Four million complained to Big Six

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The Independent Online

Home energy users may be missing out on millions of pounds of unclaimed compensation every year.

Research from Which? published today reveals that the six major energy suppliers received more than four million customer complaints last year. The most common problems reported related to billing and meters, including mistakes on bills, missing bills and inaccurate meter readings.

However, nine out of 10 people with complaints unresolved by the energy firms did not take their problem to the energy ombudsman. By failing to do so, customers are missing out on potential compensation payments, which would have topped £4m in 2011, according to Which?

Gas and electricity users can take a complaint to the energy ombudsman, but only if it remains unsolved after eight weeks or the supplier sends a letter saying it can do no more. The majority of complaints received by the ombudsman are upheld, with 70 per cent being paid an average of £125 in compensation. Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, said: "These findings reveal shockingly high levels of complaints and low levels of customer satisfaction in the energy industry, at a time when domestic bills have gone through the roof."

In the annual satisfaction survey, the big six energy firms were all rated poorly by customers. Npower took the wooden spoon, with only 41 per cent of its customers expressing satisfaction. EDF Energy at 43 per cent and Scottish Power at 44 per cent did little better, while E.ON and British Gas got 47 per cent and SSE 51 per cent.

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