Every quarter, we produce data sheets which show the number of complaints we receive and the complaints we handle. These are produced for the energy sector as a whole, and for the 10 largest energy suppliers (based on market share figures). Occasionally, we include smaller suppliers with an increase in complaints during the reporting period. Our data publication is based on the number of complaints a supplier receives per 100,000 consumer accounts.
We also provide data to Ofgem and Citizens Advice, which they include in a ‘basket’ of data that is published quarterly.
Before using our service, a consumer must first raise a complaint with the energy company, to give it an opportunity to resolve the issue. If the complaint isn’t resolved in eight weeks or a deadlock letter is issued, we may then be able to accept the complaint for investigation if it falls within our scheme rules. This means that we may only see a small percentage of complaints made about a supplier, and our data can only provide a guide to complaint numbers. For a comprehensive understanding of supplier performance, we encourage individuals to also review data published by Ofgem and Citizens Advice:
Ofgem publishes information on its website about the complaints that the 14 largest domestic energy suppliers record every quarter. The data includes the number of complaints (total numbers, and by every 100,000 consumers for each supplier), as well as information about how quickly these complaints are dealt with.
Citizens Advice publishes a quarterly league table on how the 21 largest energy firms in Great Britain handle complaints. It covers all domestic energy suppliers with more than 50,000 consumers. Their data is based on the number of consumers that have contacted an independent organisation for advice or support with an energy problem. In their league table, complaints made to the Citizens Advice consumer service, the Extra Help Unit, and Ombudsman Services: Energy are weighted differently to reflect the severity of the complaint. The model places greater emphasis on situations where the consumer has had to repeatedly contact their supplier, or another agency, because the company has failed to deal with their problem.
We are committed to making the information that we publish accessible and easy to understand by everyone. Our glossary provides a summary of the seven most common complaint types that we use when consumers contact us about their energy billing problems. We have also provided further information to explain the awards that we make.
Where our published data contains company names, it does not represent a league table and does not imply that one company is better or worse than another. These figures simply reflect the contacts and complaints received by Ombudsman Services. Many factors can influence the number of calls, enquiries or complaints received by Ombudsman Services. For example:
The rules governing the sector redress scheme such as:
The company details such as:
Influences outside of our direct control such as:
We capture most of the data at first point of contact in our case management system by our employees.
We produce monthly and quarterly reports for participating companies and industry regulators. In 2016, we began using ‘dynamic data’, which is continually refreshed. We use this rather than ‘static data’, which captures information at a moment in time and does not change. This makes sure that we are able to provide the most up to date information about the status of our cases.
We make every attempt to ensure that this data is correct at the time of publishing. From time to time, we may need to amend the data. For example, we may do this if we find out more information about a case that might cause us to re-categorise it. Participating companies have the opportunity to see data about their cases via a portal to our case handling system. Figures for ‘cases resolved’ are complaints that have been investigated and the participating company has been charged a case fee for.