E.On Next to pay compensation to 500,000-plus customers for poor service

Customers of E.ON Next were forced to wait on hold for 18 minutes on average, while half of all calls failed to contact the supplier, Ofgem said.

Power supplier E.On Next has been ordered to pay £5m in compensation to more than 500,000 customers for “unacceptable” call services.

Ofgem said a review of customer service standards and complaints-handling across the sector uncovered “severe weaknesses” at E.On Next, with customers facing long call waiting times and a high level of unanswered calls.

Customers were forced to wait on hold for 18 minutes on average, while half of all calls were dropped and failed to contact the supplier, according to Ofgem.

The regulator said E.On Next will pay £4m to more than 500,000 customers that were potentially affected, working out at £8 each.

It will also pay a further £1m to Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund, which supports vulnerable energy consumers and other innovation and carbon emission reducing investments.

Cathryn Scott, director for enforcement and emerging issues at Ofgem, said the penalty for E.On Next “shows Ofgem’s determination to stand up for the rights of consumers and drive up standards”.

She said: “The very least that a customer should expect of their supplier is for them to pick up the phone to them in a timely way.

“The levels of service that we discovered at E.On Next during the period of review were unacceptable.

“As the energy regulator, our purpose is to protect energy consumers and this action serves as a reminder to all suppliers that they must ensure that their customers are able to contact them quickly and easily when they need to.

“This is particularly important during this time of volatile energy prices when many households are struggling with their bills.”

E.On Next was told immediately to improve the call response rate following the probe, which took place between October and December last year.

It has since cut call waiting times to less than five minutes and the dropped call rate is now below 10%.

An E.On spokesman said the firm had already begun improving its services before the Ofgem review.

He said: “We won’t shy away from the fact that we weren’t at our best, but we’re heartened Ofgem recognises our efforts and our success in improving service levels even before this review began.

“We hit our agreed targets with Ofgem on day one and we’ve stayed there ever since.”

Ofgem said its review of the sector required all suppliers to make customer service improvements after it found moderate weaknesses at 11 companies, including British Gas, EDF and Scottish Power.

Minor weakness were found at five suppliers – Bulb, Ecotricity, Green Energy, Shell and Octopus – and it said not one supplier was found to have no weaknesses at all.

In some instances, customers were left waiting for hours on the phone, while they also faced poor complaints handling with a high level of complaints upheld by the energy ombudsman.

Ofgem said a survey of 3,000 households last November and December – which was funded by Citizens’ Advice and Ofgem and carried out by Quadrangle Research – found overall customer satisfaction with energy suppliers was among the worst ever seen since tracking began in 2018.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in