April 2014 saw 3,892 consumers complain to the Ombudsman Services about their energy suppliers, three times more than at the same period last year. Most complaints were to do with alleged billing errors and customer service issues.
The increase in complaints follows the launch of Ofgem’s ‘Energy Shopping’ campaign, which aims to get consumers exploring the market for a cheaper gas and electricity tariff. As part of the initiative, Ofgem has sought to make switching energy supplier easier, a key priority given that 62% of homes have never switched provider.
‘Consumer frustration growing in the UK’
Head Energy Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said: “We are seeing consumer frustration growing in the UK due to the rising cost of living.
“This is causing Brits to become increasingly aware of their outgoing expenses, less willing to put up with poor services and more likely to make a query when something has gone wrong.”
Ombudsman Services provide an independent and not-for profit dispute resolution service for a number of industries.
Energy price war hurting big six
Last week, British Gas announced that it had lost 180,000 customers, many of whom are thought to have gone to small energy suppliers, such as First Utility and Ovo Energy. The latter are currently offering sub-£1,000 energy plans – the cheapest seen on the market for the past two years.