Power to the People, BBC4 - TV review: an insight into the workings of one of the most loathed industries in the UK

When good news came that the company would be cutting prices, the staff looked blank

Daisy Wyatt
Wednesday 02 December 2015 00:01
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Power to the People, BBC4
Power to the People, BBC4

Energy “fat cats” are less popular than bankers and estate agents in Britain, so what better subject for a fly-on-the-wall documentary series? The final episode of Power to the People followed the customer services team at SSE, one of the big six energy companies, as it desperately tries to turn its image around following a series of PR disasters.

The energy giant is headed up by CEO Alistair Phillips-Davies, who denied being posh while admitting to staff that he enjoyed a spot of golf and cooking monkfish of an evening. Put in charge of revamping SSE's image, the former Disney marketing manager Will Morris was seen defending the company's profits to Parliament after talking to camera in a first-class Virgin Trains seat.

As SSE bigwigs tried to explain why its prices had risen because of levies imposed at wholesale, the staff struggled to pass the information on to numerous customers swearing down the phone. When good news came that the company would be cutting prices, the staff looked blank. Forget passing on savings to the customer, it seemed doubtful SSE was passing on any employee perks to its exhausted frontline staff.

The documentary made for a fascinating insight into the inner workings of one of the most loathed industries in the UK.

The series finale, at the very least, should have been broadcast on big sister channel BBC2 to allow more people to gasp and tut at it.

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