Ofgem
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Co-operative Energy to pay £1.8 million for customer service failings

Following engagement with Ofgem, Co-operative Energy has agreed to pay £1.8 million to energy consumers, because it let customers down in its complaints resolution, call handling and billing processes. 

£1.6 million of this money has already been paid with the remainder to be paid shortly to those customers not yet compensated. The money that Co-op is unable to return to customers will go to the charity StepChange to help energy consumers who are in financial difficulties.

Ofgem started engaging with Co-operative Energy following a steep increase in customer complaints, reported to Ofgem and to Citizen’s Advice. These were caused by customers being unable to log into their accounts online, leaving them unable to submit meter readings or check their bill. Bills were delayed and direct debit updates stopped. New customers also experienced delay transferring to the supplier. It also took too long to resolve a significant number of customer complaints.

The issues were the result of the introduction of a new IT system in March 2015.  

Since then, the supplier has worked well with Ofgem to restore customer service levels and provide compensation to those customers directly affected by the issues. It also voluntarily withdrew from marketing activities to help focus on improving its services to its existing customers.

Co-operative Energy has given assurances that adequate processes and systems are now in place to ensure it meets its obligations and that it will provide the level of service that its customers should expect to receive. 

Martin Crouch, Ofgem senior partner said: 

“While customers experienced unacceptable levels of service, Co-operative Energy has done the right thing by taking responsibility for the situation and paying out compensation to those people affected.

“If trust is to be restored in the energy market suppliers must make amends to their customers when things go wrong. We want all suppliers to constantly ensure customers are treated fairly.”

Notes to editors

  1. Co-operative Energy put in place a new billing system in March 2015. Following the installation, multiple issues adversely affected Co-operative Energy’s customers which were brought to our attention in June 2015.
  2. Citizen’s Advice raised concerns with Ofgem relating to a high level of complaints against Co-operative Energy particularly around billing.

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