How to make a complaint about your energy supplier

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A reliable gas and electricity supply is one of the most important things in your home, powering everything from your central heating, to keep you warm, to your oven and kettle, to keep you fed and watered.

So, when something goes wrong with the power supply, it can quickly cause all sorts of problems, and you may feel you need to make a complaint against your energy supplier - no one enjoys making a complaint, but sometimes there’s no other option.

However uncomfortable the situation, or how difficult the procedure, energy provider complaints are well within your rights if you feel something isn’t up to standard. Suppliers have a duty of care to provide you with the service that you subscribed to upon entering a contract, and if you don’t feel they’re doing this, here’s how to make a complaint.

How to complain to your energy supplier

If you feel you’ve got grounds for a complaint, don’t take it straight to the energy ombudsman – you first need to give your supplier the opportunity to put things right, and it’s likely they will be able to help and possibly resolve your issue.

Before you pick up the phone, or put pen to paper, make sure you have all of the information you need to hand - depending on your complaint, you might need figures, costs or details of the problem. It’s best to be fully prepared before you get in touch, as there is nothing they can do to help if they don’t have all information of your complaint.

You’ll also need to make a note of any customer service and account numbers, to help them quickly identify your details.

With everything to hand, you can then give your energy supplier a call on its designated customer services or complaints number – remember, your supplier will want to help, so make sure you stay calm while making your complaint. And always make a note of the time and date of your call, the name of the person you spoke to and the details of what was said, as you may need to refer to them later.

Depending on what the issue is, they should be able to give you advice and solve your problem. If they can’t resolve the matter straight away, it might be worth following up the complaint with a letter or email, keeping a record of any correspondence to help avoid any misunderstanding further down the line. You may even have to provide a written complaint as part of your energy suppliers’ official complaints procedure.

In any case, you’re energy supplier has at least eight weeks to resolve matters, from the date you first made the complaint. If you still believe you have an issue after this time, you can then take things it further.

How Citizens Advice can help

If your energy company isn’t able to help with your problem, or if there’s a real difference of opinion, you may want to take the matter elsewhere, such as Citizens Advice.

Citizens Advice is a free service for people who need help with an issue relating to “policies and practices that affect people’s lives”.

It will be able to tell you your rights and point you in the right direction to help with your complaint. Citizens Advice is a charity, and so won’t be able to move forward with the complaint on your behalf, but should still be able to give you some of important details about pushing to get a complaint resolved, including taking it to the energy ombudsman.

How to take your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman

If all else fails, you can take your complaint to the energy ombudsman, which can help to deal with complaints about your gas or electricity supplier, and even represent you if your case fits their criteria.

You can escalate your complaint to the ombudsman in writing, over the phone by email.

Your case must have been outstanding for eight weeks if you’re with one of the Big Six suppliers and 12 weeks if you’re with a smaller energy provider.

Once with the energy provider Ombudsman, your complaint will be dealt with until a final and full decision has been made. Once they have played their part, they will work towards an amicable solution for both parties.