Gas and electricity bodies unite to handle customer grievances

Consumer bodies, Gas Consumers Council (GCC) and National Electricity Consumers Council (NECC) have been merged to form Gas and Electricity Consumers Council (GECC) – a new body to handle gas and electricity complaints.

Effective from November 1, the GECC will assume responsibility for all customer complaints, including those that had previously been handled by the regional offices of industry regulator Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets).

Prior to the merger, both the GCC and the NECC operated as independent bodies and represented the consumer voice in all sections of the gas and electricity industry. The merged GECC will now act as an intermediary between the consumer complaints and Ofgem.

A spokesman for Ofgem says: “GECC will now be taking over Ofgem’s responsibility for handling customer complaints. However, serious complaints such as licence breaches and so on would have to be routed through Ofgem itself. The GECC will be able to refer unsolved complaints to the regulator for possible enforcement action.”

The chairman of the newly-formed GECC will be Ann Robinson, who earlier headed the GCC. The former chairman of NECC, Rodney Brooke has, however, decided not to re-apply for a position with the GECC.

Meanwhile, Ofgem has invited Internet-based companies which provide price-comparison services to sign up to a new voluntary code; this would then serve as an industry standard to calculate the savings that can be made by switching suppliers.

Signing up to the code would mean that the price-comparison service companies would need to include the available tariffs for all current energy suppliers.

The companies will not be able to carry advertising from any suppliers on the site, and the comparison table would have to be updated regularly.

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