BGE, which had a combined electricity and gas market share of 23%, constituted 43% of the complex complaints lodged against energy suppliers. Electric Ireland, which has 50% market share, accounted for 37% of the total.
In both the electricity and gas supply market, 76% of complex complaints, which are escalated to the CER and require a full investigation, included issues with inaccurate billing, incorrect account details, problems with budget plans, and large catch-up bills following estimated readings.
The CER Customer Care Team (CCT) Annual Report 2015, published yesterday, said the share of customer contacts for four of the five energy suppliers “is broadly in line with their market share”. However the “one outlier in this regard is PrePayPower, whose percentage of customer contacts is significantly higher than its market share”.
The regulator said this variance raises concerns as to what issues customers are experiencing and the CCT will engage with PrePayPower to “and work towards addressing any issues”.
The CCT closed 373 complex energy complaints in 2015 and more than half were either upheld in favour of the customer, or the customer agreed to accept an early settlement offer.
The number of complaints about Irish Water investigated by the CER was small, accounting for just 4% (16 complaints) of the total number of complex complaints closed by the CCT (389) in 2015. The majority of complex complaints (59%) centred on meter issues, including installation of the actual water meter ie lack of notice surrounding installation and damage caused to private property following meter installation. CER was given responsibility in 2014 for providing a complaints resolution service for Irish Water Customers.
In total there were 3,884 contacts from consumers in 2015, of which 3,034 were returned to the suppliers/network operators’ complaints handling process. Complaints investigated represented 9% (359) of total contacts to the CCT. Of these, 333 were made by energy customers.
The CER commissioner with responsibility for the retail sector, Aoife MacEvilly, said: “The key message to customers is to continue to assert your right to complain if you are not satisfied with the service you receive.”
Energy or water customers who have an unresolved complaint can contact the CER CCT at www.cer.ie, calling 1890 404 404, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.