Energy regulator Ofgem requires all companies to publish the amount of complaints that they receive from the September to September year by the end of October. Despite this fact, companies such as Scottish Power have not published any figures, even though many of the Big Six energy companies have seen their complaints increase over the course of the year.
A spokesman for Ofgem stated that the companies are required to publish the figures every year and that the regulator takes compliance in this matter seriously, and will be working hard to find out why companies have not released their figures yet.
Leading electricity and gas supplier EDF saw complaints against their services increase by almost 40% over the course of last year and British Gas also saw their complaints increase by about 33%. npower saw a slight increase in complaints of about 10% and SSE also experienced a small increase of 14%. Part of the reason for the increase may be poor customer service, which has resulted in British Gas and npower both receiving fines from Ofgem this year.
The regulator also conducted an investigation into npower and found that it did not properly record complaints issued by customers and did not offer satisfactory details to customers about how they could seek out the help of an Ombudsman if they were not happy with the way that their complaints were handled. As a result of the investigation the company received a £2m fine.
British Gas also received a £2.5 fine last year for not meeting the minimum standards when it came to handling their complaints from domestic and small business customers. This is the second year in a row that Scottish Power has not met the deadline to release their complaint figures which may be a bad sign for the company as when they finally did last year it was discovered they had the highest level of complaints out of the ‘Big Six’ power providers.
EDF attributed their increase in complaints to a new computer system that required the staff to be retrained and caused problems for a reasonable amount of time.
Energy watchdog Consumer Focus stated that some of the complaints data from the firms should not be trusted because customers are not aware enough about how complaints should be handled. The figures that are published are not standardised or checked and therefore there is not a clear way to judge how much they actually represent the overall type of energy complaints that a company receives.