Decision to publish energy complaint figures is a 'gamechanger' says complaints expert.

Fri 21 Nov 2014

Ofgem has announced that it will publish quarterly figures showing how effectively the major energy companies are resolving complaints.

The regulator will publish the figures each quarter so that customers can easily compare different suppliers based on how effective they are at handling complaints. 

Around 5.5 million complaints were made against the six largest suppliers in 2013. And as almost 4.9 million complaints have already been made between January to September this year, Ofgem estimates that the total for 2014 will exceed last year's figure. "Ofgem now requires companies to publish all of their complaints, in one place, for all to see – and to judge," commented Paul Clark, CEO of Charter UK. "The decision is a backlash against the revelation that over half of households said they were dissatisfied with the way their complaint had been handled by energy companies''. 

"In an industry with so few distinctions between companies, a simplified comparison of complaints may become a key competitive differentiator. In order to avoid potentially damaging repercussions, all firms in the sector will now need to take real action to isolate any and all elements within their customer service that aren't working, and find a cure''. 

"This game changer from Ofgem won't come as a great surprise for the sector, and many firms have already publically explained their ongoing investment in the customer-facing "front line". What it will do is emphasize that some of the process are still not working, and that solving this problem must now be a key focus''. 

"Further to any reputational concerns, the ongoing review of the energy sector by the Competition and Markets Authority means that any additional regulatory updates from Ofgem must be taken very seriously. Companies that fail to do so may find themselves frozen out as the industry steps up a gear."