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Clear Connections

14 May 2015

Improving the energy customer journey on sources of  advice and redress

The volume of energy complaints has risen in recent years, at rates even greater than the increase in energy prices themselves.

In this situation, it is critical that consumers have access to reliable, free and independent advice on resolving complaints. Citizens Advice has a statutory duty to provide that advice, and does so through the Citizens Advice consumer service (CS).

However, we were concerned that the CS was not being promoted consistently by energy suppliers or by other bodies involved in the energy complaint handling process .

We therefore commissioned an audit of energy suppliers’ written materials and websites in the autumn of 2014, which was an update to earlier baseline research and examined the websites of all agencies involved in the energy complaint journey.

During this audit, we concentrated on the extent to which information about the help available to consumers is promoted to them.

The first two sections of this paper set out the background to the research and the findings from the assessment process.

The final section presents our recommendations. Although these concentrate on the issues above, we believe it is critical that complaint handling sits within a wider, integrated framework of advice on energy issues.

We are currently exploring how best to achieve this ‘one-stop-shop’ approach across the sector as a whole, and our recommendations should be seen within that wider setting.