Energy complaints for January reach record levels

by Communications Team | Feb 20, 2015

  • Complaints recorded in January 2015 highest on record, up 93% on January 2014
  • 6,776 complaints in total – almost double for the same month in 2014

Complaints made to Ombudsman Services: Energy reached a record high for the first month of 2015.

A total of 6,776 complaints were recorded during the first month of the year, a 47 per cent increase from December 2014 (4,602) and almost double the number made in the same month the previous year (January 2014: 3,517), showing that disgruntled consumers are increasingly prepared to take action over disputes with their energy suppliers.

Billing issues accounted for the majority (5,783) of complaints, with most grievances linked to inaccurate invoicing (16%) and the failure of energy companies to produce a bill at all (15%).

Problems relating to sales and transfers reached their highest level in years, accounting for 13% of the total complaints, which suggests that more and more people are voting with their feet and switching suppliers in pursuit of a better deal.

The sole ombudsman for the energy sector, Ombudsman Services: Energy can investigate disputes between customers and suppliers that have been on-going for eight weeks or more or those that have reached deadlock stage. Consumers must contact their supplier directly in the first instance before they can escalate the complaint to the ombudsman.

Chief Ombudsman, Lewis Shand Smith, commented: “With the number of complaints almost doubling in the last year it’s encouraging to see consumers taking action over problems rather than simply suffering in silence.

“The rise in complaints relating to transfers suggests an increasing number of consumers are going further still and taking their business elsewhere if they aren’t getting the service they expect.”

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 Ombudsman Services annual report can be accessed here: Annual Report 2013
  • The Chief Ombudsman’s speech about the future of Ombudsman Services in a changing consumer redress landscape can be accessed here: Annual report speech 2013
  • 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