Wednesday 4 April, 2012
By Martin Fagan
New survey by energy regulator shows slight improvement but more needs to be done.
The majority of Brits who complain to their energy supplier are left dissatisfied with the outcome and frustrated by their experience, according to energy regulator Ofgem.
The regulator’s third annual customer complaints survey found three out of five domestic customers (60%) expressed dissatisfaction with the way their complaint was handled, compared to around three in four (75%) in 2010.
Despite this reduction, Ofgem says dissatisfaction remains high, with half of all respondents claiming to have been either “quite” or “very” dissatisfied with the way their complaint was handled.
The Ofgem survey shows Scottish Power and SSE retained their position as the companies with the highest customer satisfaction rates and are the only two of the “big six” suppliers to have more satisfied than dissatisfied customers.
For the second year running, EDF Energy had the largest proportion of domestic customers dissatisfied with the overall complaints process.
The area that causes most dissatisfaction is the amount of time energy companies take to deal with the complaint and the lack of further contact details to discuss the matter further if necessary. Fewer than one in six complaints are resolved on first contact, says Ofgem.
Ofgem’s findings mirror those of watchdog Consumer Focus which published its latest quarterly league table of energy complaints in March.
“It's positive that there has been some improvement in how customers' energy complaints are handled,” said Audrey Gallacher, director of energy at Consumer Focus.
“However, with half of consumers dissatisfied, there is still a very long way to go. The energy industry routinely tops the charts as the sector least trusted by consumers and the customer service they receive is a significant factor in this.
“It is unacceptable that many customers have to go through a long, drawn-out process to get their problem resolved. There must be clear progress on this from suppliers,” she concluded.