Meet the Isle of Man Energy team - Luke Purdy, head of service operations

Our engineers make around 10,000 home visits a year in the Isle of Man so they’re very much “the face” of Isle of Man Energy and really do care about their customers, always putting them first,’ says Luke Purdy, head of service operations.

Luke has first-hand customer-facing experience. ‘Some 12 years ago I started out as a gas engineer, going to customers’ houses to service their boilers and to respond to emergency calls, so I know how important it is to give good customer service…and the guys in my team recognise that importance, too,’ he says.

‘Our customers aren’t just an account number on a bill. For our engineers, customers are real people with real needs – perhaps in crisis if their heating’s failed – and our guys are there to help.

‘However, help isn’t just about fixing a boiler. Right now, it’s about being there for our customers to help them manage how they use energy in their home, to ensure their appliances are working at the optimum settings to provide comfort and maximum fuel efficiency.’

Luke says Isle of Man Energy is working to support the government’s net zero transition strategy. ‘I go to a lot of transition-themed events, but hand-in-hand with that, Isle of Man Energy is working with customers to see how we can help them right now. That’s our target. There’s new tech coming on to the market, but it’s still early stages: but there are things homeowners can do right now so they don’t waste energy. And that’s where our free energy reviews - comfort checks as we call them - can make a real difference. This is where one of our Energy Saving Trust-endorsed advisers will visit your home, review the settings on your appliances to ensure they’re working efficiently and help you to save energy and money.

‘A lot of people don’t realise there are small changes they can introduce that will make a positive difference to their energy consumption.  I always make a point of this when I give talks at community events, for example, because we recognise that – for some older people especially – getting to grips with energy-saving measures can be daunting. For all customers alike, the team and I stress that one of the best things you can do is to have really good home insulation. While it can be costly to install, it can bring very real long-term savings. Then there’s having your central heating system flushed out to rid it of sludge residue: sludge in the system is responsible for around 80 per cent of boiler breakdowns, and can make a boiler much less efficient…so getting rid of it can make a real difference.

‘Then there’s smart home technology for greater choice, control and efficiency, which allows you to manage your home heating via an app. Before the global energy crisis, fuel bills were perhaps less of a financial consideration, but that’s no longer the case. And that’s where smart technology can make such a difference. The technology’s developing all the time, but with the smart-home tech that’s available now, you could shave off an hour’s heating here and there without adversely affecting your comfort levels – and you’ll be managing your energy consumption more efficiently.  We sell smart home products from huge brands, like Hive and Tado, and you don’t even have to be a gas customer to buy them from us and use them – you can be on oil or even electric heating.

‘We’re always looking at the latest developments in technology and when the next generation of hybrid system boilers coming onto the market was pitched to us, that was a real “light bulb moment” for us. That’s the near future and that’s where the company wants to be. We’re on a huge learning curve in the energy industry. We know there are going to be great advances in technology and we have the skills to support that, by delivering lower carbon heating solutions and renewable energy options as we transition towards Net Zero. It’s fundamental to Isle of Man Energy that we’re able to help our customers to benefit from those developments, whatever fuel they use.

‘As part of becoming an energy services company, it was important that we became more accessible, so now we have a new website - - where customers can connect more easily with us, get energy advice and find out about the wide range of services we offer. We haven’t lost sight, though, of the importance many customers place on face-to-face contact, so we still operate a counter service at our Murdoch House headquarters, Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm.

‘As technology and the range of services we offer evolve, the guys in the team are spending a lot more of their time out in the community, so it’s great that they’re receiving so much positive feedback and praise from their customers.’

Staying with the community theme, Luke says: ‘Last year we supported the Salvation Army’s debt advisory service and this year we’ll be continuing to support them, along with Age Concern and Live at Home.

‘I know I speak for all the guys when I say ours is a very rewarding job – I always found that to be the case back when I was a gas engineer. You’re in someone’s home – often at a time when an appliance’s failed – so for the time that you’re with them you’re just about the most important person in their life and that’s a real privilege.

‘We may be part of a big company now, but the work my team of engineers do isn’t just about getting in and out of a customer’s home in the shortest time possible; it’s about providing a personal service and always putting the customer first.’

*this interview appeared on Gef – Isle of Man – News, Views, Local Must Do's