Help making an energy complaint
Last year an average of 325 people a day contacted the energy ombudsman and we helped to resolve 39,281 energy complaints*.
While it’s great that so many people are aware of the energy ombudsman and want to take advantage of this free and easy-to-use service, 49% of complainants contact us either too early or too late.
As the energy ombudsman we must give companies an opportunity to resolve their own complaints, and make ourselves available to consumers who are unable to get their problems fixed or who are unhappy with how their complaint has been handled. We are able consider energy complaints that haven’t been satisfactorily resolved within eight weeks (six weeks for SSE) of the complaint being made to the company - sometimes a little sooner if the company is unable to help and issues a ‘deadlock’ letter.
There is also a deadline for bringing a complaint to us – 12 months from the date the complaint was first lodged with the company. It can difficult for us investigate older cases as the evidence we may need may no longer be available.
We understand it can be frustrating for customers who feel that their complaints aren’t being handled by energy companies and so we offer advice on our website to help them progress complaints effectively.
We’ve also assisted the energy regulator, Ofgem, with its new ‘how to complain’ video. The video explains what to do if you have an energy complaint and what help and support is available.
* Figures taken from energy annual report (April to December 2015).
Lewis Shand Smith
Chief Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services