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he complaints directed towards the utility company Npower
do not seem to be going away. The energy giant which makes up part of the United Kingdom’s Big Six has once again topped the table for most complaints. In the first three months of 2014, it has received more complaints than any of its rivals.
Npower, which is owned by the Germany utility giant RWE, received 83 complaints for every 1000 customers between January and March. This is a staggering 44% higher than any other rival company in the aforementioned Big Six. It means that Npower has now been the most complained about energy company since the end of 2012. The common reasons for customer complaints include direct debit payments being cancelled without warning, new accounts failing to be set up properly and bills arriving late to homes and businesses.
The figures were accumulated and organised by the consumer group Which? and showed that a total of 1.7 million complaints were made to the Big Six energy companies between January and March. The companies include Scottish Power, Eon, British Gas, EDF and SSE as well as Npower. This is 15% higher than last year’s figure of 1.48 million.
EDF were second place in the table with 46 complaints for every 1000 customers. This is a 77% improvement over data gathered 12 years ago. SSE, British Gas and Eon all received close to 30 complaints each per 100 customers.
Richard Lloyd, the executive director at the consumer group Which?, has said that customers are once again being let down by poor service from these energy suppliers. He said:
If they want to improve the low level of consumer trust in the energy market suppliers must up their game now rather than wait for the results of a competition review.
His thoughts were echoed by the energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey who said it was completely unacceptable that these utility companies are letting down their customers to such an extent. He said:
Energy companies need to up their game. People are switching suppliers in unprecedented numbers, particularly to small suppliers whose numbers have nearly trebled since 2010.
Npower has said that the high number of complaints was due to the problems with the company’s billing system and has not, seemingly, offered an apology to customers. A spokesperson said:
We are now beginning to make progress. We are billing 92 per cent of our customers on time and resolving 88 per cent of complaints received on a daily basis within 24 hours. In the past three weeks, we have reduced complaints which we could not resolve within 24 hours by 32 per cent.