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.

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