Scottish Power and Npower complaints double in three months
Npower firmly rooted to the bottom of the complaints table
Simon Read is Personal Finance Editor at The Independent. He edits the Saturday Your Money section and writes the Daily Money column and Wednesday’s Midweek Money section in i newspaper. He also writes for the news and business pages of the Independent and i newspaper and is a regular money commentator on TV station London Live. He has won numerous awards including Consumer Finance Journalist of the Year.
Thursday 10 July 2014
The number of complaints made about energy giants Npower and Scottish Power has doubled in three months.
But while the average number of complaints per 100,000 customers of the Big Six firms stands at 151, at Npower the figure is four times that, leaving it firmly rooted to the bottom of the complaints table.
The figures published by charity Citizens Advice reveal that one in every 169 nPower customers felt forced to complain in the three months to the end of March.
At Scottish Power, the fifth-worst company in terms of complaints, one in 506 customers complained.
The doubling in the number of fed-up customers is because both companies introduced new billing systems which had major teething problems. As a result many bills arrived very late, often leaving people having to find suddenly hundreds or thousands of pounds to cover the cost.
“The knock-on effect of poor billing systems can turn household budgets upside down,” said Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy. “Many people do not have the spare cash to cover the cost of a large bill that suddenly lands on their doorstep.”
Ofgem has launched an investigation into Npower’s billing problems while the company has agreed to write off outstanding payments for vulnerable customers who receive Warm Home Discount who have not had a bill for six months. “Npower needs to do more to stop consumers’ problems escalating,” said Ms Guy.
Today’s figures show complaints about all suppliers have increased. “That’s concerning,” said Ms Guy. “Suppliers must show they understand what consumers need, recognise the financial pressures many people are under and are able to sort out problems quickly.”
Npower customers who have received a late bill can contact the supplier on 0800 9759065.
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