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Energy complaints: Companies must take action

Complaints handling still needs improvement

Woman with bill

Large energy suppliers are seeing a steady improvement in customer satisfaction, but further action is required, according to the latest complaints data from Ofgem.

A recent survey by Ofgem, the energy regulator, shows that two in five energy customers who have complained to their energy supplier are satisfied with the way that their complaint was handled. 

However, around half of respondents remained ‘quite’ or ‘very’ dissatisfied with the way their complaint was dealt with.

Compensation for energy complaints

Which? research last year highlighted that people could be losing out on up to £4m per year in unclaimed compensation for energy problems.

Executive director of Which?, Richard Lloyd, said: ‘When we surveyed energy customers last year, we found that many people had experienced a problem but didn’t complain, so could have missed out on compensation.

‘It is important that dissatisfied customers complain directly to their supplier first. But if your supplier doesn’t sort the problem out, it’s worth contacting the energy ombudsman. The vast majority of complaints it receives are upheld, with an average compensation payout of £125.’

You can find out how to complain about your energy supplier in our consumer rights guide. 

Energy company complaints

Ofgem surveyed more than 3,000 people about how their complaints had been handled by their energy company. The companies show clear improvement since the last survey in 2012, where only one in four people was ‘satisfied’ with the way the company had handled their complaint.

Of the major energy suppliers, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Scottish Power top the tables in the most recent survey, with the highest levels of customer satisfaction. EDF Energy has the highest proportion of customers dissatisfied with the way their complaints have been handled.

How could they improve?

Ofgem is calling on energy companies to review the survey and see how they could better handle complaints. This could include:

  • taking a proactive approach to solving complaints
  • giving staff the ability to deal with complaints there and then
  • improving the areas that are most often complained about

When Which? investigated energy complaints in January 2012, the most common problems reported included billing and meter problems, inaccurate meter readings and missing bills. 

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