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Iresa Energy named worst energy company for customer service amid record complaint levels

27 June 2018

Iresa Energy has come bottom of Citizens Advice’s energy star rating system. The company scored just 0.35 stars out of a possible 5 for its customer service between January and March this year.

The supplier received the worst-ever complaints score recorded by Citizens Advice, receiving a score of over 9,000 complaints per 100,000 customers. This is five times higher that the next worst supplier, TOTO Energy, which received 1,800 complaints.

So Energy came top of the table, with a score of 4.8 stars, while SSE was the best performing of the largest six energy suppliers, scoring 4.25 stars out of 5.

Small suppliers failings reveal flaws in regulation

Iresa has been unable to take on new customers since March due to a provisional order from the energy regulator Ofgem. This intervention came after Citizens Advice referred the company for repeated customer service failings.

One Iresa customer contacted Citizens Advice after receiving a request for a one-off payment of £1000. Another person was unable to contact Iresa to get their problem resolved for over three months.

Other companies near the bottom of the table include TOTO -  recently criticised for transferring customers to another supplier without adequate communication - Robin Hood Energy and Avro.

The charity is highlighting the poor performance of some smaller energy companies and newer market entrants, arguing this demonstrates the need for Ofgem to tighten its licensing rules.

Citizens Advice believes it is currently too easy for firms to set themselves up as a new energy supplier. Its figures suggest that some firms enter the market before they are prepared to deliver good quality customer service.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Iresa’s low score will come as no surprise for its customers, who have had to put up with continued problems. These include inaccurate billing, long phone queues and even being blocked from switching to a new supplier.

“It’s vital now that Ofgem does more to protect consumers from poor customer service. The regulator’s upcoming review of licensing rules must do two things: make it easier to stop unprepared suppliers from entering the market, and take poorly performing companies out of the market faster.”

Supplier

Star rating January to March 2018

So Energy

4.8

Engie

4.3

E (Gas and Electricity)

4.3

SSE

4.25

British Gas

4.1

Bristol Energy

4.05

Green Network Energy

4.05

Bulb Energy

3.85

EDF Energy

3.85

Tonik Energy

3.85

Octopus Energy

3.8

Ovo Energy

3.55

Utility Warehouse

3.45

First Utility

3.4

npower

3.4

Scottish Power

3.3

Co-operative Energy

3.2

Flow Energy

3.1

E.ON

2.95

Ecotricity

2.95

PFP Energy

2.85

Good Energy

2.55

iSupply

2.4

Economy Energy

2.3

Extra Energy

2.3

Green Star Energy

2.2

Utilita

2.2

Spark Energy

2

Avro Energy

1.7

Robin Hood Energy

1.7

TOTO Energy

1.6

Iresa

0.35

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice compares energy suppliers' customer service by looking at information from a number of sources. Information about complaints comes from the Citizens Advice Consumer Service, the Energy Help Unit and Energy Ombudsman. Citizens Advice uses its legal powers to request information on customer service, billing and switching  from suppliers. Information on customer guarantees comes from Energy UK. Energy suppliers are given a score out of 5 for each category. 1 is poor and 5 is excellent (a zero score is given if a supplier does not provide the necessary data).Suppliers then receive an overall star rating out of 5. Not all categories are equal with some counting more towards the final score than others. Further information on the methodology can be found here.
  2. Consumers can use this information to find their best energy deal on the Citizens Advice Energy Comparison Tool.
  3. Citizens Advice has a statutory role as the consumer advocate for energy consumers across the UK.
  4. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  5. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  6. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit 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. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  9. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.