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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?

Comments
Member

I am in process of switching from e.on to Scottish Power, so it is good to see that SP are receiving fewer complaints. If they try to keep my account substantially in credit like e.on did, they can expect to receive complaints from me.

Member
Tony Webber says:
2 April 2013

I have been with Scottish Power for the last 4 years. I do check every year to see who is the most competive and so far it’s been Scottish Power. I have had no difficulty in contacting them (other than the accent) and they are quite helpful. Your web page gives you all the details you may wish to know i.e how much energy you have used compared to last year etc. I will check again with them at the end of my “fixed” price in May and compare to other Energy Companies as I have absolutely no loyalty to any of them. That includes my Car Insurance as well. It may take a bit of time but its worth it.

Member
ALAN says:
2 April 2013

We entered a contract with scot’ power in november 2012 . They were aware of our usage for both gas &electricity and we entered a fixed tarrif agreement . After just 3 months they sent an e mail saying that we were now so much in debit that they were going to put up our direct debit by 20 %.
I telephoned in replied . “That as this quarter is the heaviest quarter that it will balance out over the year”.The man I spoke to, was very pesitant that he would increase our direct debit ,I was equally persistant that he would not ,so much so that I threatend to close the d/d stright away he said that if at the end of the year we were in credit we would be entitled to a repayment of the over payment, I stated that we were not in the business of supplying an interest loan to a power company . In the end he agreed to leave it ,as I said we would just change suppliers.

Member
Steve Stroud says:
2 April 2013

I too was with Scottish Power (electricity only) who had a very competitive fixed term deal that ended in March 2013. But their replacement offerings both on variable term and fixed term rates were not competitive with others. When they wrote to me saying they wanted to keep me as a customer (after I’d arranged a switch using one of the price comparison sites) I replied that I would have stayed with them if they were competitive and suggested that as a loyalty bonus they could look back on my old contract and if I could have got a comparable deal at a better rate they could offer me a discount equal to the difference. That way I would know they would always have one of the best rates. Alas they didn’t think the idea had merit but admitted in their response that this time their rates (on electricity alone) were not the best! Moral of the story is always shop around.

Member
Carl says:
2 April 2013

I have been buying energy from npower and like Alan’s experience, npower tried to increase my monthly payment even though I was on a fixed price tariff. They first argued that my usage was likely to be higher since we were going into winter. My actual figures were almost identical to the previous year. I explained that the contract was for 18-months and based on annual usage figures. The price I would have to pay was based on those figures and that in spring usage would fall and balance out. My increase was around 24%. I refused to pay. They than tried again blaming the government who require energy suppliers to review customers usage every 6-months to ensure they do not get into debt. Even though npower promised any over payment would be returned at the end of the contract it is sharp practice and must be worth £m to energy company’s. It must stop. I have just switched to Ovi. I can only hope it is a more responsible company.

Member

I wonder if it is worth pushing for companies to allow customers who pay by direct debit to pay the actual amount they owe rather than some figure that may be too low but is usually in excess of the energy cost. I that is not practical, the customer should receive interest (or the energy supplier if the customer is in debit).

Member
Olechina says:
3 April 2013

The brief answer is ”They will”.
Sadly, the whole problem is the ‘direct debit’ system- which is an absolute boon to this type of trader- is that they can just dip into your bank account as if it’s a lucky dip. In the summer their charges are lower- that’s if we get some sunshine- in winter they’re obviously higher, often astronomically high particually in recent years.
The better system for us consumers was ‘bankers order’ which allowed a constant and equal charge to be levied each month of the year.
That charges are high goes without saying, what else would you expect following privitisation, and now the government uses the power companies as their collector of huge taxes, so called ‘green taxes’, for inflicting on us consumers all of those ghastly ‘alternatives’ that no-one likes or wants.
The tax levels now far exceed the ones previously proposed-17:5% vat- when there was such a revolt that the vat on fuel was kept to 5%. As always, they’ve found ways to rob us of more.

Member

i was and still am with npower i moved house but still owned the house i moved from and was still responsible for the gas and electricity bill but npower cancelled my account which i did not know so it built up and they were sending the bill to my old house as to the occupier and it ended up as over £500 i moved back to old house and got it sorted after about 5 months and now i have to pay a lot more a month to pay it off aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh