Energy supplier Iresa has been banned by the regulator from taking on new customers until it resolves customer service issues.
Failure to do so could ultimately result in its licence being revoked.
Iresa has also been banned from increasing existing customers’ direct debits and from asking them for one-off payments for up to three months.
In addition, Ofgem has ordered Iresa to improve its customer service by:
- Extending call centre hours
- Bringing down average call waiting times to below five minutes
- Responding to customers who request a call back by the end of the next working day
- Responding to customer emails within five working days
- Clearing a backlog of consumer emails
- Logging and recording all expressions of customer dissatisfaction
- Acting to manage and identify all its vulnerable customers, including offering to put them on a priority services register
Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, comments: “This order sends out a very clear message to suppliers that where they fail their customers on service, Ofgem will step in and take strong action.
“It’s crucial that all suppliers provide customers with good service, including acting quickly and effectively to sort things out wherever problems occur.
“Iresa now needs to act quickly and put its house in order otherwise ultimately its licence could be revoked.”
Ofgem continues to run a separate longer-term investigation into the company.
Moneywise has contacted Iresa for a response and we will update this news story if we get one. However, on calling its customer services number, as the firm doesn’t appear to have a press office, we were number 59 in the queue.