Performance against our objectives

Descriptions of our progress against all National Grid’s objectives are set out here. We include below further information specific to Electricity Distribution & Generation with respect to the objectives that are closely aligned to the lines of business.

Driving improvements in our safety, customer and operational performance

Safety

Our objective is to reduce employee lost time injuries to zero.

To monitor our safety performance we use employee lost time injury frequency rate as our key performance indicator.

The number of employee lost time injuries in Electricity Distribution & Generation decreased to 37 compared with 53 in 2007/08 (based on National Grid’s definition that aligns the measure between the UK and the US). Our lost time injury frequency rate for 2008/09 was 0.22, representing a 37% decrease over the prior year’s rate of 0.35. The data for 2007/08 has been restated as if the KeySpan acquisition had occurred at the beginning of the year. Improvement programmes implemented in 2008/09 were aimed at aligning our merged operations in key areas of safety and occupational health management and to promote one positive safety culture. The key safety initiatives during 2008/09 were as follows:

  • integration of a safety observations programme focused on fostering open communications and promoting safe behaviours. A new online system was developed to support the programme;
  • a new safety performance committee structure was established to drive safety initiatives and promote communication;
  • implementation of the soft tissue injury prevention programme continued to improve our approach to preventing soft tissue or musculoskeletal injuries, which make up 60% of injuries;
  • an attendance management programme was initiated to increase supervisors’ focus on non occupational absence reduction; and
  • as part of our trusted to work responsibly strategy, we continue to address the ‘golden rules’ of safety that involve the most critical areas of safety and set clear expectations of the workforce.

In 2009/10, our safety objectives include implementing a safe driving policy, incorporating techniques in the field to help address transitional risk and hazard identification, improving the quality of incident investigation and analysis to ensure we consistently identify underlying causes and help to prevent recurrence, and promote union involvement through increased participation in the safety advocate and other programmes.

Customer service

In addition to meeting customer service objectives agreed with our regulators, our objective is to be within the upper quartile of customer satisfaction in the territories we operate in.

To monitor our customer service performance we use customer satisfaction surveys as our performance indicator.

Reliability and service issues are key factors contributing to customer satisfaction. Our investment in enhanced reliability will increasingly improve customer perceptions. We are taking steps to improve our customer satisfaction, manage cost and use, enhance billing quality, and increase responsiveness to customer queries, regulatory complaints and call handling. Recent performance against our peers shows we need to substantially improve customer satisfaction. A key customer satisfaction metric is the J.D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction study. A global marketing information company, J.D. Power conducts independent and unbiased surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality and buyer behaviour. In the most recent surveys, we rank in the lower quartile for large east coast utilities. Our objective is to achieve first quartile performance in all J.D. Power customer satisfaction surveys by 2013.

To drive immediate and sustained improvements, ownership of the major survey components has been assigned to senior management who will develop and implement action plans designed to improve our ranking each year for the next three years. The National Grid customer experience team identified the following priority areas:

  • communications and price;
  • corporate citizenship;
  • billing, payment and collections;
  • gas and electricity quality, reliability and safety;
  • customer field services; and
  • customer operations.

Electricity Distribution & Generation has established a customer steering committee that will work in partnership with National Grid’s customer experience team to drive improvement in customer satisfaction in 2009/10. Detailed customer feedback identified targeted improvement opportunities, including:

  • outage communications and estimated time of restoration accuracy;
  • customer education, relevance, and frequency of communications associated with forestry related work; and
  • customer facing skills to ensure customers feel valued.

Energy efficiency provides our customers with long-term cost saving opportunities. For more than 20 years National Grid has offered a comprehensive portfolio of energy efficiency programmes to customers. These nationally recognised programmes have saved billions of kilowatt hours of electricity, eliminated millions of dollars in energy costs and have reduced millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity production. In 2008/09, energy efficiency programmes helped customers mitigate the rising costs of energy and educated them on conservation methods.

National Grid has received national recognition from the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for our leadership and outstanding contribution to energy savings and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Using our proven performance in delivering energy efficiency programmes, we aim to significantly expand programme funding through initiatives under way in Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts. We are also continuing to develop new and creative ways to provide our customers with end-to-end energy solutions that help them manage their energy use and reduce their carbon footprint.

LIPA and National Grid are in discussions as to whether we have achieved the customer satisfaction metrics in the management services agreement for the years 2006 to 2008. Failure to meet these metrics for all three years could constitute an event of default under the agreement.

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