Increased Number of Energy Disputes
Over the past year, more than 5,500 people contacted Utilities Disputes, a free and independent complaints service. As released in the organization’s 2017-18 Annual Report, most of the complaints were regarding electricity or gas.
Complaints…By the Numbers
Out of a total of 5,528 people who contacted Utilities Disputes last year, 5,232 were about electricity or gas. The remainder was about broadband shared property disputes (236) and water (3).
The majority of the complaints were about billing, which increased by approximately ten percent compared to the previous year. Other issues included customer service, disconnections, meter issues and supply issues.
Genesis Energy had the most complaints but also has the greatest market share.
Utilities Disputes Works Hard to Keep the Energy Market Fair for Consumers
Although the organization has nothing to do with setting energy market prices, Utilities Disputes does work diligently to ensure citizens are treated fairly.
The organization can investigate issues such as billing problems (including whether the person is on the most appropriate plan), customer service experiences and lack of notices.
It’s those issues and more that can create considerable stress, causing people to reach out to Utilities Dispute for assistance.
Poor Communication is One of the Biggest Concerns
Often times, better communication is needed between power companies and consumers. Many complaints received by the organization involved communications’ matters including placement of equipment on property, inadequate communication about tree trimming, promised rates not being received and phone calls not being returned.
Since there are so many different providers offering various energy plans to consumers, energy companies need to practice effective communication methods.
Better Awareness of Utilities Dispute is Needed
Recent consumer surveys revealed that general awareness of Utilities Disputes’ services was low. The organization is working hard to change that perception.
Last year, Utilities Disputes won a Plain English award – a huge step towards building better visibility for the organization.
People are encouraged to complain first to their energy company, giving them an opportunity to resolve the matter. If unresolved, the complaint can be brought forward to Utilities Disputes.
Complaints can lead to Positive Change
The complaint process handled by Utilities Disputes often leads to proactive change by utility businesses.
For example, better complaint management and more proactive customer service are two ways that complaints can lead to businesses improving their practices. The process assists consumers with making more informed choices, too.
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