Energy giants told to improve complaints handlingNpower comes bottom in customer satisfaction poll
30 June 2009
A major survey published today has found dissatisfaction with the way gas and electricity suppliers deal with complaints from consumers.
Worst supplier was Npower, with just 16% of customers satisfied. Scottish & Southern Energy and Eon were joint best with 29% of customers satisfied, followed by Scottish Power (24%) and British Gas and EDF Energy (both 20%).
The poll of 2,700 energy customers by energy regulator Ofgem identified gripes with the attitude of customer service staff, failure to return calls and the number of times people had to contact their supplier in the course of a complaint.
Ofgem’s survey found ‘low levels’ of satisfaction with all suppliers – mirroring Which?’s utilities satisfaction survey published earlier this year – but the regulator said that some performed better than others.
Ofgem said it had written to the power giants reminding them of the importance of providing a high standard of service to customers. It also confirmed that it was investigating ‘concerns’ that EDF Energy had failed to comply with regulations requiring suppliers to record complaints properly.
The supplier said that it had taken action since the concerns were raised and was now ‘confident that all complaints are managed according to Ofgem’s guidelines'.
The chief executive of the Energy Retail Association, Gerry Felgate, responded to Ofgem’s findings with an assurance that suppliers were working to conform with regulations governing the handling of customer complaints.
‘Energy suppliers take any complaint extremely seriously,’ Mr Felgate said. ‘The new complaint handling arrangements were put in place less than a year ago and we have worked closely with Ofgem and consumer organisations to ensure that the process works in customers' best interests.’
‘We recognise that improvements can always be made and we look forward to working with Ofgem and consumer bodies to ensure any gaps are filled as quickly as possible,’ he added.
How to complain
Which? is campaigning for simpler energy bills – visit our energy campaign pages for more information and to email your MP.
People switching their gas and electricity to a dual fuel tariff through Which? Switch saved on average £257 on their annual energy bills last year. Which? Switch also features the results of the Which? Utilities Satisfaction Survey – giving a picture of how customers rate their energy suppliers' service.
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