Energy Suppliers Ordered to Improve Customer Service
Eleven of the biggest energy providers in the UK have recently been instructed to improve their internal customer complaints procedures by Ofgem. Ofgem is the country’s energy industry regulator.
The country’s energy industry regulator, Ofgem, said they had four actual compliance cases open. They had asked the remaining seven of the eleven named suppliers to improve how they handled their customer complaints.
Ofgem Investigating Customer Complaints
The amount of companies identified as needing to improve their procedures related to customer complaints has massively increased since the last time Ofgem carried out a complaint handling survey two years ago. Back in 2016, only two companies were singled out for criticism related to their customer service performance.
The four compliance cases currently being undertaken by Ofgem include cases against energy providers Utilita, First Utility and Ovo Energy. All are related to alleged poor handling of their customers’ complaints. Scottish Power are the fourth with a compliance case open against them. This is again in relation to how they dealt with the grievances of their customers.
The seven other companies identified as needing to improve their customer complaints procedures include Npower and SSE, who are due to merge into one company at some point during the first quarter of 2019 (according to current projections). The others are EDF Energy, Utility Warehouse, E.ON Energy and Co-operative Energy, as well as the UK’s largest energy supplier, British Gas.
All of these energy suppliers have been urged to come up with outlines for how they intend to improve the way they handle customer complaints.
Energy UK Says ‘Overall Performances’ Are Improving
The British energy trade association Energy UK has been working with the industry and Ofgem to see if the regulations currently governing the complaints handling procedures can be updated and improved.
The Chief Executive of Energy UK is Lawrence Slade. Mr Slade believes that the ‘overall performance’ of energy providers dealing with their customer’s problems is actually improving. This is despite the increase in the number of suppliers singled out for criticism by Ofgem.
Mr Slade says overall complaints have actually decreased. He used Ofgem’s own reports as evidence. These reports reveal that the overall number of complaints has almost halved over the last four years. Mr Slade added,
“Also, given that the majority of complaints arise from billing issues, the continuing roll-out of smart meters which ensure accurate and up-to-date bills, will help reduce this number further still.”
Number of Complaints ‘Unacceptably Low’
The number of customers who complained about their energy supplier this year was over 3,000. 57% of respondents to Ofgem’s survey dissatisfied with how their complaint was handled. Ofgem’s Chief Executive, Dermot Nolan, believes this figure is simply not good enough.
Furthermore Mr Nolan said,
“Although the level of satisfaction about complaint handling has increased over the past two years, however it is still unacceptably low.”
Many industry experts agree. Some even citing that it is not acceptable that only a third of customers were happy with how their complaints were handled. Others believe that Ofgem’s net should be widened to include all of the smaller and newer energy suppliers.
If you are concerned about your energy provider’s complaints procedure or simply want to learn more about the different energy supplier options and tariffs available for your business, get in touch with Business Save’s team of highly experienced energy experts.