How to complain to your energy supplier
Hopefully, you'll never have to make a complaint about your energy supplier. But it's always useful to know how to make a complaint, in case something go wrong.
It could be a dispute over your bills, your contractual obligations or your meter readings, or simply having to wait on hold to speak to an advisor, or being treated poorly by staff.
If you need to make a complaint to your energy supplier, this guide will help you through the process and get your complaint resolved.
Making the complaint
In the first instance, you should always take your complaint directly to your energy supplier. You'll find the relevant contact details on your most recent bill.
If you're going to complain over the phone, make sure you have your account details to hand. Your bills will have some sort of customer reference number on them which you should quote to help the supplier call up your details quickly.
If you don't have a recent bill, the supplier will ask you some questions to locate and verify your account - which means more time spent on the phone.
You should also have to hand any supporting information relevant to your complaint. Copies of your contract, including start dates and tariffs, will be useful. It may also be worthwhile making a note of the reading on your meter if you have one.
Once you have spoken to the customer service agent and explained the problem, make a record of the time and date of the call and also the name of the person you spoke to. Make notes of any important details during the call and be sure to ask questions if you don't understand something.
Let the supplier know you will follow up the call by making the complaint in writing. When you type up your complaint, make sure you state clearly that it is a complaint and make a copy for your own records, just in case it is disputed at a later date.
Sending your letter of complaint by recorded delivery will allow you to track the letter and prove it was sent, using the receipt.
If, after your call, letters and follow-up conversations, you are still not satisfied with how your complaint is handled, your complaint should be escalated through the company in accordance to its complaints-handling procedure.
What if the complaint is still unresolved?
Energy suppliers are generally fairly good at dealing with complaints, but if the supplier has not satisfactorily handled your complaint after eight weeks, you should take it to the energy ombudsman, who will take it up on your behalf.
The ombudsman service is free to use and independent of gas and electricity suppliers and the regulator Ofgem. You can find the ombudsman service online at www.os-energy.org or you can contact the service by phone on 0330 440 1624.
Can anyone else help?
Citizens Advice has taken over the role previously carried out by the government-funded Consumer Direct call centre. It offers free, impartial advice and can be reached on 0345 404 0506, or found online at www.adviceguide.org.uk
Switch and save
If your complaint is simply that your supplier is too expensive, you can save money by switching suppliers or tariffs through MoneySuperMarket.
Our comparison service will search the market and calculate whether you're currently paying over the odds for your energy and if you'd be better off by switching from your current electricity or gas suppliers to the cheapest suppliers and/or tariffs.
To see if you could save money by switching, compare cheap gas and electricity quotes on our energy channel.
†10% of customers could save up to £670. MoneySuperMarket Data, May 2016