Energy complaints treble in 12 months to 3,626 complaints in February alone - a 252% rise on February 2013.
February figures from Ombudsman Services, the Ombudsman for the energy sector, reveal that energy complaints have continued to soar at record levels with a 252% increase on complaints figures for February 2013. Complaints made in February 2014 represent an increase of 102% compared to the end of 2013 (December 2013) and 3% compared to January 2014.
The rise in complaints comes in the same month that Ofgem called for the “big six” energy companies to return money owed to customers – estimating that suppliers hold at least £202 million from former domestic customers and at least £204 million from old business accounts. Complaints relating to refunds of overpayments accounted for 267 of February’s total complaints – up 126% on December 2013, while there were only 686 complaints of this nature during the whole of 2013.
The most popular complaints related to not receiving a bill (700 complaints); disputes about billing charges (439 complaints); the quality of customer service related to billing (413 complaints) and inaccurate invoices (361 complaints).
Chief Energy Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith commented: “We’re witnessing a record level of complaints relating to the energy sector as the cost of living debate continues to dominate headlines, which is evident in the 252% rise compared to the same time last year. Issues relating to billing in particular were a major source of frustration in February as consumers become more aware of their entitlements and are less likely to settle for poor service.”
Notes to editors
- Ombudsman Services is a not for profit, private company limited by guarantee.
- Ombudsman Services runs national, private sector ombudsman schemes which provides independent dispute resolution for the communications, energy, property, copyright licensing sectors, the Green Deal, the ABFA, Reallymoving.com and Which? Trusted Traders scheme.
- The Chief Ombudsman’s speech about the future of Ombudsman Services in a changing consumer redress landscape can be accessed here
- Ombudsman Services provides an expert dispute resolution service. The service focuses on encouraging early agreed resolution wherever possible and does not charge a fee so it’s able to offer access to redress for consumers to resolve their complaints without proceeding to the civil courts.
- Ombudsman Services is a full member of the Ombudsman Association (OA) and adheres to its principles.
- Further information about Ombudsman Services can be found at http://www.ombudsman-services.org/