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Ofgem punishes EDF for poor customer service

30th Jul 2009
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Coming on top of another payout, energy supplier EDF has been given an even heftier fine for its poor customer service.

Poor customer service has led to a massive fine for energy supplier EDF which was punished to the tune of £2m by regulator Ofgem.

The French company – which operates as one of Britain’s Big Six energy suppliers – failed to meet statutory timescales for providing offers to customers requesting a connection to its electricity networks. EDF's licence states that it must present new customers with a connection offer within 90 days, but an Ofgem investigation uncovered more than 100 occasions where this requirement had not been met.

“Customers should not have to accept poor service in any part of the energy market. All energy companies should be in no doubt that if they are failing to offer good customer service Ofgem will take tough regulatory action,” said Sarah Harrison, the watchdog’s managing director for corporate affairs.

Mounting payouts

EDF has already paid £450,000 in compensation to affected customers, with the new fine coming on top of that pay out. "We recognise that EDF Energy has now taken steps to improve its connections service, but they should have taken this action some time ago. EDF Energy has already paid around £450,000 in compensation to affected customers, and this is reflected in the level of Ofgem's penalty," Harrison added.

Ofgem is soon to publish final proposals on consumer-protection measures, including requirements that suppliers send them annual statements setting out the name of the tariff, annual consumption and how much they pay annually.

The £2 milion fine is the joint second-highest penalty ever levied by Ofgem. In 2002 it fined London Electricity £2m for misselling gas and electricity contracts on the doorstep. London Electricity is now part of EDF.  The biggest penalty to date was a £30 million fine against National Grid for hindering the rollout of smart meters.

Addressing the issue

In a statement EDF said that it recognised the seriousness of the issue and had put in place measures to prevent any repetition. "EDF Energy notified Ofgem of this issue at the time and the company provided information to the regulator on a total of 108 cases where it had taken more than the three-month timeframe outlined in our licence," the company said.

Recent research indicated that less than a quarter of all customers were happy with the way that their complaints were handled by the six biggest gas and electricity providers.


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