Sometimes you can feel powerless when complaining to your gas and electricity supplier. The Energy Ombudsman was set up by the energy regulator Ofgem in 2006 to handle complaints that domestic customers and micro businesses have with their energy provider. You can use them to help you if you’re getting nowhere when complaining to your supplier.
So if you have a problem with your energy provider, we’ll show you the best way of complaining to the Energy Ombudsman to get the best outcome.
You are a micro business (as defined by Ofgem) if your business meets all of the following:
- Electricity consumption of 100,000kWh or less/year or
- Gas consumption of 293,000kWh or less/year or
- Fewer than 10 employees (or full time equivalent)
- Turnover of no more than 2 million euros (not pounds sterling)
How do I complain?
The Ombudsman Energy service is for people that have complained to their gas and electricity supplier and haven't got anywhere. Either you’ve not received a satisfactory outcome to your complaint or it remains unresolved.
You cannot register a complaint directly with the Energy Ombudsman without complaining to your gas or electricity provider first, otherwise your complaint will be rejected. Here are the steps you should take in order to launch a successful complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.
Tips for successfully complaining to the Ombudsman.
To make a successful claim to the Energy Ombudsman we advise that you have all correspondence with your energy supplier documented and that you follow the correct complaints procedure of your energy provider. This is so you can use it as evidence to present to the Energy Ombudsman. Here are our top tips for you to follow in order to have the best chance of winning.
- Complain to your provider in writing. Either by email or letter.
- Follow the energy suppliers complaint procedure.
- List your case chronologically
- Make a note of any deadlines that have been missed by your supplier. Suppliers usually publish their guidelines on how long they reply to emails or call wait times. This includes timescales replying to emails or refunds etc.
- List any losses/costs incurred both directly and indirectly as a result of the problem i.e. overcharged direct debits, one off payments, your bank account going into the red and any associated costs with that like interest and fines.
- If your case has no tangible loss, i.e. money, the Energy Ombudsman will assess ‘shortfalls in customer service’ like failure to respond to emails or delayed responses or bad customer service.
- If you want to be compensated for your time, you will need to accurately proove how long you spent complaining.
You can contact the Energy Ombudsman about a complaint you have with your Electricity and Gas supplier on their UK contact number below.
Please check with your provider if you don't know how much a call will cost.
0330 440 1624
*Monday to Friday: 8am-8pm; Saturday: 9am-1pm; Sunday: Closed
Send a letter to...
Ombudsman Services: Energy
PO Box 966
Send an email to...
Energy Ombudsman case fee
The Ombudsman is completely free, you never have to pay to use this service. They are funded by fees paid to them by the energy companies. The Energy Ombudsman gets £334 from the energy provider per case that’s brought to them. Energy providers also have to pay an annual fee of £61,000 for a large provider, £150 for a small provider and £16,500 for network companies to be members of the Energy Ombudsman.
When should I take a case to the Ombudsman
You are advised to wait 8 weeks from when you first complained to your energy provider until you can complain to the Energy Ombudsman. This is in cases where you have received correspondence with your energy provider and you weren't happy with the outcome.
Sometimes energy suppliers don’t respond to complaints within a reasonable time frame. In this case you can contact the Energy Ombudsman within 8 weeks if you have still received no reply from your gas or electricity provider and the Energy Ombudsman will take up your case.
Did you know? The word Om-buds-man comes from the Swedish word meaning representative of the people. Nowadays it means: An independent body looking at your problem and coming up with a solution that’s fair to all parties.
Is it worth it?
In short, YES, it is worth it. There is no financial cost to you, the only thing you need to consider is if it’s worth your time. In order to take your case to the Ombudsman you will need to provide evidence to stand any chance or being successful. You will be required to compile the following:
- Evidence of correspondence with the energy provider.
- Evidence of the problem.
- Outline why you are complaining and your desired outcome.
The Energy Ombudsman will assess your case and contact your energy supplier on your behalf. They will decide if there is a case to consider so you don’t have to worry if you think you’ve got a chance of winning or not.
How long does it take?
Complaints to the Energy Ombudsman can take anywhere from 4-16 weeks to resolve depending on the complexity of the complaint and how long correspondance takes between the Energy Ombudsman and the energy supplier.
What result can I expect?
The Ombudsman is completely impartial and will never take sides. So don’t expect them to automatically fight your case for you. They will assess your case objectively and decide on the fairest outcome for both parties. They will determine if you have been treated fairly or not and if your energy provider owes you anything, which could be financial or just an apology. It can also work the other way as well, if the Ombudsman find that it is in fact you who are owing money to your gas or electricity provider, the Energy Ombudsman can rule that way and it is you who will have to owe them money. If you have any other questions about this or any other energy issue you can call us or check our energy guides.
What power does the Ombudsman have?
The Ombudsman's powers are passed down by the government in order to force companies to treat their customers fairly. In situations where you have overpaid on your direct debits they can force the energy provider to reduce your monthly payments or for the provider to give you a one-off payment to settle a balance. In other situations it may be the case (such as late feed in tariff payments) that the Ombudsman can force the provider to pay you within a certain period and issue you an apology.
Energy Ombudsman jobs
If you’re looking to kickstart your career with the Energy Ombudsman you can see their list of current vacancies. They say on their website that they “promote an environment that is free from unfair or unlawful discrimination, harassment and intimidation.”
They currently do not offer a graduate scheme but if you are looking to get ahead you can apply to the Ofgem Graduate Scheme.