Complaints about energy firms soar to highest ever level


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The Independent Online

Complaints about energy firms have soared to the highest number ever recorded in the first three months of this year with a 224 per cent rise on the first quarter of 2013, the energy sector’s ombudsman said.

Complaints trebled to 10,638 between January and March, compared with 3,277 received during the same period last year.

The numbers suggest that there will be more complaints overall in 2014, as there were 17,960 complaints made over a 12-month period last year.

A spokeswoman for the ombudsman said the “unbelievable” increase was due to greater pressures on families and individuals financially, which meant they were less willing to put up with poor service.

The latest figures come soon after regulator Ofgem said that it was referring the sector to the Competition and Markets Authority for a full-scale competition inquiry.

More than 2,000 consumers complained about not receiving bills, while 1,474 people made complaints about billing charges. More than 1,000 criticised customer service.

The Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said: “We welcome any attempts by Ofgem to make the energy market fairer,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the trade body Energy UK said: “Energy companies work very hard to resolve problems and most complaints are fixed within a few working days.”