How to make an energy company complaint

Modern households are completely reliant on energy, something you probably don’t even realise until something happens to your supply. When something goes wrong with your energy supply, it can be frustrating and time-consuming trying to sort everything out. What can make a bad situation even worse is if you feel your energy supplier is being unfair and you’re stuck in a tense situation. When this happens, you might be wondering how to complain about your energy supplier. It might seem confusing, but overall there are three simple steps you can take to make sure you can voice your concerns.

Woman complaining on phone

Last updated: 23 October 2020

There are three main methods you can use when making a complaint relating to your gas or electricity supply:

Method 1: Complain to your energy supplier

In an ideal world, your energy supplier should be able to address any concerns or complaints you might have about your supply. When something goes wrong, contact your supplier sooner rather than later, explaining what the issue is and how you want the matter resolved. Sometimes a quick phone call is all that’s required to handle problems with your gas and electricity.

If you’re not able to call or if your call doesn’t produce a satisfactory outcome, you can escalate matters by writing an email or letter to your supplier. This will provide a written record of your contact that you can refer back to at a later date if the issue continues to be unresolved. If you want proof that your letter has been received, ask your local post office to send your letter using the Royal Mail’s Signed For service.

When you make a complaint to your energy supplier, you should clearly outline:

  • Your name and account number

  • The problem you’re experiencing

  • The ideal outcome 

  • Further steps you’ll take if your energy provider cannot resolve your issue

  • A reasonable timeframe in which you expect a response, e.g. a fortnight

Make sure you keep a copy of any written correspondence you have with your energy company and note down details of any calls you have. This will make it easier if you need to refer back to previous communication and may save you time in the long run.

Your energy provider should be able to resolve the following matters quickly:

Method 2: Contact the Citizens Advice consumer service

Citizens Advice helps to protect the rights of consumers when they buy goods or services. The organisation routinely deals with problems relating to contracts and poor service, so it’s worth contacting its staff if you’re unhappy with the way your energy supplier has responded to your complaint. Where appropriate, Citizens Advice will advise you on how to contact the Energy Ombudsman who can investigate your complaint further.

Local office You can find your nearest bureau on the contact us page the Citizen Advice website.
Online chat You can also speak to a trained advisor via the Citizen Advice online chat service, which is available Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm
Phone number 03444 111 444
Textphone 03444 111 445

Method 3: Contact the Energy Ombudsman

If you’re still having trouble agreeing on a fair solution with your energy provider, you can contact the Energy Ombudsman to escalate your complaint. This independent body has helped settle disputes with around 450 energy suppliers and can intervene on your behalf. 

The Energy Ombudsman frequently helps mediate:

  • Bill disputes

  • Issues that arise when switching energy suppliers

  • How energy products or services have been sold

  • Problems with energy supplies

  • Micro-generation and feed-in-tariffs* 

  • Issues relating to the government’s Green Deal

  • Heat Trust Scheme complaints

  • Loss of supply

* Relates to domestic production of renewable energy

If your energy company is classed as one of the big six energy suppliers – British Gas, E.ON, EDF, Npower, Scottish Power or OVO Energy/SSE – you can escalate your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman if the issue raised hasn’t been resolved after eight weeks. If your supplier is a smaller company, you have to wait 12 weeks before contacting the Energy Ombudsman.

AddressOmbudsman Services: Energy, PO Box 966, Warrington, WA4 9DF
Email enquiry@ombudsman-services.org
Phone number 0330 440 1624

Is it worth complaining to the Energy Ombudsman?

When you’ve already spent so much time complaining to your energy company, you might be wondering if it’s worth complaining to the energy ombudsman. The answer is yes. If you’re still unhappy, the ombudsman can help you get a response from your energy company, whether it’s an apology, a clearer explanation or even some form of financial recompense. You should complain to the Energy Ombudsman if:

  • It’s been eight or twelve weeks since your first complaint and the issue with your supplier is still unresolved (you need to wait longer when dealing with a smaller energy company).

  • You’ve received a deadlock letter – in which case you need to contact the Ombudsman within twelve months of the letter’s date.

How to complain about the Energy Ombudsman service

In rare cases, you may be dissatisfied with the service of the Energy Ombudsman. In this case, first contact the person who dealt with your complaint, or their manager. They will immediately try to resolve any concerns you have. If that doesn’t help solve the issue, you can follow the Energy Ombudsman’s complaint procedure, which can help if:

  • you received rude service

  • the Ombudsman representative didn’t follow procedure

  • you weren’t updated on progress

  • your complaint was delayed unnecessarily 

The Energy Ombudsman complaint procedure can’t help if: 

  • you wish to complain because you disagree with the Ombudsman ruling 

  • your energy supplier didn’t follow through with the agreed solution

Any complaint made using the Energy Ombudsman’s complaint procedure should be made via the service’s website within six months of your contact with the mediator.

Can the Energy Ombudsman award compensation?

Yes, the Energy Ombudsman can award compensation in appropriate circumstances. In 2019, Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) introduced new requirements for suppliers to automatically pay compensation in some cases, in an effort to reduce the case-load of problems caused by suppliers. You’re most likely to receive compensation because:

  • there was a delay in switching between providers

  • you received bills late

  • you had to wait a long time for credit to be refunded

Ofgem complaints

You can’t make a direct complaint to Ofgem about your energy provider– it only becomes involved in disputes between customers and suppliers if one of the parties is unhappy with the Energy Ombudsman’s provisional ruling. In this case, the Ombudsman may invite you to apply to Ofgem for a ‘determination’. 

Ofgem complaints regarding accredited energy price comparison sites can be made by email at consumeraffairs@ofgem.gov.uk or by calling 020 7901 7295.

What does Ofgem do?

Ofgem regulates energy companies in the UK. It’s a government organisation that acts as an energy watchdog to protect consumer rights in the energy market and keep suppliers in line with agreed license conditions.