Energy provider Solarplicity banned from taking on new customers

Ofgem said the company needs to ‘get its house in order and provide a level of service that its customers expect’

Caitlin Morrison
Friday 22 February 2019 11:51
Comments
Renewable energy is making waves in Europe

Energy provider Solarplicity has been banned from taking on new customers due to its poor switching process and customer service.

Regulator Ofgem has imposed a three-month ban on the company, which will only be lifted if the firm “significantly improves”.

The watchdog said Solarplicity’s customer service “has been poor for a number of months”.

Between March and September last year there was an unacceptably high proportion of calls abandoned and unacceptably long call waiting times, Ofgem said.

Although call handling has improved, the regulator said it “has not seen the required improvements elsewhere”.

Measures Ofgem has recommended include ensuring customer contact channels are improved, managed and maintained, with queries and issues being resolved in a timely manner, and making sure the switching process goes smoothly, with switches completed within the required timescales.

Mary Starks, executive director of consumers and markets at Ofgem, said: “We have taken action against Solarplicity to protect its customers from experiencing further detriment.

“Solarplicity must get its house in order and provide a level of service that its customers expect. If not, Ofgem will take the necessary steps to ensure customers are further protected and will take the relevant action needed to do this, which may result in its licence being revoked.”

On Friday, Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home services, said: “Solarplicity finished rock bottom in our annual energy satisfaction survey, with scores of customers complaining about appalling customer service over the phone and online – so it’s right that the regulator is stepping in.

“As millions of energy customers brace themselves for yet another eye-watering set of price hikes, this should also serve as a warning to all firms letting their customers down with shoddy service, billing and payment problems or poor complaints handling that they need to up their game.”

A Solarplicity spokesperson said: “We are committed to meeting the expectations of every single Solarplicity customer, but Ofgem’s decision, which was made on old historical data, disregards the vast improvements that we have made to our customer service.

“In November, Which? rated us as the fastest energy company to respond to customer calls thanks to substantial additional investment in our staff and IT systems. This investment has also significantly strengthened our account switching service, and the vast majority of our customers are able to switch their accounts well within the 21 day limit.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in