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Friday 19 July 2019

Energy regulator sees huge surge in consumer complaints

Photo: Stock image
Photo: Stock image
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

There has been a rise in complaints about energy companies, mainly related to disputes about bills.

Most of the complaints upheld were against Electric Ireland, the market-leading energy supplier. Half of all the grievances that were investigated were upheld in favour of consumers, the energy regulator has revealed.

The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities said it was contacted by almost 5,000 consumers last year, a 63pc rise on the previous year.

Almost 300 of these contacts turned into complaints, mostly about utility companies.

The regulator stressed that it provides an independent complaints resolution service for consumers who have unresolved disputes with their energy supplier and with network operator Irish Water.

The service is free.

There was a 63pc rise in customer contacts received by the regulator last year, with 4,870 householders getting on to the customer care team.

The regulator said it received 295 complaints, an increase of 15pc on the number of complaints received in 2017.

A total of 279 complaints were investigated and closed in 2018, an increase of 25pc on 2017.

The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities said the largest share of upheld complaints against energy suppliers was against Electric Ireland.

The second largest share of upheld complaints was against Bord Gáis Energy. Next was SSE Airtricity, although it contributed to only 1pc of upheld complex complaints.

Pay-as-you-go supplier Pinergy had a high number of upheld complaints relative to its market share, the regulator said.

Irish Independent

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