In a bid to reduce people’s dissatisfaction with electricity and gas suppliers, Ofgem has introduced a number of domestic energy market reforms in recent years.
As a result of these reforms, households should now find it easier to compare tariffs from different suppliers using price comparison sites, as well as have a better understanding of their energy bills and be more confident in the transparency of their energy suppliers.
Among the reforms is the ability to claim compensation if your energy supplier or distributor delivers a less than satisfactory service.
If you’re unhappy with your energy supplier, it’s easier than ever to vote with your feet and switch to a better deal with a new provider.
If switching isn’t enough, and you want to make a complaint about your previous energy supplier, you need to contact them directly, outlining the issue - you might be even able to claim compensation for issues like:
Each supplier will have its own written complaints procedure that you’ll have to follow when making your complaint, so when contacting your supplier, make it clear that you are calling or writing to make a complaint. Each supplier will have its own written complaints procedure that you’ll have to follow when making your complaint, so when contacting your supplier, make it clear that you are calling or writing to make a complaint.
Your supplier should then give you a time frame within which they expect to resolve your complaint – the Big Six energy companies have to resolve issues within eight weeks, while the smaller suppliers are given twelve weeks.
If your supplier takes longer than stated, you can then take your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman, who will look into your case and may award you compensation.
You may also be eligible for compensation from your gas and electricity supplier in the following circumstances:
If you feel you have been unfairly pressured or misled into signing up to an energy deal – whether by a doorstep salesperson or a telesales agent – you may be able to claim compensation, and could also be entitled to £250 recompense if you’ve been switched to another supplier without your permission.
If this happens to you, you first need to contact the energy supplier in question, who should be able to reverse any changes to your account and refund any payments you have made due to mis-selling.
If your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, or within the specified timeframe, you can contact the Energy Ombudsman who will look into your case and may award you compensation.
If your supplier needs to work on your electricity or gas supply for any reason, they should give you the choice of a morning or afternoon visit, and typically specify a four-hour window for the visit, but you can ask for a two-hour slot.
If your supplier misses the appointment without letting you know, and due to events out of their control, you can claim up to £30 in compensation. This will either be credited back to your account, or sent by cheque, depending upon how you pay your bills, and if it’s not paid within ten days, you can claim a further £30.
If your supply is cut off due to a faulty prepayment meter, your supplier has to send someone to fix the problem within three hours, so long as it’s reported between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday. If you report it outside of these hours, it has until 1pm the following day, and four hours is given to fix this problem over the weekend. If these deadlines are missed, you can claim £30 from your supplier.
If your energy supply has been disrupted without warning, or a power outage lasts more than 24 hours, you can claim compensation so long as the electricity distributor or gas transporter is at fault.
If the outage is caused by the supply being cut during works, a tripped fuse, or you’ve not paid your bill, then you won’t be able to claim compensation.
If the power cut was planned, your supplier must give you at least two days’ notice. If not, you can claim £30 compensation within 30 days of the outage.
For unexpected power cuts, the level of compensation you can claim depends upon the cause and the number of homes affected:
To help your compensation claim, make a note of the time and date of the disruption, and how long it lasted. Your claim should be settled within 10 days of the power cut.
You can also claim compensation if you are inconvenienced due to an electricity or gas network operator, that is the company in charge of the pipes and cables that transport energy to your property.
You can claim compensation from your electricity network operator if:
You can claim compensation from your gas network operator if:
If you’re a vulnerable energy customer and you experience a power cut or your gas supply is stopped, your supplier should help arrange an alternative supply while repair or maintenance work is carried out.
You’ll need to write to your regional electricity network operator or your regional gas network operator in order to claim compensation for a power outage. You should do this within three months of your supply being restored for electricity and within 28 working days for gas.
To find out who supplies your gas, call the Meter Point Administration Service on 0800 540 4538.
To find out who supplies your electricity, visit Energy Networks Association for your local distribution company’s contact number.