On the heels of yesterday’s news that complaints against the big six hit record levels, comes new research from Citizens Advice naming npower the most-complained-about supplier of 2013.
The bureau, which aids those looking to resolve legal, financial and other issues, found that the big six supplier received 306 complaints for every 100,000 customers from October to December last year.
This is 10 times the amount of complaints that were made about fellow big six provider SSE, which had the least amount of complaints (31.5) per 100,000 customers in the same time period.
A history of ‘letting our … customers down’
This isn’t the first time the German-owned gas and electricity provider has been awarded this title. Last January, Consumer Futures found that npower had a 25% rise in complaints from July to September 2013.
Consumer Futures (which recently became a part of Citizens Advice) had found that npower had 253 complaints per 100,000 customers (SSE was once again the least complained about with only 32 complaints per 100,00).
At the time, npower’s Director of Retail Business admitted that the findings were due to installation of a new billing system:
“Last year, we apologised to our customers for the service issues they may have faced, following the installation of a new billing system.
“I know that we’ve let many of our domestic customers down and I want to apologise personally for this and promise that they will not lose out financially as a direct result of these issues.
“We’re working on these issues as top priority. Our customers deserve to get the best service possible and this is my commitment to them.”
However, it seems these issues continue to plague npower customers, who were advised by Citizens Advice that suppliers cannot back-bill for energy from more than 12 months previous.
Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Gillian Guy found the results to be ‘unacceptable’:
“Things are getting worse not better for npower customers. It is unacceptable that npower has not yet sorted out the serious failings in its billing systems and customer service which are causing so many complaints and serious problems for its customers.
“For well over a year now some npower customers have been finding their finances thrown into chaos. Some are not receiving bills and others are ending up in debt because their direct debit was cancelled. Citizens Advice has asked npower to make sure people affected get any appropriate compensation.
“Time and time again energy suppliers are letting customers down. People will not feel able to trust energy suppliers again if firms cannot get their house in order and deliver decent customer service.”
Where does your supplier rank?
All big six complaints rankings from October to December 2013
#1 SSE 31.5 complaints per 100,000
#2 British Gas 53.7 complaints per 100,000
#3 E.ON 55.8 complaints per 100,000
#4 EDF 62 complaints per 100,000
#5 ScottishPower 100.5 complaints per 100,000
#6 npower 306.8 complaints per 100,000