The ENGIE Group’s Mediator
The primary role of the ENGIE Mediation service is to resolve persistent disputes with any person or organisation concerned by the Group’s activities, whether or not they are a Group customer. The Mediation service acts in synergy with the complaints handling systems within the Group’s entities and subsidiaries, and therefore provides complainants with a final opportunity for resolving their complaint internally without legal involvement if they are dissatisfied with the response previously received from the relevant departments.
Referring your case to the Mediator
Before contacting the Mediator, you must have already addressed your complaint to the relevant ENGIE customer services and been dissatisfied with the reply received.
You can write to the Mediator:
- The applicant can contact the mediator in English or in French via the Internet by completing the form: it is quick, simple and free.
- By letter to: ENGIE Mediator, TSA 34321, 92099 LA DEFENSE Cedex, France.
The primary role of the ENGIE Mediation service is to resolve persistent disputes with any person or organisation concerned by the Group’s activities, whether or not they are a Group customer.
The Mediation service acts in synergy with the complaints handling systems within the Group’s entities and subsidiaries, and therefore provides complainants with a final opportunity for resolving their complaint internally without legal involvement if they are dissatisfied with the response previously received from the relevant departments.
1. Independence of the Mediator
The ENGIE Mediation service is an independent entity that was referenced in March 2012 by the Consumer Mediation Commission, which was established by France’s Consumer Credit Reform Act 2010.
In accordance with the provisions of the French Regulation of 21 August 2015 relating to alternative dispute resolution, the Mediation service fulfils the following criteria:
- Independent budget
- An exclusively dedicated Mediation team
- A renewable and irrevocable Mediator’s mandate of at least three years
- No employer-employee relationship with the company
- Compliance with the Mediation Charter of the Club of Public Service Mediators
a) Independent budget
Every year, the Group’s senior executives provide the Mediator with a budget to perform his duties. This budget is not influenced by any performance objectives or targets for the mediation cases handled. The budget is also unaffected by the economic decisions taken by the Group. For example, the budget was increased in 2015.
b) An exclusively dedicated Mediation team
With the aim of providing the most appropriate response to the requests received and the disputes referred, the Mediator has formed a multidisciplinary team of approximately 10 people, some of whom with a track record in customer relations and others with legal skills and especially expertise in consumer law.
The team reports directly to the Mediator and works exclusively and full-time for the Mediation service.
c) A renewable and irrevocable three-year Mediator’s mandate
The Mediator, Jean-Pierre Hervé, was appointed by the Group’s Chairman and CEO on 1 July 2014. In pursuance of the French Regulation of 21 August 2015 on ADR, he has a renewable mandate of at least three years. His mandate is independent of the Group’s evolution, any changes in management and its business performance. Furthermore, he complies with the rule preventing him from working for any one of the Group’s companies for three years after his term of office has expired.
d) No employer-employee relationship with the company
The Mediation service reports directly to the Group’s senior executives and does not depend on any operational or commercial entity. As such, it can perform its activities in complete independence and impartiality with respect to the parties involved in the disputes handled.
e) Compliance with the Mediation Charter of the Club of Public Service Mediators
The Mediator is a member of the Club of Public Service Mediators. The club is an association of consumer mediators in France who work within companies and/or local government and industry.
The club’s primary mission is to ensure that mediation processes are carried out in accordance with best practices and applicable legislation.
That is why the club has defined a Mediation Charter, which is enforced by all club members.
The Mediator has also produced his own charter (in French only), which satisfies both the requirements of the Club of Mediators and the provisions of the ADR Regulation of 21 August 2015.
2. Mediator’s scope of authority
Thanks to his career path, the Mediator has acquired extensive experience in the energy industry and in external relations with stakeholders. Furthermore, in an effort to maintain his skills at the highest level, he regularly attends courses on mediation, consumer law, consumers’ expectations, and so on. Most courses are organised by the Club of Mediators.
The Mediator also ensures that his team possesses and maintains the right skills. Some team members have followed the same mediation training programme as the Mediator delivered by the Club of Mediators. Specific courses are also organised and laid on exclusively for the team, including consumers’ expectations in May 2015 and an imminent course on conflict management.
3. Mediator’s scope of action
The ENGIE Group’s Mediator has the authority to manage disputes between all types of stakeholders and the ENGIE Group and its entities and subsidiaries:
- Local residents
The customers concerned may be private individuals, businesses, local authorities, institutions, local government, and so on.
The Mediator’s scope of action encompasses all the business activities of the Group and its subsidiaries:
- The sale and distribution of all marketed energies, including new energy sources (solar, etc.).
- The sale and management of services, including energy efficiency services.
As a Mediator dealing with consumers’ disputes, the ENGIE Group’s Mediation service complies with the criteria stipulated in the French ADR Regulation of 21 August 2015:
- Mediation services are free for the claimant: the Mediator does not bill claimants for his involvement in resolving their dispute.
- He maintains the strictest confidentiality during the dispute handling process and in his conclusions for resolving those disputes.
- He performs his duties with due diligence and competence, in complete independence and impartiality , as part of a transparent, effective and fair procedure.
Any requests received by the Mediator are examined to determine whether or not they are eligible for mediation.
The following requests cannot be handled by the Mediation team:
- Instances where customers are unable to prove that they have already tried to settle their dispute directly with the relevant company or department within the Group by filing a written complaint in accordance with the terms specified in their contract if applicable. In such cases, the Mediator forwards the complaint to the appropriate department. However, he ensures that the department responds to the complaint and that the customer is satisfied with the reply and considers the dispute to be settled.
- Requests that are clearly unfounded or unjustified.
- Requests that have already been handled or are currently being handled by a court.
- Requests that do not fall within the Mediator’s scope of authority. In such cases, he forwards them to the appropriate mediator and notifies the customer accordingly.
In case of mediation, the Mediator handles the request as follows:
- He assigns the request to one of the mediation officers in his team.
- The mediation officer contacts the parties (the claimant and the opposing party; in most cases, this means the customer and the representative of the company concerned by the dispute), most often by telephone to check that they understand and accept the principles and values of mediation.
- He asks each party to provide the necessary information, so that he can carry out a complete and independent analysis of the dispute.
- As the officer nears his conclusions, he submits the case file to the Mediator along with the supporting documents. The Mediator then proposes a solution.
- The solution is presented to the parties, who then decide whether or not to accept that solution.
- The Mediator confirms his mediation solution and ensures that it is implemented (when necessary) by the party concerned.
5. Claimant satisfaction
Whether requests are forwarded to the appropriate department or handled directly by the Mediation team, the Mediator is committed to ensuring that:
- All disputes have been correctly handled and resolved from the claimant’s point of view.
- Claimants are satisfied with the way in which their request has been handled.
The Mediator has consequently improved his satisfaction survey.
For all requests forwarded to the appropriate entity: within a week of claimants receiving a reply from customer services, the Mediator now asks them (by email or telephone) about the resolution of their problem: has the reply settled their dispute? Otherwise, the Mediator asks the customer whether they would like their request to be dealt with by the Mediation team.
As far as telephone surveys are concerned, the Mediator wanted such surveys to be carried out by an external provider to guarantee that respondents would give impartial answers. Following an invitation to tender, the Mediator selected a call centre company based in the north of France that satisfied his valued corporate social responsibility criteria.
A more extensive satisfaction survey was also carried out among claimants whose dispute had been handled by the Mediation team. This survey is also conducted by the Mediator by email or letter (when claimants do not have an email address) once the dispute has been closed.
The findings of both surveys are published in the Mediator’s annual report.
6. The Mediator’s annual report
- The Mediator received 4,301 requests from claimants in 2014.
- Of those requests, 4,102 were forwarded to the customer service departments of the different entities and subsidiaries concerned, and 199 were handled by the Mediator as the last form of amicable resolution.
- Once again, most of these requests were submitted by residential customers, but the Mediation team also dealt with new disputes, such as from suppliers of the Group’s entities and B2B customers of the service subsidiaries.
- In light of the information available during the first six months of the year, 2015 will follow the same trend as in 2014, i.e. a lower number of requests, but an increase in the number of disputes handled by the Mediator, especially after the Mediator’s scope of action was expanded to include entities that previously did not inform their customers and contacts of the possibility of alternative dispute resolution.
7. Review of the Mediation service’s 15-year history in four key stages
On 21 October 2014, the auditorium at the ENGIE Tower in La Défense played host to a mediation event 15 years after the Group appointed its first ever mediator. Two round-tables reviewed the Mediation service which, in the words of Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of ENGIE, had become “a necessity for our customers”.
8. A people-oriented service delivering effective solutions
“Our approach promotes alternative dispute resolution. Thanks to our work with energy suppliers and distributors, we can provide personalised, effective and fair solutions,” explains Jean-Pierre Hervé, the ENGIE Group’s Mediator. The mediation process has been instrumental in significantly improving the level of service: feel free to view the annual report, which contains details of all such improvements made and is available in both French and English.
9. Mediation’s European dimension
The ADR Directive (Alternative Dispute Resolution) was adopted in May 2013 and incorporated into French law in July 2015. Emmanuel Constans, Chairman of the Club of Public Service Mediators, insisted on the need for the Directive to “provide a strict definition of the measures to guarantee independence among mediators, with mediators appointed by an equally-represented board and given a renewable and irrevocable three-year mandate.” ADR will have an especially formal effect on ENGIE, according to the stakeholders who have claimed that ADR “bears testament to the EU’s growing interest in mediation covering all sectors.”
10. ENGIE’s objectives for forthcoming years
“We have set our ambitions high. We want to strengthen how we inform our customers about mediation. Continue dialogue with consumer organisations and mediators in France and Europe. Implement the ADR Directive. Extend the Mediation service to the 70 countries in which the Group does business and use the Mediator’s annual report as a driving force for improving our operational divisions,” concluded Jean-Pierre Hervé, the ENGIE Group’s Mediator since 1 July 2014.
About ENGIE Mediation
About the Club des Médiateurs