15th January 2014
Energy complaints information compiled by Consumer Futures shows that npower continues to receive the highest number of complaints (253.1)*, around eight times more than the best performing company, placing it bottom of the Big Six energy suppliers over the period July to September 2013.
The analysis was compiled with data from the Citizens Advice service, the Ombudsman Services: Energy and Consumer Futures’ Extra Help Unit (EHU).
SSE recorded the lowest rate of complaints on 32.3 ranking the supplier in first place, followed by Scottish Power (46.2)*, British Gas (55.0)*, E.ON (61.8)* and EDF Energy (74.2)* in fifth place.
Audrey Gallacher, Director of Energy at Consumer Futures says: “It’s very disappointing to see that since our last reporting period (April – June 2013), complaints about npower have increased from 202.5 to 253.1* – a rise of 25 per cent, keeping it at bottom place.
‘While npower has acknowledged and apologised for its poor billing systems and agreed to pay vulnerable customers who have been disadvantaged, its deterioration in performance is still wholly unacceptable and the company must address the failure of its systems, processes and customer service to put things right.
‘We expect Ofgem to monitor npower closely, so that any customers who have been a victim of poor billing practices will not lose out financially. And we expect npower to do all it can to identify and rectify such cases.
‘Energy companies have repeatedly said they want to rebuild consumer trust. Good customer service and complaints handling are key ingredients to achieving this and suppliers still have a long way to go. Along with price, good service is important to customers. People want to know the relative performance on complaint handling to help them make informed choices when deciding whether to switch.’
Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy says: “Rising energy bills are eating into people’s already stretched budgets, often consuming money that could have been spent on other daily essentials like food. With people paying such a high price to have a warm home or keep the lights on the service provided by energy companies should be exemplary, but all too often we’re finding that’s not the case. The findings from Consumer Futures should serve as a stark reminder to energy firms that there is much more for them to do in order to improve service and increase consumer trust.