Bill disputes top energy-complaints listGas and electricity are chief complaints

18 January 2006

Gas and electricity bill disputes are the chief source of consumer complaints about energy companies, figures announced today show.

This was the only area which saw an increase in energy customer complaints last year, according to energy consumer body Energywatch . It received some 25,205 complaints about gas and electricity bills - up 1 per cent on 2004.

Billing disputes accounted for about two-thirds of all domestic complaints lodged with Energywatch. Chief Executive Allan Asher said companies were not recognising serious problems, and failing to address them.

'Energy companies can take no pride in these dismal figures. Bad billing piled on top of the price hikes in energy bills can only add to the winter blues for consumers.

'Companies continually argue that the numbers of complaints represent a small part of their consumer base. The fact that all other complaints to Energywatch are falling steadily, while billing issues remain obstinately high, puts the failure of companies in this area in sharp relief.'

Take meter readings

Complaints about direct selling and transfers from one company to another were the biggest areas of improvement last year.

Energywatch helps customers deal with disputes if they can't resolve problems with their energy suppliers.

Which? energy expert Cassie Smith advises consumers to take their own meter readings regularly. She said: 'This means you get bills based on actual usage rather than estimates. Also remember to check your bills carefully - if you spot an error contact your supplier in the first instance.'