By Pádraig Hoare
Almost half of customer complaints made about energy firms were upheld last year, while electricity and gas supply generated 90% of complaints that require an investigation.
Those were some of the findings of the Commission for Regulation of Utilities in its annual report on consumer care.
The commission said it opened 232 investigations into complaints within the energy sector in 2017, and that 46% were either upheld in favour of the customer, or the customer accepted a settlement offer.
The electricity and gas supply and networks market generated 90% of all complex complaints, which are contacts from customers that require a full investigation.
Billing issues made up the majority of complex complaints closed in electricity and gas, at 58% and 69%, the commission said.
While Electric Ireland held the largest combined market share at 46%, it accounted for 26% of all complex complaints closed.
By comparison, Bord Gáis Energy, with a combined market share of 23% in 2017, accounted for 42% of all complex complaints closed, the commission report said.
SSE Airtricity had a 14% market share but contributed only 2% of complex complaints.
SSE Airtricity, PrePayPower and Electric Ireland fall below the average level of complaints per 10,000 customers in 2017 for large suppliers, who have more than 100,000 customers.
The number of complex complaints relating to water decreased by 46% in 2017, mainly due to the suspension of domestic billing in 2017, the commission said.
It said that it investigated and closed 26 complex complaints relating to Irish Water in 2017.