Skip to main content

Energy Supply: Complaints

Volume 459: debated on Monday 30 April 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will hold discussions with Ofgem on British Gas Services' setting up of a complaints handling service that is available to the public; (133992)

(2) if he will take steps to ensure that energy suppliers have effective and transparent complaints procedures.

The Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Bill, which is currently before Parliament, would place a duty on the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) to make regulations to prescribe standards for the handling of complaints by regulated suppliers in the energy sector. Regulated energy suppliers will thus be obliged, at the very least, to have in place the prescribed standards of complaints handling. The Bill will also introduce new redress schemes for electricity, gas and postal services, which will be able to resolve the full range of consumer complaints in these sectors and make provision for customer redress, including, where appropriate, the payment of compensation.

Customers currently have access to a complaint-handling service operated by Energywatch if they are unable to resolve a dispute directly with their gas and electricity supplier. Customers may also contact the Energy Supply Ombudsman, which can resolve complaints in respect of problems encountered with billing or changing supplier.