Energy firms investigated but given new customers
Economy Energy and Our Power ceased trading recently, and their customers have been moved to Ovo Energy and Utilita. However, both these firms are themselves the subjects of inquiries into customer treatment.
They maintain that these issues are historical and that Ofgem has been extremely rigorous in its decision making.
Many customers from failed firms have encountered difficulties due to poor customer service, and this might make them question Ofgem’s decision to switch them to suppliers who are currently under investigation for this very problem.
Ofgem is looking into whether Ovo Energy gave accurate estimates to its customers over how much energy they had used during the winter of 2016-17. This potentially meant the customers were receiving inaccurate bills.
In January, Ovo Energy made a successful bid to take on the 235,000 customers who needed an energy firm because Economy Energy had gone bust.
Utilita was one of four suppliers that was put under investigation by Ofgem after a review of how suppliers were dealing with customer complaints.
This firm has now been given another 31,000 customers from the collapsed company, Our Power.
A spokesperson for Utility said that the firm had made vast improvements in its customer service, and Ofgem conduced a thorough review before awarding them the new customers.
An Ovo Energy spokesperson said: ‘Ofgem’s investigation relates to historic customer issues and does not reflect Ovo today.’
A statement from an Ofgem spokesperson went as follows:
‘As part of the supplier of last resort process we were again crystal clear with Utilita about our expectations on customer service improvement and they have made a firm commitment to improve.
They have also assured is that they have a specific plan for addressing outstanding concerns, including significantly driving down call waiting times and making it easy for all customers to contact them.
‘The tariff Utilita will put these customers on is also competitive in comparison with the prices for other suppliers for serving these customers.’
Many customers however will remain worried that their energy tariff might not be with a company that has a reputation for bad customer treatment. These consumers are able to switch when Ofgem has found them a new energy firm, and many might be better to consider this option.
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