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Extra Energy remains in bottom place for small business complaints handling

31 March 2017

Citizens Advice publishes latest energy complaints league table for small business customers.

Extra Energy has come bottom of Citizens Advice’s complaints league table for small business customers for the second quarter in a row.

The ranking - which was launched in January - measures how effectively energy suppliers are dealing with complaints from small business customers across Great Britain.  

Citizens Advice says good customer service from energy suppliers saves small businesses from wasting time on problems such as inaccurate billing or contract issues.

At the top of the table, SSE delivers the best complaints handling score of 11.7 per 10,000 customers. Last quarter’s best performer E.ON takes second place - but with an improved score of 17.9 per 10,000 customers.

Extra Energy delivers the worst complaints handling performance - receiving a ratio of 1231.2 per 10,000 customers.

Common problems for Extra Energy business customers included not being notified when a contract was coming to an end and subsequently rolled onto a more expensive tariffs. When this happened small businesses had problems cancelling their contracts.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:

“Energy problems can cause serious setbacks for small businesses.

“Firms rely on a smooth service from energy suppliers to grow and develop. Problems such as inaccurate bills or contract issues can undermine these efforts and waste small businesses’ precious time and money.

“Citizens Advice’s small business complaints league table can help firms build up a picture of how well energy suppliers are managing problems for their business customers.  

“All energy suppliers must step up efforts to resolve issues quickly and satisfactorily and ensure they are delivering consistently high quality service for their small business customers.”

The small business league table ranks the performance of the 15 largest firms providing energy to 10,000 or more small non-domestic customers. These business customers are defined as those who have 10 or fewer staff or a turnover of under £1.7 million.

Suppliers’ scores are calculated based on the seriousness of the complaint against them and how long it took to resolve. Firms with lower complaints ratios are better at resolving complaints than those with high scores.

This month, Citizens Advice launched a new online tool for household energy customers to measure how good their supplier is at customer service. The star rating for each energy supplier appears as part of Citizens Advice’s price comparison tool - to help people make an informed choice about switching based on both price and customer service.

October - December 2016 Rank

Supplier

October - December 2016 Ratio

July - September 2016 Ratio

1

SSE

11.7

29.0

2

E.ON Energy

17.9

21.1

3

CNG

29.5

34.2

4

Opus Energy

76.9

95.6

5

EDF Energy

81.3

68.9

6

Haven Power

97.9

111.8

7

British Gas Business

103.3

93.2

8

Utility Warehouse

115.8

59.4

9

Gazprom

155.5

110.0

10

Npower

164.0

169.2

11

Total Gas and Power

165.6

74.7

12

Scottish Power

215.8

152.3

13

Dual Energy

264.8

96.2

14

Business Energy Solutions (BES)

394.1

411.4

15

Extra Energy

1231.2

1225.4

Notes to editors

    1. The Citizens Advice non-domestic league table ranks the 15 largest energy firms with more than 10,000 non-domestic customers. The data is based on the number of non-domestic consumers that have contacted an independent organisation for advice or support with an energy problem. Complaints made to the Citizens Advice consumer service, the Extra Help Unit and Ombudsman Services: Energy are weighted differently to reflect the severity of the complaint. Weightings have been allocated to reflect the seriousness of the complaint and the time and effort spent by the consumer to get their problem resolved. The weightings in the model place greater emphasis on situations where the consumer has had to repeatedly contact their supplier, or another agency, because the company has failed to deal with their problem. The measures used in the model are outlined in the methodology.

    2. The table’s definition of a non-domestic consumer uses Ofgem’s micro-business consumer criteria.

    3. To get energy advice online, visit citizensadvice.org.uk/energy or contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers. The service offers free, impartial advice about your rights, and the complaints process, and it can also refer energy consumers to bodies that are better able to assist if that’s needed.

    4. Citizens Advice is made up of a network of over 300 independent local charities across England and Wales, the Citizens Advice consumer service and the national charity Citizens Advice. We help people with everything from money issues or problems at work to housing or consumer rights.

    5. Citizens Advice is here for everyone and provides free, confidential and independent advice to help people overcome their problems. We are a voice for the people we help and consumers and advocate on the issues that matter to them.

    6. To find your nearest Citizens Advice in England and Wales or to get advice online, go to citizensadvice.org.uk

    7. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.

    8. Last year we helped over 2.7 million people face to face, by phone, email or webchat.

    9. Citizens Advice services are provided by 23,000 trained volunteers and 7,200 paid staff in 2,900 locations across England and Wales