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ENERGY

Danish energy provider temporarily shuts off phone lines as thousands call in

Danish energy provider Andel Energi on Friday switched off its incoming phone lines, saying that it was unable to cope with an extremely high volume of customers trying to get in touch.

Danish energy provider temporarily shuts off phone lines as thousands call in
Which provider works best for you? Photo by Jae Park on Unsplash

If you’ve been struggling to get through to Andel Energi with a question about your bill, you’re in good company. The energy firm on Friday closed its phone lines because of a long queue of callers.

The company said it had decided to switch off its phone lines on days when the number of calls exceeds a certain level.

Under normal services, the company’s phone line is open from Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4pm, according to its website.

“We open our phone lines every morning as we usually do. We then answer all the calls we’re able to. We’re geared up to answer 4,500 customers a day, but at the moment we’re getting over 2,000 calls an hour,” Andel Energi’s press officer Rasmus Avnskjold told newswire Ritzau. 

“That means that when we open the phone lines every morning a queue builds up and almost everyone chooses the option to be called back when there’s an available member of staff,” he said.

Most callers are given the opportunity to request a ‘callback’ when a representative is available so they don’t spend hours on hold, and when that queue stretches past what Andel Energi figures they can handle in a day the line is closed, Avnskjold explained.

Customers are asked to call back the following day. 

A message was posted on the company’s website between Friday and Sunday stating that telephone lines were closed because maximum capacity had been reached.

According to Ritzau, the message could give the impression that the company had switched off its phones permanently. This is not the case, Avnskjold confirmed.

“We start afresh every day. The reason we close access to queues is to be able to cope with the many incoming calls on the same day. So we empty the queue each day,” he said.

The large number of calls received by Andel Energi is due in no small part to a winter aid package passed by Parliament on Friday. Companies are responsible for administration of a ‘price freeze’ scheme mandated in the political deal, which will allow customers to pay excess bills back over the next several years. 

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Andel Energi has around 1.2 million customers and considers itself to be Denmark’s largest energy company.

Several other Danish energy companies have hired extra staff in recent months, business media Finans reported on Friday.

Companies are being contacted by customers more often because of the energy situation in general, new payment options offered by companies and the new payment scheme announced by the government on Friday.

The government scheme takes effect from November 1st.

“We are in an extraordinary situation in which people are quite rightly more interested in their energy bills than they normally are, and that means more calls,” Avnskjold said.

“We are in the process of hiring and will continue to do that, but there is a training period before new staff can go in and answer calls,” he said.

Editor’s note: this article previously stated Andel Energi had switched off its phone lines on a Sunday. In fact, the company’s phone lines are normally open on weekdays only and the decision to stop incoming calls was made on a Friday. The error has been corrected.

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ENERGY

Danish Energy Agency advises homes with gas heating to conserve

The Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen) has issued guidelines to households heated by individual gas heaters in a bid to help them avoid very high bills.

Danish Energy Agency advises homes with gas heating to conserve

Around 240,000 households in Denmark will receive advice from the agency by physical or digital post, the agency said in a statement on Friday.

Gas prices in Denmark are currently rising as temperatures drop and energy production from wind turbines falls due to weather conditions.

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“The Danish Energy Agency views it as an important task to help people like those with individual gas heaters [Danish: gasfyr] through good advice about how they best can reduce their heating consumption and take the worst off their gas bill,” head of office Vincent Rudnicki said in the statement.

The information letters are part of a national energy saving campaign which seeks to cut energy consumption during a period when prices can go through large variations.

When gas prices reached their 2022 peak in August, one megawatt hour of gas cost over 300 euros according to the Dutch exchange TTF.

At the beginning of December, the price has increased to 131 euros per megawatt hour after going through a period with lower prices during the autumn.

Although the price remains low compared to August, it is higher than it was two years ago, according to comments previously given to news wire Ritzau by Sydbank’s senior economist Søren Kristensen.

Kristensen said that the cost of heating a housing in Denmark is now 10,000 kroner per year higher on average than it was in the years prior to the energy crisis.

He also said that the winter is likely to push prices up from their current level.

“That will unfortunately mean that it will in no way be a cheap winter in relation to heating up the house or using electricity,” he said.

The Danish Energy Agency information letter will be sent to persons who own single-family houses which are heated by natural gas heaters, according to information stored on the national register BBR (Bygnings- og Boligregistret).

“At this time we have particular focus on those who live in villas or semi-detached houses because they have seen the largest of all the gas bill increases,” Rudnicki said.

In some cases, persons who no longer have gas heating will receive the letter if the BBR registry has not been updated, he noted.

Advice included in the information packs includes reducing temperature, using less hot water and having gas boilers services.

The saving tips may also be relevant for people who live in other types of housing, such as apartments, rental houses or terraced houses, according to the Energy Agency.

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