Ofgem, the regulator for energy, has handed British Gas and npower stiff penalties for failing to improve their handling of complaints from their customers. The fines for two of the biggest energy companies in the UK total £4.5 million pounds, with British Gas getting the worst of it with £2.5 million.
An investigation by Which?, the independent advisors, found that the six biggest suppliers of UK energy received four million complaints last year. This is clearly too many, and Ofgem has been forced to act. They launched their own investigation and found that British Gas and npower have been two of the worst.
The fine for British Gas represents just 0.02% of company turnover, and must be paid before the 22nd February this year. The companies have had their chance to appeal, and were unsuccessful.
The Which? campaign for ‘Affordable Energy’ is pushing for Ofgem to be given more power, so that it can look closely at complaints by demanding the information directly from energy companies. If this data can then be made public, it will help consumers to compare suppliers directly, not just on charges but also on complaints; both the volume of complaints and how they are handled.