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True scale of energy complaints revealed

New campaign launched to fix broken energy market

Fix the Big Six campaign

The true scale of complaints against energy firms is revealed today as Which? launches a new campaign to fix the broken energy market. 

The first full year of official figures from the six biggest energy companies reveals they collectively received more than 5.5 million complaints in 2013. 

Now we have launched an online petition for people to pledge their support to fix the broken energy market.

Most complained about energy firms

Last year, the biggest energy firms – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.On, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE – received a total of 5,579,665 complaints. 

These ranged from issues with bills, metering, customer service and switching, through to payment.

Npower received the most complaints out of all six of the biggest companies, with 1,383,650 complaints. 

It was followed by EDF with 1,240,005; British Gas with 1,235,550; Eon with 929,230; SSE with 482,582; and Scottish Power with 308,648 complaints.

Need to complain to your energy provider? Our expert guide on how to complain will help you get a result. 

New energy campaign 

These figures show the energy market is not working for its customers, particularly when the so-called Big Six firms account for 97% of the market.

So Which? is recommending six fixes for the broken energy market – calling on Government, the regulator, competition authorities and the energy companies to drive forward radical reforms:

  1. Increase competition: The OFT, Ofgem and the Competition & Markets Authority should refer the energy market for a full competition investigation
  2. Transparent trading: Energy companies’ supply and generation businesses should be separated
  3. People power: Simple pricing and swifter switching must be introduced
  4. Cost control: Costs added to consumers’ bills must be controlled, including the Carbon Floor Price, Energy Company Obligation and smart-meter roll-out
  5. Customer trust: Charges for not paying by direct debit must be cost reflective. Firms should not hold on to large amounts of customers’ cash. Customer service must be improved
  6. Warmer homes: The Government should overhaul the Green Deal to increase its appeal. Large repayment fees for those paying off a Green Deal loan early should be banned.

Which?’s Fix the Big Six campaign calls for an industry that works for customers as well as shareholders, where prices are kept as low as possible and people can trust companies to give them a good deal.

Find out which are the best and worst energy companies, as rated by their customers in our latest satisfaction survey.

Energy market “needs full scale inquiry”

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘Millions of people are unhappy with the service they receive from the suppliers which, combined with low levels of trust, is yet more evidence that more must be done to fix the broken energy market.

‘Next month we want the regulators to refer the energy market to the Competition and Markets Authority and launch a full scale inquiry. This is the first and most important step towards a more radical reform of the energy market, giving hard-pressed consumers the confidence that they are paying a fair price.’

More on this…

  • Cut your energy bill with our expert money-saving tips
  • Best Buy light bulbs will help save energy in your home
  • Energy policy reports from Which? explore the issues in more detail
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