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In a bid to reduce people’s dissatisfaction with electricity and gas suppliers, Ofgem has introduced a number of domestic energy market reforms in recent years.
As a result of these reforms, households should now find it easier to compare tariffs from different suppliers using price comparison sites, as well as have a better understanding of their energy bills and be more confident in the transparency of their energy suppliers.
Among the reforms is the ability to claim compensation if your energy supplier or distributor delivers a less than satisfactory service. The following is a list of the common circumstances in which you might be able to claim compensation:
If you have a reason to complain about your energy supply or bill, your complaint must first be directed at your electricity or gas supplier. You could claim compensation for issues such as:
All suppliers have a written complaints procedure that they should follow in the event of customer complaints. When contacting your supplier make it clear that you are calling or writing to make a complaint.
Your supplier should give you a time frame within which they expect to resolve your complaint. The Big Six suppliers – British Gas, Scottish Power, E.On, Npower, SSE and EDF Energy – are required to resolve issues within eight weeks while the smaller suppliers are given twelve weeks.
If your supplier takes longer than stated, you can then escalate your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman who will look into your case and may award you compensation.
If you feel you have been coerced or deceived into signing up to an energy tariff – whether by a doorstep salesperson or a telesales agent – you may be able to claim compensation. You could also be entitled to £250 compensation if you are switched to a supplier without your permission.
Your first step should be to contact your energy supplier who should be able to reverse any change in your account and refund any payments you have made due to mis-selling. If your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, you can contact the Energy Ombudsman who will look into your case and may award you compensation.
You may be able to claim compensation from energy network companies if you were inconvenienced due to your energy supply being interrupted without advance notice, or if the power outage lasted more than a certain number of hours. To help make a claim for compensation due to your power supply being cut off, make a note of the time and date of the disruption and how long it lasted.
Typically, compensation for large-scale power cuts caused by severe weather is only awarded if the power outage lasts 24-48 hours. In this case, customers are entitled to £27 for the first 48 hours, and then a further £27 for each additional 12 hours, up to a maximum of £216. Network companies may choose to increase this amount at their discretion, and may provide special compensation if you’re without power over Christmas. You may also be entitled to compensation if the power outage lasted longer than 18-24 hours in normal weather due to a fault by the distributor.
If your supplier needs to work on your electricity or gas supply for whatever reason, they will give you the choice of a morning or afternoon visit, and typically specify a two-hour window for the visit. If your supplier misses the appointment without letting you know, and due to events out of their control, you are usually given a pre-defined amount of money as compensation – £20 for gas and £22 for electricity, or £42 for both. Your supplier will double the amount if they are unable to pay you within ten days.
You can also claim compensation if you are inconvenienced due to an electricity or gas network operator. This is the company that operates the pipes and cables that transport energy to your property. Some of the instances in which you could claim compensation include:
Electricity network operator
Gas network operator
If you experience a power cut or your gas supply stops and you are on the Priority Services Register due to being a vulnerable customer, your supplier should help arrange an alternative supply while repair or maintenance work is carried out.
You’ll need to write to your regional electricity network operator or your regional gas network operator in order to claim compensation for a power outage. You should do this within three months of your supply being restored for electricity and within 28 working days for gas.
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