Ofgem takes action to limit complaints

Energy regulator Ofgem is to force gas and electricity companies to compensate consumers who experience problems when changing to another supplier. The move follows an increase in the number of complaints received by consumer body Energywatch.

Energywatch handles 3,500 complaints a month about customer problems when changing suppliers. The call for compensation will be made next week at an energy summit held jointly by Ofgem and Energy-watch.

A spokesman for Ofgem says: “We are hoping that the companies come up with a compensation scheme, otherwise we will impose a fine every time a customer faces a problem when switching suppliers.”

He adds that this will help address fears that problems in customer transfers may deter consumers from making the switch.

This will be the first time the energy regulator has cracked down on customer transfer complaints. In the past it has focused on issues such as mis-selling and direct sales.

Last month the Association of Energy Suppliers launched a new code of practice for direct selling. Developed in consultation with Ofgem, Energywatch and key members of the industry, the code commits all energy suppliers to higher standards in energy sales (MW last week).

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