• Energy complaints double during the first half of 2014
• Complaints recorded in June 2014 highest on record
Complaints made to the energy ombudsman about energy companies during the first half of the year reached an all time high of 22,671 – more than doubling figures recorded during the final half of 2013 (10,598). Complaints made in the six months to June 2014 have already surpassed the total number of complaints recorded for the year 2013 (17,948).
The figures, released by the energy ombudsman, also reveal that complaints received in June marked the highest on record, soaring to 4,124 – an increase of 216% on complaints made during June 2013.
Billing related issues continue to be the biggest source of pain for consumers, accounting for 84% (19,009) of the complaints made between January and June 2014. Billing related complaints made during this period rose 113% on the final half of 2013 (July-December 2013).
The second largest cause for complaint related to transfer issues – accounting for 13% (2,988) of all complaints made during the first half of the year. Transfer related complaints made during this period were up 146% on those made during the previous six month period from July to December 2013. The figures follow recent industry approval for energy companies to reduce the time it takes consumers’ to transfer suppliers to just three working days.
Chief Energy Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith commented: “The spike in complaints is in part a result of the rising cost of living, but also as a result of consumers becoming more aware of their rights – and feeling more empowered to act and fight for a fair deal. Addressing these concerns is crucial to restoring consumer confidence in the sector.”
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Notes to editors
• Ombudsman Services is a not for profit, private company limited by guarantee.
• Ombudsman Services is a national, private sector ombudsman scheme 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 www.ombudsman-services.org