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Big rise in energy firm complaints

Complaints up by nearly a quarter as billing tops the list
Energy complaints

Customer complaints about energy firms leapt by almost a quarter last year, the Energy Ombudsman has said.

Grievances by consumers jumped by 23% to 65,168 last year, compared with 52,937 in 2014, according to the independent adjudicator of disputes between the energy industry and its customers.

The Energy Ombudsman investigates serious complaints between customers and suppliers, where both sides have been in dispute for more than eight weeks and have reached deadlock.

Find out how to make an effective energy complaint.

Billing and switching top the problem list

Billing continues to be the most common problem, accounting for 83% of complaints in 2015. Late and inaccurate domestic bills were recurrent issues.

Customers who had problems switching either suppliers or tariffs accounted for 9% of grievances.

Chief ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said: ‘Energy complaints rose by nearly a quarter over the course of last year as customers continue to be more vocal about their discontent with suppliers.

‘We encourage anyone experiencing an ongoing issue to speak to us.’

Scottish Power and Npower most complained about

Annual breakdowns of complaints by firms will be made available next month by the Energy Ombudsman.

However, in the third quarter of last year, the body said Scottish Power received the most complaints, totalling 4,554 – up 27% from the previous quarter.

Npower came second, with complaints rising by 24% to 3,581, while British Gas was third with 1,305 complaints, a 1% fall on the second quarter of last year.

Which? survey of best energy firms

Last week Which? published its annual survey on energy supplier customer satisfaction. The survey revealed that smaller energy firms score more highly than British Gas, Eon, EDF Energy, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE – which all end up at the bottom of the table.

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