Energy companies: soaring complaints mean they should be forced to play fair
personal finance editor
Wednesday 18 June 2014
Now that the warmer weather is here - or has at least popped out for a bit - it feels a bit odd to be complaining about energy suppliers.
But just because you and I may feel less concerned about heating costs for the next few months, doesn't mean that your energy company isn't still cocking things up.
In fact the Big Six firms are getting worse, according to shock new customer complaint figures published today by consumer group Which?.
The shaming numbers show that complaints to the Big Six companies - British Gas, EDF, E.on, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE - have reached the highest number in a single quarter since records began, climbing 15 per cent on the same time last year.
The firms received 1.7m complaints in the first quarter alone, with Npower the worst culprit. The company received 83 complaints for every 1,000 customers in the first quarter of this year - the highest number among the six companies and up from 49 complaints per 1,000 at the same time last year.
Npower admitted: “We have seen issues with our billing system”, but added: “in the past three weeks we have reduced our total complaints by 32 per cent as well as resolving 88 per cent of complaints within 24 hours.”
Energy UK - the industry's mouthpiece, responded to the figures by saying: “In an industry which serves 27m households, sometimes things can go wrong.”
That's true, things can go wrong. But after years of letting us all down, the gas and electricity companies have had plenty of time - and chances - to start getting things right. These latest figures show they are far from doing so.
In March the regulator Ofgem called for a full Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the energy industry on the back of fears that companies may be making excess profits and ripping off loyal customers.
Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said: “These figures are a damning indictment of a broken energy market.” She's absolutely right. Firms should be forced to play fair with customers.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
'Russian submarine spotted' by Swedish military off coast of Stockholm
Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
iJobs Money & Business
£18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...
£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....
£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...
£27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...