Complaining to an energy company
Before using the energy ombudsman you must tell the energy company about your problem and follow its complaints procedure. The company has up to eight weeks to resolve your complaint*.
Advice when making a complaint
1. Contact your energy provider as soon as possible – its contact details will be on the back of the bill or on its website.
2. Think about what you want to say before you make the call. Have the bill in front of you and explain the problem. Write down the name of the person you speak to, the time, the date and take a note of what they say they will do.
3. It will help to look at your meter and to write down the current reading - the company is likely to ask you for this information.
4. Ask the energy provider for a copy of its complaints procedure or ask where you can find it on the company's website. Energy suppliers are required to tell you the best way to complain about the service they provide to you. Follow each stage of the complaints procedure until the problem is resolved.
5. If you need to write to the company, keep a copy of the letters you send. If you receive any letters from the company, keep them along with a record of any other phone calls you make or receive.
6. Don't stop paying. Ask the company to put on hold the disputed part of the bill.
7. Work with the company to fix the problem. If access to your property is needed, arrange an appointment and make sure you keep to it.
8. If you are uncomfortable sorting the matter out for yourself, ask a trusted friend or a family member to help. You can give them your authority to speak to the company for you.
9. If the problem is not sorted out within eight weeks from the date that you first told the company about the problem*, or you are unhappy with what the company has done to sort it out, contact us. You can complain using a form on our website or by calling 0330 440 1624. We will ask questions about your problem so please keep the notes you have taken of the calls made and received and the letters you have sent and received handy.
10. Have in mind what you want to happen to fix the problem. Be realistic and understand that it is not the role of the ombudsman to punish companies.
*If your complaint is with SSE, the company has six weeks to resolve your problem.
For free, independent advice at any point during the complaints process, you can contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506 or visit Citizens Advice energy. If your energy supply is at risk of being disconnected, you are in a vulnerable situation or have a complex complaint the Consumer Service may refer your case to the Extra Help Unit.