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EDF most complained-about energy supplier

John Fitzsimons
by Lovemoney Staff John Fitzsimons on 12 February 2013  |  Comments 12 comments

EDF attracted almost SIX TIMES more complaints per 100,000 customers as Scottish Power.

EDF most complained-about energy supplier

EDF has been identified as the energy supplier that attracts the most complaints from customers.

Energy regulator Ofgem has insisted that all of the 'Big Six' energy suppliers produce clearer information on exactly how many complaints they receive and how they are handled.

And now that this information has been published, it’s clear that EDF has irritated more people than most.

In the fourth quarter of last year the firm attracted a whopping 440,317 complaints. That works out at 8,072 complaints for every 100,000 customers, more than double its nearest rival.

Here’s the breakdown for each of the Big Six suppliers for the fourth quarter of last year, sorted by the number of complaints per 100,000 customers.

Supplier

Complaints received

Complaints per 100,000 customers

Complaints resolved

Complaints resolved per 100,000 customers

Complaints resolved by the end of the next working day

Complaints resolved within eight weeks

Scottish Power

71,042

1,359

73,431

1,405

68%

99%

Scottish and Southern Energy

118,111

1,435

120,852

1,468

75.22%

96.11%

British Gas

355,998

2,285

359,494

2,308

79.2%

96.3%

E.On

226,087

3,023

227,885

3,047

92.3%

97.7%

npower

222,356

4,001

221,274

3,982

85.21%

97.6%

EDF

440,317

8,072

449,906

8,248

92.3%

99%

So while EDF is far and away the most complained-about energy supplier, it does deal with those complaints quickly, as more than 90% are sorted by the end of the next working day. Contrast that with Scottish Power, which attracted the fewest complaints yet resolved just two-thirds of them by the end of the next working day.

What we are complaining about

The complaints details are published on each of the providers’ websites, which we’ve linked to below.

Most of them include a breakdown of exactly what their customers are complaining about. For example, the biggest issue for E.On customers is its customer service (32% of complaints), while npower’s are more down to its billing (a whopping 67% of complaints).

Scottish Power

Scottish and Southern Energy

British Gas

E.On

npower

EDF

How to complain

Each provider will have its own dedicated complaints contact details. When you complain, make sure you are clear about what the problem is and keep records of exactly what is said.

Try to keep your cool too. Losing your temper won’t actually help at all.

If your complaint is not handled within eight weeks – and as the table above demonstrates, the vast majority are – then you can take your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman, an independent, Ofgem-approved body.

Head over to the Energy Ombudsman website to find out more about what it does.

Switch!

Even if the supplier does address your issue, you may have decided that enough is enough. In which case, make sure you use Lovemoney’s energy comparison engine to find the best deal for you.

Which energy suppliers have you complained about? How did they deal with your issue? Let us know your thoughts in the Comment box below.

More on gas and electricity

How to pay 2011 energy prices!

Millions of energy customers missing out on financial help

The Green Deal explained

The UK’s worst energy provider

Ten ways to save on energy

The alternatives to the Big Six energy providers

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Comments (12)

  • Happybill
    Love rating 0
    Happybill said

    What is the problem?. I have been an EDF customer for several years, Dual Fuel , pay by direct debit.

    If I have a query, the UK based customer service team are polite, knowledgeable and have some discretion to act. Sometimes, when the computer thinks my monthly payment should be increased, I generally disagree, and reply that there should be a smaller rise, or none at all. Customer services has always gone along with my offer. The bills are clear, accurate and prompt. Estimated figures are readily and rapidly entered into revised bills/statements.

    I have no connection with EDF other than as a customer.

    Report on 12 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • danferr00
    Love rating 0
    danferr00 said

    I was with EDF. "Happybill" i agree that the monthly payments - as the computer thinks - were always much bigger ( triple or more the amount i should pay ). I had to call every single month to complain about the warning letter sent to me saying that my next direct debit will be £170 for electricity (in a small flat for 1 person that is away one week per month due to my profession ). The gentleman on the phone always explaining to me that it is the... computer that says so...

    I can ensure you "Happybill" it is not the computer who decides, but EDF has programmed this computer to issue these bills. Why ?? Some customers don't call back, like i did every month. As a result, the Direct Debit of their next bill is much more than they should pay. Can you imagine how much money EDF has made through this system ??

    Well... you might say that they will balance the money at a later stage, when you leave them. Have you tried to leave them ?? I have and it was a living hell, as it took ages for them to inform my next supplier of all the readings and produce an accurate bill. I spent a lot of time on the phone with EDF; this is not why i am in this world - to spend time talking to a man from my energy supplier who claims that i should pay triple, 'cos the computer decides.

    Nevertheless, i am happy that you are happy with EDF and I do respect your experience. Just a question though. Didn't you have to call every time your bill was higher than expected in order to put it right and EDF not take the money from your account by DD next month ?? As you said you had to call every time. Do you find this acceptable ??

    Report on 12 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • r
    Love rating 98
    r said

    Five out of the six electricity suppliers shown had more complaints resolved than they had actual complaints!

    How accurate are these figures?

    r.

    Report on 12 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • fenemore
    Love rating 251
    fenemore said

    None of this surprises me - EDF is wholly owned by the French Government. So much for privatisation!

    Report on 12 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • hopefultom
    Love rating 50
    hopefultom said

    danferr00

    I have recently switched from EDF to OVO and I had a smooth switchover; they owed me £1.03 which was promptly paid into my bank account. Now this does not mean that EDF are necessarily a good company to deal with; it just means that I was luckier than you in this instance.

    I could go on to tell you about my bad experience with Atlantic ( SSE in disguise ) a few years ago but it would just go to prove the point, which has been made on these comment boards previously, that every big company has it's satisfied, and dissatisfied customers. It's just the luck of the draw

    r

    Good point, well spotted.

    How about it John? Did you compose this piece in the wine bar?

    Report on 12 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • jennysue19
    Love rating 6
    jennysue19 said

    This doesn't surprise me one bit. I have been on prepayment meters since my ex-spouse stopped paying bills without telling me and debts built up. EDF whacked massive amounts on top of the debt to have the prepayment meters and in the case of the gas account, have failed to keep proper records of the debt reduction despite several warnings and requests. They then tried to say that my debt was over £100 more than my records suggested. It was only when I challenged this, did they admit that they did not have proper records and some of them were on a now-defunct computer system and had not been transferred. In angry discussions about this before Christmas, I found out that my meter was faulty. They have replaced it, but have not applied either the weekly repayment that was agreed in that conversation, nor the reduction to my outstanding bill. It still looks like the only time that deductions are made from the debt is when I top up the card (fortnightly) although the meter can also deduct debt contributions on any Wednesday that there are sufficient funds on the meter when it does not seem to affect the debt balance as it does on a top-up. As they have failed to keep to the terms of the agreement made in December, I am now taking the complaint to the Ombudsman. It is outrageous that any company to which you owe money does not have adequate means to document every payment made against that debt and to provide it to the customer promptly on request and it beggars belief that they have got away with it for so long. Prepayment customers broadly represent the poorest energy consumers in the country and I am not satisfied that we are getting a fair deal.

    Report on 12 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • John Fitzsimons
    Love rating 43
    John Fitzsimons said

    If only I got to write my articles from a wine bar!

    As I explain in the piece, the figures are for the fourth quarter of last year. There will be complaints unresolved from the third quarter, which were then dealt with in the fourth quarter, which should explain why in some cases the 'complaints resolved' figure is higher than the 'new complaints received' figure

    Hope that makes sense

    John

    Editor

    Report on 13 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Salfordguy
    Love rating 22
    Salfordguy said

    I have nothing but praise for EDF. I moved from E.On for a cheaper deal a couple of years ago. The direct debit has hardly changed and they were consistently the best deal around as I regularly check on the comparison sites. Was on Fixed until Dec 2012. Then they offered me Fix until March 2014 as the deal ended, and it was a simple internet swap. I could have gone for one that was variable and £40 cheaper a year (at this moment). If you get the direct debit right from the start you shouldnt have a problem. It really is your responsibility to tell them the amount you use over the year.

    Report on 13 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • bob7685
    Love rating 0
    bob7685 said

    Having been a keen reader since the Motley fool days, this is the first subject to have inspired me to post a comment. I have thankfully recently left EDF after an appalling experience using them as my energy provider.

    Over the years I have been with five of the big six, usually changing when my fixed price deal ends. At the last change in June 2011, EDF were marginally cheapest with the comparison sites on their dual fuel Fixed S@ver v2 ending September 2012.

    Shortly after first agreeing (sorry being told) a monthly sum for gas and electricity, they increased the monthly direct debit without reference to me. Using their "contact us" service is just ignored or they are having technical difficulties and unlike more professional suppliers, when you do manage to send a message you do not receive an email confirmation so you have a record of your comments. This of course allows them to deny the complaint was ever made!

    Over the months the direct debit was constantly increased by EDF without reference to me. I resorted to writing letters to their Customer Team in Exeter which again were ignored or claimed to have not been received (yes that excuse was still alive and well in 2012 with EDF!) I had a constant battle with them to reduce the monthly payments as I knew they were grossly over estimating my consumption. Totally ignored.

    I couldn't wait to leave them when the fixed price expired on 30th Sept 2012. The transfer to Scottish Power was (thankfully) handled by SP not EDF - what a difference! You have a query, let them know a convenient time on their website and they ring you back!

    When I left EDF they had overcharged me £202 gas and £161 electricity. Not a word of apology. The final insult - having had to resort to a recorded delivery letter to Exeter which they could not deny receiving, I did get a telephone call from them to explain that although they account for gas and electricity with separate online bills, the credit due for both utilities is absorbed into the gas bill. She even admitted this was a very confusing method!

    Good riddance to EDF - I am not in the slightest surprised that they top the league in complaints. For my part I would not use them again even if they were half the price of the others. Be warned people.

    Report on 15 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Salfordguy
    Love rating 22
    Salfordguy said

    @bob you say EDF overcharged you. I say you were on an extremely good dual fuel deal that just needed the direct debit corrected. You can put readings on through their website!

    Report on 18 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Arblaster
    Love rating 43
    Arblaster said

    Try to keep your cool too. Losing your temper won’t actually help at all.

    Oh, it does help. You feel sooooooooo much better...

    And it is also beneficial to the person on the other end. Before he answered your call, he was totally unaware that he wasn't fit to mop the floor of the brothel his mother came from. So for him it was educational. And the woman who answers the phone who is told that she is so stupid that if she were told that St Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, she would ask if the stake were rump or sirloin. For the first time in her life, she has heard of St Joan of Arc.

    Why don't I believe the figures for npower and British Gas? If they were the only two energy companies, I would go offgrid.

    Report on 18 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • forgefolk
    Love rating 0
    forgefolk said

    So most energy supply companies above resolve more complaints per 100,000 customers than they receive. That's impressive! Come on npower, you are falling behind.

    Report on 26 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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