What’s in this guide?
There are many reasons you might need to get in touch with your energy supplier and lodge a complaint. It might be because you have had a poor service experience, you’ve had an incorrect bill, or you feel that you have had an unfair treatment.
While most energy suppliers will clearly outline their complaints department and procedure, there might be times when you don’t feel as if your supplier has adequately addressed your concerns.
In this instance, you may want to escalate your complaint to the next stage, going beyond your supplier to Citizens Advice or even to the Energy Ombudsman.
If you haven’t gotten in touch with your supplier yet, this guide provides you with a guide to how you can file a formal complaint but also how you can enlist the services of the Ombudsman.
Why do I need to complain to my energy supplier first?
Although it is completely understandable that you may want to immediately take your complaint to a higher authority such as the Energy Ombudsman, it is important that you first try and contact your supplier first.
This is so further down the line when you do approach the other services available; you can tell them that you have made all efforts to have your problem resolved by your supplier.
- The time and date of your call
- The person you spoke to
- Details of what was said as you may need to refer to them later
It helps your case and makes it much easier for other services to help you.
Go Direct to your Supplier
Firstly, go directly to your energy supplier. You should make sure that you have your customer number and any relevant information to make your call go as smoothly as possible.
Depending on the circumstances, you should also try and have your meter number to hand too. You can find this on one of your recent bills.
A simple complaint can usually be rectified on the phone; this is where you should write down the time, date, the person you are speaking to and what was said.
If you feel that your complaint is more complicated, you should follow up with a letter or email, so you have physical evidence of this conversation.
Write a Letter of Complaint
The second step in lodging a valid complaint is to write a letter, this is if your supplier still hasn’t been able to fix your issue.
You should make sure that you state at the beginning of this letter that you are writing to complain and ensure that you save a copy for yourself to use at a later date.
If you have a case number, you should include this, as well as bills, previous correspondence and anything else that supports your complaint.
When possible, send your post by recorded delivery as this means you can track your letter and make sure that your supplier received it.
There have been claims in the past that complaints have been lost in the post, haven’t been sent to the right place or haven’t made it to the right people.
Sending your post by recorded delivery helps combat these potential problems.
Get in touch with Citizens Advice
If your supplier still hasn’t been able to fix your problem, you can take your complaint to the Citizens Advice charity.
The first place you should look is the Citizens Advice ‘Adviceguide’, which was created to provide customers with information including what your rights are and what you should do next.
This helpful guide has different information in it depending on where you are in the UK, to make sure that you’re getting the right information for your area.
If you are elderly, unemployed or in a low-income household, Citizens Advice can handle your complaint about you as you would be part of the vulnerable group that they can help.
Unfortunately, if this doesn’t apply to you, they won’t be able to handle your complaint.
So what if you still can’t find the information or help you need?
The last step is to contact an Ombudsman.
Contact the Energy Ombudsman
The final option for customers that still can’t find a resolution is to contact the Energy Ombudsman.
This is an organisation that can step in between you and your supplier and come to a resolution.
They are independent of energy suppliers and Ofgem, and are your advocate – this is why it is essential to keep all of that information before about the steps you had taken to get here.
Because the Ombudsman can take all of your evidence and approach the supplier with the weight of its authority to either get you an explanation, an apology or even in some instances financial compensation.
What the Ombudsman can help you with
✔A complaint with British Gas, EDF, E.ON, npower, ScottishPower or SSE and your supplier can’t fix your issue within eight weeks
✔A complaint with a smaller supplier such as First Utility, Spark energy etc. and your supplier can’t fix your issue within 12 weeks
✔If your supplier deadlocks your complaint
✔Problems with energy bills
✔Issues that have come from an energy companies sales activity
✔Power cuts and connections
What the Ombudsman can’t help you with
✗An energy company changes its prices
✗Cases that seem unjustified
✗Complaints about liquid petroleum gas
✗Another procedure would be better
Do you need to submit a complaint to your energy supplier?
Do you want to learn more about your energy and your supplier options?