Complaints against Big Six energy firms multiply

Complaints against Big Six suppliers have gone up markedly according to a new league table released by Consumer Futures. The consumer body has assessed suppliers with “weightings” which reflect how […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Complaints against Big Six suppliers have gone up markedly according to a new league table released by Consumer Futures.

The consumer body has assessed suppliers with “weightings” which reflect how serious the complaint is and the time and effort spent by the customer to get their problem resolved.

The weightings put greater emphasis on situations where the consumer has had to repeatedly contact their supplier or another agency because the company has failed to deal with their problem.

In the table, supplier npower fared the worst with the number of complaints more than doubling since a year ago.

Getting the highest number of complaints out of all the suppliers it had a score of 205.5, around five times more than its best performing rival over the period April to June 2013.

Top of the table was SSE with the lowest rate of complaints (38.3), closely followed by Scottish Power (41).

British Gas (55.5) and E.ON (59.9) were the next while EDF Energy (75.5) came in fifth place.

Audrey Gallacher, Director of Energy at Consumer Futures said: “Complaints about npower over recent months put it in bottom place. The company is implementing system changes that inevitably caused disruption to customers, however its complaints performance is unacceptable and the company must take further steps to tackle this.”

The Citizens Advice service deals with 90,000 energy problems each year and it contributed data to the new study.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: “People are being hit with large back bills, find their bill unclear and direct debit customers are frustrated companies are holding onto their money when they’re in credit. Energy companies need to put customers first and be much more transparent about where they make their profits.”

The supplier npower pinned blame for its low performance on a new computer system.

Roger Hattam, Domestic Retail Business Director for npower said: “We know that some of our customers have not had the service they deserve. We’ve had some challenges with a new computer system and we’re sorry that this has caused problems for customers. I want to reassure them that we’re working very hard and making progress in ensuring that these issues are resolved as quickly as possible.”