About 260,000 customers of Co-operative Energy are due a collective £1.8 million in compensation following problems with the firm’s complaints handling and billing processes.
Energy regulator Ofgem first got involved with Co-op in June 2015 following a steep increase in customer complaints reported both to Ofgem and to charity Citizen’s Advice.
The issues, which were the result of the introduction of a new IT system in March 2015, included:
- Customers being unable to log into their accounts online, leaving them unable to submit meter readings or check their bill.
- Bills being delayed and direct debit updates stopped.
- New customers experienced a delay transferring to the supplier.
- It also took too long to resolve a significant number of customer complaints.
However, Ofgem says that, since then, Co-op has worked to restore customer service levels, while it also voluntarily withdrew from marketing activities to help focus on improving its services to its existing customers.
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Martin Crouch, Ofgem senior partner, says: “While customers experienced unacceptable levels of service, Co-operative Energy has done the right thing by taking responsibility for the situation and paying out compensation to those people affected.”
Am I due compensation?
About 260,000 Co-op customers affected by these issues will be paid compensation – there is no average amount; it purely depends on how severely you were impacted.
Ofgem says that £1.6 million of this money has already been paid in a process that began back in December 2015. The remainder is to be paid “shortly” to those customers not yet compensated.
Any money Co-op is unable to return to customers – for example, because that customer has since left the energy provider – will go to the charity StepChange to help energy consumers who are in financial difficulties.
Ben Reid, chief executive of Midcounties Co-operative, which Co-operative Energy is part of, says: “As the UK’s only member-owned energy supplier, we put our customers at the heart of everything we do and their interests first. We have apologised to those customers who were affected by the problems we experienced when we introduced a new IT system last year. The system issues are now resolved and we have made significant improvements to our service.”