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Energy complaints triple in just 12 months

Almost 50,000 consumers have complained after receiving inaccurate charges, disputed meter readings or simply not getting bills

Energy complaints

Energy complaints have tripled in the past year

According to the Energy Ombudsman, complaints from consumers relating to their energy supplier have tripled in the past year.

The main cause behind the complaints was a lack of bills, disputed charges and inaccurate meter readings.

Official figures from the Ombudsman reveal an average of 3,500 complaints per month in 2014, with more than 5,100 in November.

Customer service issues

Speaking on the issue, Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said: “While November’s figures show consumers are increasingly willing to escalate complaints when they feel they have been wronged, it is encouraging to see a drop in the number of problems relating to transfers and sales.”

Asked for a comment, Energy UK, the trade association for the energy industry, told the Daily Mail: “Improving customer service is key.”

uSwitch’s recent Energy Awards saw small suppliers OVO Energy and First Utility come first and second in terms of overall customer satisfaction.

General Election pledges

The news comes in the run up to the 2015 General Election, which has seen energy costs take up a central role.

Labour Leader Ed Miliband has pledged to freeze energy prices for 20 months. This promise has been criticized by many in the industry who feel it will scare off much needed investment. It has also been cited as one of the possible reasons why energy companies have not dropped prices in line with falling wholesale costs.

The Government reacted to Labour’s pledge by cutting £50 from the average energy bill, by reducing the green levies paid by energy suppliers.

Read more

British Gas told to cough up £11.1m by Ofgem

Small suppliers dominate the uSwitch Energy Awards 2014

  • anonymous

    I thought eon is on top of the list?

    • WB1970

      Eon used to be top of the list but as far as I am concerned they are definitely the worst! First they wrote to me telling me I had used 23% less gas and 9% less electricity then they wrote telling me they were more than doubling my monthly direct debit to £262 per month! Getting them to reply to my letters and phone calls to rectify the problem was worse than hard work – consequently I have had a change of energy supplier!

      • eon

        your account was probably estimated! your usage could easily go up in the next 12 months! the tariff your on could come to an end soon so your rates could get higher or your annual review was coming up all these are factors that we take into account when increasing ur dd

        • RAS

          are you serious. What a load of crap. Your reply is all about pure conjecture … Not facts. You can’t take people’s money on a “maybe”

          • Fred

            If you pay by fixed monthly direct debit you are effectively pre paying for you energy. It really is simple once you understand how it works. Imagine we are in January, your estimated usage for the next 12 months will be £1200 and your direct debit will be £100 per month based on estimated usage ( this is obviously because no one knows what they will use FACT). Normally you will be billed every quarter so by March you would have paid £300. In a perfect world your bill will be £300 but it may not. You may have used more or less, consequently your direct could go up or down. The aim of the direct debit system is to aim for a zero balance after each bill however as your payments are spread over 12 months you will be paying more than your using in the summer time hence you will be in credit. NOW this is where most people go wrong. The credit is supposed to be there in order to cover your extra winter usage where in actual fact you may be using more than the £100 you are paying. By December everything should balance out and your balance would be zero. Simples.

            Now what I have mentioned above relies on one thing and one thing alone and that is actual meter readings. How long does it take to read your meter? If you want accurate bills get the readings in as much as you can preferably once a month. Smart meters are being rolled out now and despite some people scaremongering this is the future and will actually help with accuracy of bills and enable people to control their own usage.

            I’m with EON and their service is really good. The enery saving toolkit is not perfect but I’m sure with smart metering it will improve. I hope you find the above useful. PS I get a £70 per year saving for paying by fixed monthly direct debit which is better than 3% on your credit balance! Also if I really did not like the direct debit method I’m on I could pay by card online or the phone, payment card at shop or standing order.

  • JR

    N Power has been holding more than £300.00 from my last address. Then got my DD for my new address messed up and sent me a threatening letter. I was then told not to pay anything until 28th December. Now had a letter telling me my DD’s will stop and they will send me a final bill. I don,t know which account they are referring to. I don’t think the left hand knows what the right hand is doing

    • N . Bruty

      I am in the same boat ! NPower have set up 2 accounts for my address and now they don’t know which one to bill me on ! They have told me not to pay anything until they get it sorted out – 12 months later, I’m still waiting! !!

  • thegoatee

    british gas are holding £215 of my money and still send me a bill for £75 saying its outstanding from my payment plan

  • Tony Curr

    British Gas have tied my account to a meter in another town miles away belonging to some total stranger. I furnished all details last January and was given urbane reassurances that the situation had been rectified. About two weeks ago, in the course of pursuing a different complaint, I found out that NOTHING had been done at all. They are a lackadaisical, inefficient, incompetent and dishonest shower.

  • christine

    I have been with Ovo for nearly 5 years and have no complaints. Customer services are easy to deal with and getting credit balance refunded simple and quick although they do pay 3% interest on credit balance. They e-mail every month to ask for meter readings and all information on their website relating to your account is clear and easy to access. I would definitely recommend.

  • Pat Humphreys

    I was persuaded by Scottish Power to have boiler maintainance with them . I started d.d for two months and when the boiler broke down they refused to repair because they had’nt had my system inspected by them.
    When I eventually received a copy of the contract I found I was covered, although by then I had paid for the repair.

  • andrew

    British gas has owed me over £200 frm address ilived at few yrs ago &iwas changen supplyers at address i live in now & 4sum reason E ON has put a blockers on changen me gas sayin iv sent rong readings on gas metre but n.os on metre is wot isent thm&if thy wanted 2check there self me metres outside nothing stopin thm checkin

  • Stuart

    Some time ago Npower had £500 plus of mine, which they said they would pay back in 10 days. It had already taken far too much effort to get that commitment.
    After a month still no repayment. Now I am in credit by over £700 and yet I still can’t get them to pay me my own money back!
    Their standard response to any contact is “we’ll get back to you in 7-10 days” which is ridiculous. They also want to put my monthly payment up again!!

    I am definitely changing supplier but just concerned over how I’m going to get my money back

    I would urge everyone to stay away from this bunch!

    • Fatma Mussa

      And iv just switched to them!!!!would appreciate further advice Pls

  • Alana

    Have just read

  • Alana

    Have just got my Gas and Electric bill from British Gas and i am £235 in Credit. When i read further down it says in January 2015 my direct debit will go up by £42 a month. I phoned BG and they said it is done automatically by the computer. The customer service person i spoke to said he would change that manually as i am in credit and my direct debit payments will remain the same as it is now and will confirm it by e-mail within 24 hrs. It is a good job i read about that increase but i will monitor it. How many more people has it happened to.

    • Harry

      So true, happened to me to some years ago and switched to another supplier. BG are a complete shambles!! * to put it politely.

  • Johnny

    i am with isupply energy, been with them two years now and never had a problem, they email me once a quarter for a reading, which i.send back and thats it,my bills have actually halved since I moved to.them

  • canalboat

    How on earth did First Utility come second. They are useless.I have changed address and am £206 in credit. I have phoned twice, emailed twice,been promised £150 on account and still nothing. They are quick to take the first D/D when you join them but getting money back is impossible. Apparently it takes over 6 weeks to close an account.

  • Disgusted Niece

    My 82 year old uncle has worked hard all his life, never owed anyone anything and always paid his bills on time. NPower has been the bain of his life for nearly 2 years. First the meters went wrong and he wasn’t getting bills. (He pays bills as they arrive has never had DD payments) he finished up with £700 in credit after he and myself put in a complaint. Finally they put 2 new meters in (at a tariff that was higher than he had been paying) and closed the complaint. Now the first bill he has received since the new meters looks like he is heating the whole village and he isn’t the only one neighbours have the same problem. (Plus we can’t log the meter readings on line because the computers are not updated!!!!) How can they owe customers £700. He lives in a small bungalow by himself and his bills are twice as much as ours as a couple with a similar bungalow. Elderly people just get stressed and panic. Getting through to Npower is a nightmare – you are passed from pillar to post. Their answer is £25 for the inconvenience for not turning up when they should. We don’t want compensation we want a decent service and no overcharging. My uncle lives 3 hours away from us and we travelled to what was supposed to be a designated appointment. We waited three hours and then when we rang to see what was happening we were told the appointment (which we rang and checked the week before) had not been logged properly. It took 1.5 hours for them to do a ring back that what was supposed to be a .75 hours call back. The excuse was that they had yet another problem with the computers. So brassed off with them now want to go to the Ombudsman but that is now proving to be the next nightmare. Website is a disgrace and not user friendly.