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EDF Energy ordered to pay £3 million


EDF Energy has been told to pay £3m to a Citizens Advice scheme for the benefit of “vulnerable customers”, after an investigation by Ofgem found the company had poorly managed a number of complaints.

Ofgem found that after a new IT system was introduced in 2011, complaints increased by 30%. This was because the system did not give the company the ability to properly receive, record and process customer complaints.

Beatrice Bigois, managing director of customers at EDF said: "Despite our best efforts and extensive planning to manage this transition in 2011 without impacting our customers, we recognise that for a period of time the service to our customers was not up to the standards they deserve.”

The money that EDF has been told to pay will be split between a Citizens Advice scheme called “Best Deal Extra”, as well as a debt helpline.

Speaking about how the money will be spent, Bigois said: "The £3m package that we are offering will ensure that thousands of vulnerable customers are provided with free, independent advice on debt, as well as information to help them manage their energy consumption and bills."

Time to put customers first

Sarah Harrison, from Ofgem said that EDF “failed” to have a sufficient system in place whilst the new IT system was being implemented.

She added: "It's now vital for EDF Energy and the industry as a whole to truly put customers first and put adequate resources in place to deal with complaints."

Over the last couple of years, all of the ‘big six’ energy companies have been fined by industry regulators for issues such as poor service and the mis-selling of tariffs to customers. These fines have included:

1. E.on - mis-selling (£12m)
2. SSE - mis-selling (£10.5m)
3. Scottish Power - mis-selling (£8.5m)
4. British Gas - mis-selling and blocking switching (£6.6m)
5. Npower - mis-selling (£3.5m)
6. EDF - complaint handling (£3m)

These issues, coupled with fears about a lack of competition in the market have led to an impending investigation into the industry as a whole.

The industry-wide investigation will be conducted by Ofgem and will take around 18 months to complete. Ofgem said one of the reasons for the investigation is to rebuild consumer trust, as 43% of customers do not trust energy suppliers to be open and transparent.

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