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.

Read more about our client base.

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.

Customer satisfaction

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.

Economic impact

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.

Read more about economic value added by Caruna.

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.

Read more about Caruna's tax footprint

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.

Stakeholder collaboration

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
Employees
  • Professional development
  • Maintaining wellbeing and motivation
  • Caruna’s Day 4 strategy and development day for all employees
  • Several Switch job rotations, employee surveys and competence games.
  • Supervisor team coaching
  • Developing tools for assessing supervisors and experts
  • Diverse training opportunities, such as Caruna Academy, presentation and dialogue skills trainings and project management
  • Developing the rules for remote working
  • Targeted measures for developing teams and the organisation
  • Further developing Caruna’s strategy and values and putting them into practice with employees
  • Planned activities for wellbeing at work, such as sports, fitness assessments and lifestyle courses
Customers
  • Professional, friendly and service-oriented customer service
  • Communicating about changes and disturbances
  • Timely fault repair
  • Reliable invoicing
  • Reasonable pricing

 

  • Putting the customer experience on centre stage in Caruna’s updated strategy
  • Reforming the team structure of the customer service organisation to meet the expectations of our customer segments
  • Deploying our new customer management and invoicing system
  • Significantly increasing automated communications to monitor the progress of customer jobs
  • Collaboration concept with the local association of the Finnish Home Owners’ Association
  • Closer collaboration with electricity retail sellers (e.g. retailer meetings)
  • Deploying new internal tools for communicating during disturbances
  • Active communications with customers, including Caruna Sähkövahti alerts
  • Developing the outages map (e.g. banners)
  • Executing the reliability of supply programme
  • Efficient preparation for disturbances caused by weather conditions
  • Setting up Caruna’s invoicing team and introducing performance quality indicators
  • Developing the NPS indicators and making use of the survey results
  • Participating in the sector-specific customer satisfaction survey
  • Using customer surveys and a panel to develop the future pricing structure
Contractors, suppliers and partners
  • Maintaining open and foreseeable partnerships
  • Fulfilling promises
  • Actively developing collaboration
  • Maintaining non-discrimination and effective markets
  • Extensive project implementation

 

  •  Caruna’s stakeholder events and regular meetings; Caruna’s Contractor Day and Caruna’s Contractor Day for Network Builders
  • Maintaining and developing collaboration in accordance with the systematic management model for supplier relations
  • Systematically collating ideas for development at supplier meetings, and continued development focus in operations
  • Complying with and making use of the principles laid out in the Act 1398/2016 on public procurement in specialised sectors (erityisalojen hankintalaki)
  • Six 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 electricity 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 the authorities and decision-makers
Industry organisations and partners
  • Developing the industry
  • Providing expert services
  • Active dialogue
  • Contributing to the industry organisations (the Finnish Energy, Eurelectric, EDSO) and drawing attention to Caruna’s views
  • Contributing to industry collaboration and lobby groups
  • Working in committees and working groups and sharing Caruna’s expertise (the Finnish Energy’s network committee, electricity distribution and regulation committee and working groups, Fingrid’s advisory committee and Eurelectric’s committees)
Interest groups and NGOs
  • Developing collaboration concerning energy matters
  • Increasing public awareness of the industry and Caruna’s business
  • Collaboration with organisations such as 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
  • Contributing to the development of the energy system and suggesting solutions
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
  • Informing the rescue services and other authorities about power cuts caused by exceptional weather conditions and other factors, using channels such as the Krivat system
  • Supplying the rescue services and the police with the telephone numbers reserved for the authorities and keeping the contact details up to date
  • Updating the electricity network company’s contingency and emergency plan and submitting it to the monitoring authority, the National Emergency Supply Agency
  • Participating in five contingency exercises held by the authorities, 12 regional meetings of the National Emergency Supply Agency’s energy generation pool and 10 regional preparedness committee (ELVAR) meetings and seminars
  • Contributing to the work of the incident collaboration group HÄTY
Shareholders
  • Sustainably increasing company value
  • Implementing the chosen strategy
  • Good governance
  • Participating in six 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
  • Responding to media enquiries for interviews and contacts
  • Press releases, meetings with representatives of the media
  • Communicating about disturbances on the website, social media channels, the media and text messages
  • Providing more information about Caruna
  • Developing and extending the social media content and channels

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. 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.