Better service demand for energy firms

COMPLAINTS against energy companies have gone up and now the watchdog is calling for them to give better customer service.Energywatch said some of the cause for complaint seems to stem from companies showing too much concern for buying up other businesses at the expense of customer satisfaction.

COMPLAINTS against energy companies have gone up and now the watchdog is calling for them to give better customer service.

Energywatch said some of the cause for complaint seems to stem from companies showing too much concern for buying up other businesses at the expense of customer satisfaction.

The latest report from Energywatch shows that complaints in the eastern region are up by 5.5 per cent – an increase from 16,311 in 2001 to 17,195 for 2002.

Jean Shanks, energywatch London and South East director, called on energy companies to commit to better customer service standards.


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She said: "This increase in complaints is really concerning.  Since privatisation, energy companies have been focusing on buying up other companies and acquiring new customers.  This rise in complaints appears to indicate that this focus has been at the expense of customer satisfaction. We now need companies to commit to a better standard of service for their customers."

Complaints nationally have also increased to a peak of 110,000 complaints last year, 20pc more than the year before.

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The main bones of contention were 45,546 account, billing and other complaints, (up from 37,075), 34,027 about transferring supplier (up from 30,743) and 12,960 direct selling complaints (up from 6,991).

The energywatch annual report also sets out the main communication and campaign activities undertaken by the watchdog over the past year. Key areas of concern have included inaccurate and late bills from energy companies, problems with changing suppliers and mis-selling.

Ms Shanks added: "We are working hard to get a fairer deal for energy customers. Already we have had some key successes, including sign up from all of the major companies to improving the switching process over the next three years and a new Code of Practice to clamp down on mis-selling.  "However, the fact that complaints are on the increase indicates that there is still more to be done."

Customers who are disappointed or frustrated with their energy supplier can log on to www.energywatch.org.uk and find out who are the best and worst performers for marketing, billing and switching supplier.

Energywatch is the independent gas and electricity consumer watchdog which provides free, impartial information and advice to energy consumers who are experiencing difficulty in resolving complaints directly with their energy supply companies.

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