Energywatch slams direct-selling techniques used by energy providers

Consumer watchdog Energywatch has reported a 69 per cent increase in complaints about the aggressive direct-selling techniques used by electricity providers, according to its latest figures.

Energywatch also says that complaints against direct-selling techniques of gas providers have increased by as much as 35 per cent.

The energy regulator Ofgem was recently at odds with Energywatch over the number of direct-selling complaints, with Ofgem claiming that the number of complaints is on the decrease (MW last week).

The latest Energywatch figures (July to September 2001) show that npower is still the biggest offender in the number of direct-selling complaints about electricity, with 1.10 complaints per thousand transfers (of energy supplier). The average is 0.6 complaints per thousand.

Last year, Ofgem gave two warnings to electricity provider npower to improve the practices of its sales agents. The second was issued as the number of complaints about the company remained persistently above the industry average (MW October 4, 2001).

At the time, Ofgem gave npower until January 31, 2002 to clean up its act. The industry regulator says it will wait for at least the next two months before it decides what course of action to take, since it relies on Energywatch to provide it with data.

Seeboard remains above industry average, with 2.53 complaints per thousand gas transfers – an increase from 1.78 complaints according to the May to July 2001 figures. The average is 0.7 per thousand transfers.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here