in the activities of ice hockey clubs throughout the country,” Turkka Tervomaa says.