Energy Ombudsman: What it does and How it helps
The Energy Ombudsman was set up to handle complaints that customers have with their energy provider. You can use them to help you if you have exhausted all options with your supplier.
Energy Ombudsman Handles Serious Complaints
The Ombudsman Energy service is for people that have complained about a gas or electricity service issue and haven't got anywhere. Either you’ve not received a satisfactory outcome to your complaint or it remains unresolved after the stipulated period of time.
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 preparing your complaint
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 and justify your complaint escalation.
- 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.
- List any losses/costs incurred both directly and indirectly as a result of the problem.
You can contact the Energy Ombudsman about a complaint you have with your electricity and gas supplier on their UK contact number. You can find their updated contact number on their website. Alternatively, you may also be able to contact them via email.
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 from your energy provider and you weren't happy with the outcome.
Sometimes energy suppliers won'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, then the Energy Ombudsman could take up your case.
Can the Energy Ombudsman help?
In short, YES, the Energy Ombudsman is there to act impartially and reach a fair decision based on the facts it has from both consumer and supplier. 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 of being successful. You will be required to compile the following:
- Evidence of correspondence with the energy provider.
- Evidence of the problem.
- Outline of why you are complaining and your desired outcome.
What result can I expect?
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.
The Ombudsman 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 compensation or just an apology.
What power does the Ombudsman have?
The Ombudsman's powers are passed down by the government in order to support customers and empower businesses. In situations where you have overpaid on your direct debit 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, such as late feed in tariff payments, it may be the case that the Ombudsman can require the provider to pay you within a certain period and issue you an apology.