Energy complaints rise by 224%

Red bulb

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.

Compare energy prices and switch provider

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.

More about

Your Comments

I have been with Co-operative Energy since August 2011 and they WERE good to start with, but have increased my direct debit twice and wanted to increase it from £95 to £214 but I said no.   We agreed on £110 and now coming into spring and summer I have a credit on my account of £203.   I have decided to change to Ovo Energy where with my history they have quoted me £79 per month.   I shall see what Co-op Energy say and if Ovo start putting up the direct debits to some barmy level I will change again.

You need not   worry about ending up heavily in credit with OVO because they pay you 3% on the credit: a lot more than Building Societies and banks on savings accounts.  The paper tigers that are supposed to regulate the energy industries should be imposing interest payments on those profiteering slobs among the big 5 instead of pathetically moaning and whinging as an alternative to taking actions to protect the public. It's we the consumers that are entitled to whinge.  The Government-created agencies, such as OffGas, are supposed to do something about it, not just collect from the tax-payers, their fat overpaid salaries.