How to complain about energy price rises

Read our advice on how to make a complaint if your energy supplier puts up its prices and tries to charge you an exit fee when you're not on a fixed contract.

1 Contact your supplier

If you’ve got a complaint about your energy company you should complain directly to your supplier first.

Unless it’s a really simple problem, you should put your complaint in writing – either in a letter or by email.

Keep a copy of everything you send to your supplier, including energy bills, and note when you sent them.

In summary

  • If your energy supplier puts up its prices and you're not on a fixed contract, you have the right to exit the contract without penalty
  • Energy suppliers have a set time limit in which to resolve most complaints, which is eight weeks, after which you can take your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman
  • The Ombudsman Service is free to use, and can award up to £5,000 in financial compensation

2 Deadlock with your supplier

A deadlock situation means you’ve been through your energy company’s complaints procedure and reached a point where your supplier says they can do nothing more to produce a satisfactory solution.

Energy suppliers have a set time limit in which to resolve most complaints. This time limit is eight weeks.

If your complaint reaches a deadlock situation, you can then refer your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.

3 Refer to Energy Ombudsman

You must send your claim to the ombudsman within nine months of submitting the original complaint to your energy supplier.

The Ombudsman Service is independent and free to use. The ombudsman has the power to decide what action should be taken and can force an energy supplier to take action.

This could be some practical steps to sort out your problem, an apology, explanation, or compensation.

The ombudsman can award up to £10,000 to put a problem right, but most awards are less than £100.

It's worth noting that the ombudsman can't deal with commercial decisions made by an energy company about whether to provide a product or service, or the terms under which they may be provided. This includes price rises.

The ombudsman has an online form you can use to complain.  

4 Contact Ofgem

If your supplier tries to charge you an exit fee or says you will have to pay the higher rates until your switch goes through, then as well as referring your complaint to the ombudsman you could also bring it to the attention of the energy regulator, Ofgem.

In complaining, you should refer your supplier to Ofgem’s Standard Licence Conditions 23 and 24.

These conditions set out the rules that energy companies must follow in relation to price increases and termination fees. 

5 Complaining in Northern Ireland

Consumer complaints about energy suppliers are dealt with by the Consumer Council in Belfast. The Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation is the energy regulator in Northern Ireland.

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