Complaints about energy companies have tripled in a year

It's hardly surprising people are complaining about their energy bills, considering the kicking providers have received over the past few months.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 07 Apr 2014

Here’s a figure that doesn't come as much of a surprise: according to the Energy Ombudsman, there were 10,638 complaints about energy companies in the first three months of this year, more than three times the figure for the beginning of 2013. No kidding…

According to the Ombudsman, 2,062 complaints over the period were about not receiving bills, another 1,474 were about billing charges – and 1,067 were about customer service (although it added that ‘not all complaints were necessarily justified’).

Over the past few months the government has launched a full-scale attack on energy providers, including (but not limited to) an 18-month inquiry by the Competition and Markets Authority, which will assess whether the ‘big six’ prevent competition. Then it scrapped green taxes, which essentially ended up making a) the government look silly and b) energy companies look mean, when half of them raised prices anyway.  

So part of this rise is almost certainly because of the amount of press energy companies’ dastardly dealings have received.

But the Ombudsman pointed out that it’s hard to argue dealings with the big six are enough to make people turn to the equally mind-boggling government complaints system for justice.

‘Consumer frustration and dissatisfaction is something we hear about every day,’ said chief energy ombudsman, Lewis Shand Smith. ‘Increased transparency is something that should be addressed.’

That's all well and good - but consumers are going to be even more frustrated and dissatisfied in 20 years' time when all the lights go out because no one has invested in new power stations...

- From MT’s April issue: Read ‘Sam Laidlaw – has the Centrica boss had enough?’

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