This page provides updates on the projects or activities of the ENGIE Group and its subsidiaries that may have been the subject of CSR controversy in the media.
France – Update on doorstep selling
The door-to-door sales channel is a very important alternative to digital channels and call centers. It is appreciated by almost everyone who receives a visit because it involves direct, human contact, despite being the subject of a handful of complaints.
It is worth remembering that nearly 11% of French people do not have access to broadband Internet (source: UFC Que Choisir) and only 49.5% know how to change energy supplier (source: Baromètre Énergie-Info du Médiateur National de l’Energie Vague 11 2017). An ENGIE-accredited vendor takes time to explain the opening up of energy markets to competition, and the existence of competitive and innovative products and services, and offers an alternative to regulated tariffs.
For all these reasons, ENGIE's door-to-door customer satisfaction rate is higher than that of our other sales channels (telephone, web, and the like).
This is the result of ENGIE’s stringent monitoring processes for this sales channel. We use feedback and recommendations from stakeholders (consumer associations, the national energy ombudsman, and so on) to constantly improve these processes. For example, we organized three meetings in 2017 with panels of consumer associations to discuss door-to-door selling and to further improve our processes.
We apply the following extremely strict rules:
- We select our partners and train them in the energy sector and commercial ethics (for example, they are strictly forbidden to present themselves as a representative of anyone other than ENGIE)
- They are supplied with an “ENGIE authorized vendor” card, which must be shown to the customer.
- A call is systematically logged with the customer following a door-to-door sale to confirm his or her subscription to ENGIE's energy offering and to remind them of their right of withdrawal.
- Since mid-2017, customers may receive a second satisfaction measurement call..
- Customer satisfaction, withdrawals and complaints are monitored; all complaints are analyzed and processed by ENGIE's customer service department.
- We will shortly extend satisfaction monitoring by introducing an additional survey for people visited by sellers but who did not wish to follow up.
- An informative flyer explaining the energy market and the role of its players, approved by consumer associations, is given to everyone canvassed at home. Customers appreciate it because it provides accessible information essential in a market with a low level of public awareness, 10 years after it was opened up to competition.
- We systematically inform local public authorities (town halls or police stations) of the presence of vendors in their district.
Notwithstanding the measures described above, withdrawals represent a very small percentage of sales (less than 0.2%). Even if a customer withdraws after the legal 14-day period, ENGIE goes beyond its legal obligations and systematically takes into account the customer's request, free of charge. However, if it comes to our attention that a service provider has not followed our procedures or that one of these vendors has used practices that do not comply with our requirements, we take immediate action because this type of behavior is unacceptable.
The vast majority of sales do not pose a problem and most customers are satisfied.ENGIE is also often wrongly accused, due to fraudulent use of its identity.
For the record, the French National Energy Ombudsman (MNE) recorded 1,519 complaints in 2017, all suppliers and all types of canvassing combined, which is extremely low with regard to the overall number of energy contract sales made each year in France by energy suppliers (several million); if the complaints are lodged against ENGIE, they are the result of isolated practices by a few vendors and are systematically corrected as quickly as possible, both with the client (cancellation of the sale if necessary) and with the service provider (reminder of the rules, withdrawal of the authorized vendor card, or even the termination of the contract of the service provider concerned). ENGIE has no interest in allowing its image be tarnished.
Australia – Update on the rehabilitation of the Hazelwood
After a 45-day accidental fire in 2014 in the nearby coal mine supplying the Hazelwood power plant, ENGIE (holder of a 72% stake in the Hazelwood power plant) decided at the end of 2016 to close the plant (1,200 MW - 25% of the consumption of the State of Victoria).
The power plant was shut down in March 2017 and ENGIE has since been rehabilitating the site. The plant is being decommissioned and the mine will be transformed into a lake.
Decommissioning is expected to be completed in the first half of 2018. Plans to rehabilitate the adjacent mine are currently the subject of extensive consultations with regulators, the local community and other stakeholders.
The plant employed 750 people. In terms of worker transfers, ENGIE has worked with labor union organizations and local authorities to develop and implement a worker transfer program to best guarantee the employment of redundant workers in other power plants in the Latrobe Valley.
Stakeholder communication and engagement tools include a dedicated website, quarterly community forums, stakeholder information, information sessions for stakeholders, media coverage, advertisements, and public information stands.
ENGIE remains committed to local communities through its large-scale long-term partnership program, focusing on youth development, education and other support activities in the Latrobe Valley.
Brazil – Update on the Jirau hydro power plant
The Jirau hydro power dam (3,750 MW) (40% owned by ENGIE) was built (2008-2016) on the Madeira River. Some stakeholders criticized the lack of dialogue and consultation with local indigenous populations displaced and relocated to inadequate housing. In addition, the dam is suspected to have impacted the local environment in Brazil.
The Jirau hydro power plant has been approved, built and operates in full compliance with Brazilian legislation The Brazilian Environment Agency (IBAMA) issued the installation and operating licenses, in accordance with each aspect of the project and all of its operating conditions. The project environmental impact assessment (EIA) includes a highly detailed analysis of biodiversity and the potential impacts on it.
With respect to environmental impacts, where potential or actual impacts have been identified, appropriate conditions and programs have been defined to avoid, mitigate and compensate for these impacts. These programs are defined in detail in the Environmental Basic Project (PBP) and are monitored and verified by the Brazilian Environment Authority IBAMA.
Far-reaching communication and consultation mechanisms have been developed under the social communication program of the Jirau dam. One of the main mechanisms is the Sustainability Committee, created by the Energia Sustentavel do Brasil (ESBR) consortium to promote dialogue between the community and stakeholders during the construction and operating phases of the project. There are different working groups on this committee, including a working group on indigenous peoples.
The treatment of indigenous peoples in Brazil is managed by the Brazilian federal agency FUNAI, and infrastructure project operators apply FUNAI decisions regarding compensation and mitigation programs. No indigenous land has been directly affected by the Jirau dam, and no indigenous population has been displaced.
Concerning the impact on hydrology upstream of the dam, the Jirau dam consists of a run-of-river hydroelectric project with a variable reservoir to minimize environmental impacts. The water flow is not affected by the dam and the project has been designed to operate at variable levels, between 82.5 and 90.0 meters, to ensure that the project has no influence on Bolivian territory and that natural seasonal fluctuations are maintained.
As regards the impact on fish migration, two fish passes in the Jirau hydro power plant ensure that fish can migrate upstream. The systems have been designed and are being evaluated by leading fish fauna specialists. They have been in operation since 2012 and are achieving good results.
In December 2017, heavy rain in the state of Rondonia and in Bolivia encouraged flooding along the Madeira River, but without affecting areas under the influence of the Jirau hydro power dam.