UK customers bitter about energy bills, complaints soar

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Britons' complaints about their energy suppliers rose by 26% from July to September, says a report published by Consumer Focus, a leading UK consumer watchdog.

Some of the biggest energy suppliers in the UK, such as EDF Energy, npower and E.ON have dropped a star in the league table rating.

EDF Energy scored the worst, while the electricity and natural gas supplier SSE had the lowest number of complaints, the government-funded consumer watchdog says.

Complaints to EDF Energy, up almost 100% on the same quarter last year, are deemed to have a “catastrophic impact on its rating”, said Adam Scorer, head of external affairs at Consumer Focus.

A major driver for the surge in complaints was the rise in prices announced by the six leading energy suppliers between June and September. EDF’s prices rose by 15.4% for gas and 4.5% for electricity while E.ON’s prices rose by 18.1% for gas, 11.4% for electricity and 15.2% for customers receiving both gas and electricity from the supplier.

Consumers’ lack of trust has also played a role in the rising number of complaints.

“It is disappointing, but perhaps not surprising, that complaints on energy issues have risen at a time when energy bills are increasing. Energy companies have repeatedly said they want to rebuild consumer trust. Good customer service and complaints handling are key ingredients to building consumer trust but suppliers still have a long way to go,” Scorer said.

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