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Does your energy supplier top the complaints league table?

An angry slice of toast

We called for energy supplier complaints data to be made public and Ofgem listened. Now that the figures are available, you can see how the companies compare. Have you ever complained to your energy supplier?

Last year we campaigned for the major energy suppliers to share information about the complaints they receive from their customers. Ofgem intervened and now these suppliers have to publish regular figures on their websites.

We pulled the figures together to compare the major suppliers and find out who gets the most complaints.

Harnessing the energy of 1.4m complaints

It seems to me that lots of people grumble about their energy suppliers, but I always wondered how many actually complained to them. Now I can see that in the last quarter of 2012, EDF Energy received the highest number of complaints – 440,317 in fact. Between them, the six major energy suppliers received more than 1.4m complaints in just three months!

Energy complaints table

There’s a big difference between the companies at the top and bottom of the table (see the image on the left). EDF had 81 complaints per 1,000 customers, while Scottish Power and SSE had 14. I hope that the extra visibility of this data will put pressure on the energy suppliers to compete on customer service.

Of course, it’s not all about the major suppliers; some of the smaller energy companies share their complaints data too. Good Energy has topped our customer satisfaction survey for the last two years, and I noticed that it shares this data with its customers online. I also spotted that Ecotricity’s website has a detailed account of its customer complaints.

Are you surprised by how many complaints your energy company receives? Is your supplier good at dealing with your complaints?

Phil says:
3 April 2013

Npower have, without notifying me, increased my DD from £111 to £358 monthly after their agent misreading my electric meter by over a 1,000 + units in October. Only discovered this recently.

Register type Last reading date Submitted by Reading
Credit Meter 24 hours 01/03/2013 Customer 65920
Credit Meter 24 hours 11/10/2012 npower 66976

Resulted in £1308.07 in credit but caused a £20 overdraft fee at my bank. I have supplied numerous accurate readings including photos of my meter, lodged several complaints on their website, plus emails, as well as requested that our direct debit be substantially reduced if they continue to hold our money. No response or apology. Terrible service.

I would be inclined to instruct the bank to cancel the DD and wait for nPower to take action. It would be interesting to know what action nPower takes.

Obviously you would need to keep a check on your meters to ensure that you do not run into debit.

Best of luck.

Phil says:
3 April 2013

Yes, working on that and keeping an eye on them. Now also doing regular readings ourselves as we don’t trust them

Do let us know how you get on, Phil. I’ve been in a similar position myself, though it was due to my mistake – thanks to the fact that my late parents’ house had electricity supplied by a gas company or vice versa. I eventually gave up my attempts to get a refund because I was upset at the time.

Michael says:
3 April 2013

I have been with Coop energy since last year and find their simple billing system enables me to work out the bill at any time.

Sue says:
3 April 2013

I give British Gas my meter readings every month and they work out how much I owe and take it by direct debit so it is like “pay as you go” so I am always up to date unlike two other suppliers who told me my monthly payment would be x-amount only to find in both cases I owed them over £200.00 at the end of the year.

Nick says:
3 April 2013

I am disabled following a brain injury and had switched to Npower the month before the accident.

For the first year it seemed everything was OK then suddenly I received a bill for £1500 from my previous supplier British Gas for a couple of days usage. After checking that they were using a wrong meter reading I repeatedly refused to pay. I had a year of harassment before after writing the CEO and Finance Director of the parent company Centrica and with a copy alleging fraud to their external auditors the continual harassment stopped.

I then had cause to complain to Npower after they had not billed me the rates they had emailed me I would be paying . After at least 50 emails from me and having got nowhere I complained to the Energy Ombudsman who after 2 years agreed that they were wrong and should repay me. The Energy Ombudsman refused to demand any compensation for the 50 emails and continual harassment which was caused by npower incorrectly misreading my gas meter.

Since then I have had to spend hundreds of hours reconciling my accounts and discovered to my horror that after a further 40 emails that Npower have issued 6 secret bills and never ever informing me of these. It was only after repeated requests for explanations from their so called Executive Complaints, that I discovered the missing bills.

Now I have all the bills I have also discovered that Npower have repeatedly billed me according to their estimates and never according to my meter readings which mean significantly lower prices.

A year ago I asked for a repayment of the substantial credit I have built up which is over £1000. Every annual discount I have had to insist they pay and credit to my account which at £115 per annum is not insubstantial.

All npower do is either refuse to answer and or write rubbish which is because their staff are not professionals (I am an accountant and MBA and have never come across this level of incompetence and failure to comply with contract law.

I would strongly recommend everyone avoid Npower as they simply have absolutely no morality and have never offered a penny in compensation for all the emails and hard work I have done to prove they have substantially overbilled me in these 6 secret bills.

Try to get them to act is impossible and to even show an ounce of compassion is clearly beyond their staff who seem trained simply to lie and lie and refuse to deal with valid complaints.

I have never come across an organisation of this size which operates so questionably and with this level of repeated incompetence…

What is worse is that the Energy Ombusdman does nothing and it is quite clear that my repeated requests they apply the law (on contract and harassment as detailed in Which in several recent landmark cases) is ignored. The Energy Ombudsman is also useless and simply toothless and clearly a poodle in the pockets of npower as staff at npower have told me weeks before the Energy Ombudsman wrote to me that the Ombudsman would offer nothing for the constant harassment for over a year and offer not one penny for having to write the emails (in total over 90) to npower’s so called Executive Complaints section .

Having decided to switch from e.on to Scottish Power I recently received a call from e.on, asking me to reconsider, and did so at least three times. I explained that the reason I was changing was that I had registered with a collective switching scheme and that a comparison website had confirmed that the deal was better than anything else on offer.

The caller from e.on said that information provided by comparison websites is not up-to-date, so I suggested that the answer might be to provide them with current information.

I complimented e.on for their clear billing and for being very responsive to my calls about being kept with a large credit balance at most times, and pointed out that their failure to address this problem was main reason for dissatisfaction with their service. I said that I would review energy prices in future and might return as a customer if at that time they offered a better deal.

Now I have had a letter from e.on, urging me to reconsider leaving them. I rang up and said that I do not want to receive any more correspondence and if they ignore that it is unlikely that I will consider using e.on in future.

Let me have my final bill please, e.on. Stop wasting customers’ money trying to regain customers that have left for good reasons.