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Fifth of households complain to energy provider each year


A fifth of British households have had to complain to their energy provider every year for the last 10 years, according to a report from Citizens Advice.

The biggest sources of complaints received have been in regards to billing problems, which Citizens Advice estimates costs suppliers £125million a year to handle. The report showed that energy suppliers progress on handling customers accounts over the last 10 years has been “patchy”, and many poor processes are still prevalent. This has in turn lead to distrust among customers.

One of the main reasons for the rise in billing problems is due to difficulties that arose when some suppliers changed billing systems. These caused major customer service failures as well as delayed bills and the build-up of debts.

Over the last year, Citizens Advice has dealt with more than 100,000 energy related problems.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“Bad billing systems have plagued energy customers for years.

“Billing people on time, and for the right sums of money, is essential if the market is to work. It is both astonishing and wholly unacceptable that suppliers have been getting it so wrong for so long.

“The introduction of smart meters can significantly improve consumers’ experience – the responsibility is now on suppliers to get it right and for Ofgem to bring forward new protections if things go wrong.”

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