Npower was ordered to pay a fine of £26m, by the energy regulator Ofgem, for failing to treat its customers fairly over bills and complaints.
The problems affected 500,000 consumers, some of whom received inaccurate bills with little or no detail about how these were calculated.
Npower customers also made over two million complaints, mostly about late or inaccurate bills, which Npower then failed to deal with. It also pursued debts even where these were disputed.
The money will be divided between some of the worst affected customers and charity. If you’re an Npower customer you don’t need to do anything as Npower will contact the worst affected.
If you’re an Npower customer who wants to switch, check our independent comparison website Which? Switch.
Which? response to Npower fine
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd said:
‘Ofgem is right to dish out a hefty fine as npower has clearly failed its customers. Time and again we’ve found the biggest suppliers aren’t getting the basics right on customer service.
‘Energy suppliers must up their efforts to treat their customers fairly by providing better customer service and fairer pricing.’
Npower IT failures
Ofgem said that many of the problems started when Npower introduced a new IT system in 2011. This led to it logging complaints incorrectly, such as logging them as resolved when they weren’t or creating multiple entries for the same problem.
Ofgem said that since its intervention, Npower’s performance has improved, however, it also said that it must continue to do better.
Energy company fines
Npower is not the only company which has been fined by Ofgem for failing its customers. EDF Energy agreed to pay £3m to Citizens Advice in 2014 after Ofgem found it had breached standards for handling customer complaints and Eon was ordered to pay £7.75m to Citizens Advice in April 2015, for overcharging customers who left.
As part of our Fair Energy Pricing Campaign, we’re calling for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to recommend suppliers introduce simple pricing. Over 350,000 people have signed our petition. You can help, too – join the campaign for Fair Energy Prices.