Ofgem has decided to launch an investigation into the complaints and late billing issues that have been plaguing Npower for months. This news comes in the same week that Which? revealed that Npower received the highest number of customer complaints out of all the big six energy suppliers during the first three months of 2014.
Npower has not managed to achieve the progress expected, dealing with its 400,000 outstanding bills and unsatisfactory complaints handling. Customers will be pleased to hear that the energy regulator will be taking charge, enforcing penalties and restrictions if Npower doesn’t clean up its act.
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Quarterly number of complaints received by the major six energy suppliers (per 1,000 customers)
Npower sales to be restricted if targets aren’t met
Currently Npower needs to reduce the number of outstanding bills to 350,000 by the end of June, 200,000 by the end of July and 100,000 by the end of August 2014. It has employed an extra 650 members of staff since December 2013 to ensure that it reaches these goals.
If Npower doesn’t reach these targets, Ofgem will stop all telesales Npower makes, which represent one of the energy supplier’s most important channels for sales.
New Standards of Conduct to help fix the broken energy market
This investigation, the first to be launched under Ofgem’s new Standards of Conduct, will also closely examine Npower’s customer service. If it appears that Npower has failed to provide consumers with adequate customer service, it could be faced with a hefty fine or be required to compensate its customers. Npower has pledged to invest another £20m in 2014 to help sort out these issues.
Which? Executive Director, Richard Lloyd, stated ‘Npower is consistently the worst for consumer satisfaction and this week topped the list for customer complaints, so Ofgem is right to take tough action. It is completely unacceptable for energy companies to neglect the basics of customer service. If they are unable to look after their existing customers then clearly they have no right to new ones.’
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