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Npower tops energy customer complaints table



Customers of the energy supplier Npower made more complaints than those of any other large energy company last year, according to new findings from Citizens Advice.

New research from the consumer watchdog found that Npower topped the energy complaints league table in every quarter since the end of 2012.

Npower received 306 complaints per 100,000 customers in the final quarter of 2013, three times the number of ScottishPower, the second worst rated competitor. 

This poor performance is said to be mostly down to the firm’s new billing system. Problems have ranged from customers not receiving bills to direct debits being wrongly cancelled, meaning customers end up in debt.

Citizens Advice say they are particularly concerned because the problems have persisted and there is no sign yet of complaints decreasing. 

“For well over a year now some Npower customers have been finding their finances thrown into chaos,” said Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy.

“Time and time again energy suppliers are letting customers down. People will not feel able to trust energy suppliers again if firms cannot get their house in order and deliver decent customer service,” she added.

Roger Hattam, Npower’s director of domestic retail, said the supplier is “making good progress” in tackling “the root causes” of the failures.

However, this is only the latest in a series of blows to Npower’s reputation. In January, market regulator Ofgem revealed that the supplier had published misleading figures on energy costs.

A recent survey by consumer group Which? also said Npower had the lowest customer satisfaction levels of all UK energy suppliers, with just 31% of customers happy with the service they receive.

The recent bad press for the ‘big six’ energy suppliers has at least been good news for smaller firms. 

Good Energy saw its customer base increase by 32% in 2013 as dissatisfied customers flocked to the renewable energy supplier.

Green suppliers such as Good Energy and Ecotricity regularly score high marks in customer satisfaction. 

In November, when the big six energy providers were announcing a series of winter price hikes, Good Energy and Ecotricity also took the unprecedented steps of freezing their gas and electricity prices. 

Further reading:

Unhappy ‘big six’ customers flock to Good Energy, whose profits see sharp rise

‘Big six’ energy firms admit to failing customers

Ofgem to ‘break down’ competition barriers to help smaller energy suppliers

Npower publishes ‘misleading’ figures on energy costs

Renewable energy specialists Good Energy and Ecotricity ‘setting benchmark’ in customer satisfaction



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