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New Figures Reveal Consumer Complaints about Energy Companies

1 Sep 2016

The Citizens Advice service across the UK has today published its latest ‘league table’ of complaints received about the different energy companies.

The quarterly table for April-June this year shows that while some suppliers have shown limited improvement, others have performed significantly worse than in the previous quarter, with the worst company, Extra Energy, performing 80 times worse than the best-performing supplier, SSE. This is the biggest difference between the top-of-the-table and the bottom-placed company since we began publishing the table five years ago. 

Common problems that have been reported by customers are late or inaccurate bills, and problems contacting customer services.

The latest table shows:

  • Extra Energy remains at bottom of the table for second quarter in a row - recording the highest ever complaint ratio of 1791.2 per 100,000 customers, according to our scoring system, compared to 1,682.0 per 100,000 customers the previous quarter.
  • SSEretains top spot with an even better performance than last quarter - getting a complaints ratio of 22.5 per 100,000 customers, compared to 28.4 per 100,000 last time.
  • Last quarter’s second-best performer Flow Energy drops to tenth place, with a four-fold increase in its complaints ratio compared to the previous three months.
  • Npower’s complaints ratio drops by over a third - however its rank remains unchanged as a new supplier enters the table in a higher position.
  • Newcomer GB Energy secures 9th place with a complaints ratio of 125.4 per 100,000 customers.
  • Utilita more than halves its complaints ratio, while Ecotricity has doubled its complaints ratio compared to last quarter.

Publishing the table today, Craig Salter, energy spokesman for the Consumer Futures Unit of Citizens Advice Scotland, said: 

“While it is encouraging to see some suppliers improving their performance, it is very disappointing that others have failed to improve or have performed even worse than the previous quarter. Consumers are entitled to expect consistently high standards of service from their energy providers. Choosing an energy supplier should never be a gamble between good and bad customer service.

“As we revealed in our report on consumer poverty earlier this week, too many people across Scotland are in fuel poverty and not receiving the support they need from their energy supplier. Unreliable customer service can have a range of impacts – from the financial stress of being hit with a late bill, to the time and money wasted trying to get hold of a supplier on the phone.

“The table shows us that both large and small firms are able to provide good customer service, and so size should not prevent a company from performing well. It is important that all suppliers, large and small, do more to support their customers, and we need to see consistently high standards of service across the board.” 

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