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Energy Ombudsman complaints hit new high

Vast majority of complaints found in consumers' favour

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A staggering 96% of complaints resolved by the Energy Ombudsman last year resulted in an award to consumers, far exceeding other sectors.

The figures reveal that more consumers are taking action against poor service, with a growing awareness that you have somewhere to turn if things go wrong.

These statistics follow a turbulent year for the energy industry, with mounting consumer dissatisfaction, market investigations and sanctions imposed by industry watchdog Ofgem.

Whether you’re being overcharged or there are problems with your meter, you can use our advice to solve your energy supplier problems.

More upheld complaints

The statistics, which are published in the Ombudsman’s latest annual report, cover April 2014 to March 2015 and show a record level of dissatisfaction with the energy industry.

The Ombudsman tackled 61,019 cases – compared with 26,760 in 2013/14.

Almost 9 in 10 complaints referred to the Ombudsman involved billing issues, with bungled supplier transfers and misleading sales contributing to most of the other complaints.

Outcomes included the removal of incorrect charges, a full explanation of the issue, an apology and financial awards.

The highest financial award that the Ombudsman can make is up to £10,000, but awards of around £100 are far more common.

The Ombudsman Services consumer action monitor found energy to be the third most complained-about sector in the UK, with 7.3m complaints recorded in 2014, after retail (18.5m) and telecoms (9.9m).

Ombudsman decisions

Once the Ombudsman has investigated your complaint, it can tell the company to do one or a combination of the following:

  • explain why it treated you the way it did
  • apologise
  • change its practices or procedures to make sure that what happened to you doesn’t happen to other people in future
  • pay you a certain amount of compensation.

If an ombudsman receives lots of complaints on similar issues, it can ask an organisation or government department to review or change the way it works, which will improve things for other people. 

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