The Big Six energy providers still account for more than 92 per cent of the UK’s energy market. Yet on average going with one of these firms will cost you an extra £338 per year. So the average saving of 2.2 per cent for customers of British Gas E.On, EDF, npower, Scottish Power and SSE ought to translate into better customer service, right? Not necessarily…
Of the major energy firms, Scottish Power has spent more than any other on customer service – £200m over the past 18 months. That means it’s been spending an enormous £42 on each of its 3.2 million customers per year.
And yet our data from complaints raised via resolver.co.uk reveals that Scottish Power is by far the most complained-about energy company. Of all the cases raised via Resolver about energy providers, 38.2 per cent have been against Scottish Power.
Npower is second in the complaints index, with 13.6 per cent of energy issues, while British Gas is third with a whisker under 10 per cent. Interestingly, SSE is the only member of the big six that doesn’t really figure in the Resolver data, with only a handful of complaints raised against it.
However, when The Telegraph asked the major energy firms how much they were spending on customer service, SSE refused to disclose the figure. Mind you, it’s safe to say that it’s money moderately well spent for SSE’s 8.89 million customers.
Meanwhile, British Gas is set to spend an extra £50million over the next three years, meaning it will spend £176million annually on customer service for its 11 million clients. It clearly needs to spend this money, though – it lost more than 400,000 customers in 2014.
Scottish Power’s high level of complaints is also in part a legacy of a recent replacement of an ageing IT system – a move that in itself caused serious problems for many customers.
Bottom of the pops – most complained-about energy providers according to Resolver.co.uk by percentage of total complaints
(Table runs from worst to best)
The most important thing to remember when you want to complain about an energy supplier is that you must first follow the company’s own complaints procedures before you consider taking your issue to the Energy Ombudsman.
Most energy suppliers offer a fairly comprehensive breakdown of their own complaints procedures on their websites, but Resolver’s app will ensure you say the right thing at the right time – and to the right person!
• Get your complaint in writing – this is the easiest way of making sure it gets recorded properly
• If you do need to make a phone call, Resolver can record it and store it for you in your online case file.
• Record as many details as possible – who you speak to, their job titles, the dates and times of your calls with them. Resolver can do this for you, but it’s worth making the effort to record details yourself, too.
• Be polite. You might well be really frustrated and irritated about the service you’ve received, but it’s important to keep calm, especially if you’re complaining to the Energy Ombudsman – effectively a third party that has had nothing to do with your complaint other than an intent to solve it.