Scottish Power, Npower and First Utility have the most ‘very dis-satisfied’ customers, while E.ON pays up £3m for deficient customer service

family-consumer-sseBritish Big Six energy provider E.ON is to more than £3 million in compensation and penalties for another major customer-service failure.

It will pay £1.2 million to customers and £1.9 million to energy charities following ‘engagement’ with OFGEM because it failed to compensate customers when its agents missed appointments as required by the Guaranteed Standards. This includes helping service personnel through National Energy Action’s ‘Help for Heroes’ scheme.

OFGEM’S Guaranteed Standards require suppliers to meet minimum standards of customer service, including when they need to visit customers’ premises.  If suppliers fall short of these standards, they must pay customers compensation. 

After E.ON declaring this to OFGEM and agreeing to improve its customer service, the regulator agreed a redress package rather than take formal enforcement action.

The supplier has improved its customer services processes and will make sure that, when things go wrong, customers receive the compensation they’re entitled to.

Dermot Nolan OFGEM Chief Executive, said: “E.ON fell well short of the high standards we expect for consumers when it missed appointments and then failed to compensate customers.”

“It’s crucial that suppliers provide their customers with a fast and effective service, and make amends when things go wrong.”

Meanwhile, energy customers who make a complaint are less satisfied now with how their supplier responds than when compared to two years ago, according to OFGEM’S bi-annual complaints survey.

Since complainants were last surveyed in 2014, the total number of complaints has fallen by around half.

But more than half52% – of all complainants voted ‘with their feet’ and switched, or were planning to switch, supplier.

The suppliers who came out worst in the survey – Npower, Scottish Power and First Utility – recorded the highest proportion by far of “very dissatisfied” complainants.

scottish-power-logo2Even the suppliers who fared best – SSE, EON and EDF Energy – failed to show any significant improvement in overall complaint handling since 2014.

Suppliers with the worst record on handling complaints face the biggest exodus of customers. A majority of npower and Scottish Power domestic customers surveyed who complained (71% and 59% respectively) said that they had or were planning to switch as a result of their experience.

Dermot Nolan, OFGEM Chief Executive, has written to all suppliers surveyed to demand an improvement.

He has also written to First Utility and Utility Warehouse – who performed next worst in the survey after Npower and Scottish Power – asking them to conduct and publish a thorough independent audit of their complaint handling procedures. 

OFGEM has already taken action over suppliers’ complaint handling. In December last year Npower had to pay out £26 million as a result of its billing and complaint handling failings.

And in April this year Scottish Power had to pay out £18 million for similar failures.

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