Energy complaints rise by 224%
Complaints about energy firms more than tripled in the first quarter of 2014, compared to the same period last year, regulator Ofgem has revealed today.
In yet another sign of consumers' dissatisfaction with the Big Six energy firms, the watchdog said it received 10,638 complaints between January and March, compared to just 3,277 in the first quarter of 2013 - a rise of 224%.
More than 2,000 people complained about not receiving bills, 1,474 were concerned about their billing payments, while more than 1,000 were unhappy about the customer service they received.
During the whole of 2013, Ofgem received 17,690 complaints - a figure expected to be eclipsed substantially this year.
Frustration and dissatisfaction
Chief energy ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said: "Consumer frustration and dissatisfaction is something that we hear about every day, and we welcome any attempts by Ofgem to make the energy market fairer.
"With energy complaints trebling in the first quarter of this year and problems relating to billing the greatest concern, increased transparency is something that should be addressed."
A spokeswoman for Energy UK, the trade body that represents the industry, said: "Most customers have no problems with their energy company, but in an industry serving 27 million, occasionally things do go wrong.
"If a customer has any concerns relating to their bills, they should contact their provider as soon as they can, and if possible have an up-to-date meter reading to hand which will ensure their bill is as accurate as possible. Energy companies work very hard to resolve problems and most complaints are fixed within a few working days with no more than a phone call."
Last month, Ofgem said it was referred the energy market to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate whether it is working efficiently for customers.
If you’ve have a complaint about a financial service product you have bought but the company you bought it from refuses to resolve your problem after eight weeks, the Ombudsman can help. The Ombudsman will investigate and resolve the matter. The Ombudsman is independent and its service is free to consumers. The Ombudsman may find in the company’s favour but consumers don’t have accept its decision and are always free to go to court instead. But if they do accept an Ombudsman’s decision, it is binding both on them and on the business.