Considerable increase in customer complaints for the ‘Big Six’

NPower logoThe most recent energy complaints information compiled by Consumer Futures shows that npower (202.5) received the highest number of complaints, around 5 times more than the best performing company, ranking it bottom of the Big Six energy suppliers over the period April to June 2013.

SSE recorded the lowest rate of complaints (38.3) ranking the supplier in 1st place, followed by Scottish Power (41), British Gas (55.5), E.ON (59.9) and EDF Energy (75.5) in fifth place.

Audrey Gallacher, Director of Energy at Consumer Futures, said:  “Complaints about npower over recent months put it in bottom place. The company is implementing  system changes that inevitably caused disruption to customers, however its complaints performance is unacceptable and the company must take further steps to tackle this.

“Energy companies have repeatedly said they want to rebuild consumer trust. Good customer service and complaints handling are key ingredients to achieving this and suppliers still have a long way to go. Along with price, good service is important to customers.  People want to know the relative performance on complaint handling to help them make informed choices when deciding whether to switch.

“Customer satisfaction with how complaints are handled is low across a whole range of industries and the same problems are seen over and over again. Companies must remember that many people view how a firm handles their complaint as a sign of how valued they are as a customer – so it is essential to deliver on this key issue.”

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: “Price hikes of 37 per cent over the last three years, coupled with poor customer service, has compounded the lack of trust in energy firms as households struggle to afford to have a warm home.  The Citizens Advice service deals with 90,000 energy problems each year.  People are being hit with large back bills, find their bill unclear and direct debit customers are frustrated companies are holding onto their money when they’re in credit.  Energy companies need to put customers first and be much more transparent about where they make their profits.”

This new analysis is compiled with data from the Citizens Advice service and the Ombudsman Services: Energy and Consumer Futures Extra Help Unit.

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