Official figures from the energy ombudsman have revealed a dramatic rise in the number of energy complaints made this year.
Complaints rocketed from 10,598 in the last six months of 2013 to 22,671 for the first six months of this year. In total there were 17,960 complaints made last year.
The ombudsman, which deals with disputes between consumers and suppliers which remain unsolved after eight weeks, dealt with a record 4,124 complaints in June 2014. An increase of 216% compared to the same period last year.
Billing issues make up vast majority of complaints
Speaking on the issue, Chief Energy Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith explained the spike in complaints as a result of the rising cost of living and a greater awareness amongst consumers of their rights. The vast majority of complaints (84%) were related to billing issues.
Shand added that increasing customer satisfaction and resolving their complaints was key to restoring trust to the energy sector.
Ofgem has launched investigation into the energy sector
According to a recent survey carried out by Citizens Advice, npower and ScottishPower are the two energy suppliers currently receiving the most complaints. In both cases the rise in dissatisfaction levels is due to the suppliers having issues when implementing new billing systems.
The rise in complaints follows the announcement of an Ofgem led, in-depth investigation into the energy sector, due to be completed in 18 months’ time.
‘No one wants to see complaints rise’
A spokesman for Energy UK, the trade body for the energy industry, said: “The energy industry works hard to provide the best service for its customers but in an industry serving 27 million households sometimes things go wrong.
“However no one wants to see complaints rise and each complaint is taken very seriously with companies working hard and investing in resources and new systems to resolve issues as quickly as possible. Most complaints are dealt with by the end of the next working day with no more than a phone call.”