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.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...