How we’re doing with your energy complaints

We strive to give you excellent service which is why we take every complaint seriously. We use feedback from complaints to improve the level of service that we can provide and prevent issues from occurring in the first place.

Our latest report is from 1st January to 31st March 2019 (first quarter).

The complaints we’ve included are from our residential energy customers, as well as the customers we had through our partnership brand, Sainsbury’s Energy.[1]

How we're doing

Q1 2018

Reporting period

Q1 2018

Complaints received

112,208

Received per 100k customer accounts

883

Complaints resolved

108,427

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

853

% resolved same or next working day

51.3%

% resolved within 8 weeks

90.3%

Q2 2018

Reporting period

Q2 2018

Complaints received

152,385

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,221

Complaints resolved

150,271

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,204

% resolved same or next working day

53.3%

% resolved within 8 weeks

91.6%

Q3 2018

Reporting period

Q3 2018

Complaints received

180,778

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,486

Complaints resolved

176,395

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,450

% resolved same or next working day

59.9%

% resolved within 8 weeks

92.3%

Q4 2018

Reporting period

Q4 2018

Complaints received

188,605

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,560

Complaints resolved

188,069

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,556

% resolved same or next working day

57.9%

% resolved within 8 weeks

92.4%

Q1 2019

Reporting period

Q1 2019

Complaints received

181,622

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,524

Complaints resolved

174,047

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,460

% resolved same or next working day

54.7%

% resolved within 8 weeks

91.2%

What happened in Q1 2019?

  • We resolved a total of 174,047 complaints in Q1 which is 1,460 complaints per 100k customer accounts.
  • We saw a decrease in the proportion of complaints resolved on the same or next working day and a decrease within eight weeks compared to last quarter. We keep investing in our customer service by looking at ways to improve our processes and systems, and by training our people.
  • We’re working hard to reduce the number of complaints referred to the Ombudsman Service. It is our intention to always resolve complaints quickly, without the need for our customers to escalate issues. We received 1,420 Ombudsman complaints in Quarter 1, which is less than 10% of the total complaints taken on by the Ombudsman across all suppliers.

What does the Ombudsman do?

They take on complaints if we haven’t resolved them after eight weeks or if we’ve sent a final position letter to a customer, which they have chosen to escalate.

We work closely with the Ombudsman to help us understand why customers escalate their complaints to them. This helps us to improve our internal policies and procedures to reduce the need for escalation to the Ombudsman or other organisation.

Top five complaint reasons and plans to address them

Payments

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2018

20%

Q2 2018

22%

Q3 2018

23%

Q4 2018

25%

Q1 2019

21%

Billing

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2018

22%

Q2 2018

23%

Q3 2018

20%

Q4 2018

18%

Q1 2019

20%

Customer Service

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2018

15%

Q2 2018

14%

Q3 2018

15%

Q4 2018

15%

Q1 2019

16%

Metering

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2018

13%

Q2 2018

11%

Q3 2018

11%

Q4 2018

14%

Q1 2019

14%

Communication

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2018

7%

Q2 2018

7%

Q3 2018

6%

Q4 2018

6%

Q1 2019

6%

Payments

Lots of things affect the number of complaints we get about payments, such as seasonality, tariff changes, and how we explain payment plans. So we’re doing everything we can to make things simpler for you.

What we’ve done:

  • reviewed 3.6 million payment plans this quarter, to ensure your payments meet your forecasted energy use
  • addressed an issue that was affecting your ability to pay by Direct Debit
  • made it easier to manage any remaining credit balances if your smart prepayment meter is removed or you choose to change supplier

What we’re doing:

  • utilising other channels to allow you, our customers to make payments to us
  • improving our online experience to give you more self-serve functionality
  • reviewing our correspondence to you about payment schemes to keep it simple

Billing

We continue to identify reasons why you may be unhappy with our billing process so that we can enhance and resolve issues or failure in a timely manner. We now have more customers with accurate readings on their account in the last 12 months than ever before.

Each year British Gas takes part in a voluntary Billing Audit managed by Energy UK to show compliance with the Billing Code in 5 key areas. In March, we completed our 2018 Audit with our external Auditors, we are currently awaiting our results which will be published on the EUK website in the summer.

What we’ve done:

  • made an improvement which allows us to text more of you, our customers and ask for meter readings which will mean more accurate bills based on what you send us
  • invested in text messaging to make it easier for you to send us your meter readings. This has enabled us to send an accurate bill to more customers each month
  • created the ability to offer you special electricity meter reading appointments within 4 days – a reduction of 17 days from 2015
  • identified a number of improvements as part of our End To End Billing programme to drive a reduction in process failures and performance, further improvements will be delivered throughout this year

What we’re doing:

  • reviewing our end to end process when a smart meter doesn’t work to ensure we can still bill you to an accurate meter reading
  • continuing to review our Direct Debit process from a customer perspective to improve the experience
  • improving our Billing Tariff Journey to deliver a more smooth and efficient transition from one tariff to another
  • working with new technology “Wilbur” to provide more support and technical ability to our customer service staff to deal efficiently with Billing queries
  • identifying opportunities where we can become more customer focused delivering an excellent customer experience to all our customers

Metering

We always do our best to fix problems you have with your meters as we know that this can cause a lot of inconvenience.

What we’ve done:

  • installed more than 340,000 smart meters across Britain this quarter
  • given our engineers additional energy efficiency training to improve the customer experience in your home
  • introduced tools into the field for engineers to share factual energy efficiency savings with you visually on their devices
  • improved our technical support facilities to ensure that should you encounter any metering problems they can be resolved promptly
  • given our dedicated coaching resource clear accountability for customer outcomes

What we’re doing:

  • exploring the possibility of remote commissioning of smart meters, so customers do not need to be in for a second appointment
  • integrating all our field teams (Smart Metering, Service & Repair, Electrical services & UK Installations) into one field force for a more cohesive customer experience
  • introducing two-way text messaging for appointment confirmation
  • trialling the ‘On My Way’ application (giving customers the view of when the engineer is on their way – Uber style)

Customer Service

We strive to get things right for you first time.

What we’ve done:

  • delivered additional training to our customer service agents to ensure we’re quick to identify your complaints, and to resolve things promptly and effectively
  • delivered call messaging technology to more of our agents so they’re able to use this to effectively interact with you

What we’re doing:

  • continuing to develop a programme to enhance the way we handle your enquiries and complaints, so we can resolve things as quickly as possible
  • looking at ways to use technology to ensure you can speak to the right person, straight away, so your enquiry can be dealt with efficiently
  • using new tools to understand what you want and need from us, and how we can constantly look to improve the service we provide

Communication

It’s important that we have good communication with you to make sure we get things right.

What we’ve done:

  • tested new technology and innovative ways to get in touch with you so we can resolve your complaints. We’ve seen some positive results so we’ve extended these trials, and are continuing to test and monitor the results

What we’re doing:

  • always looking at further ways we can improve the correspondence and bills we issue as we want to make sure they’re clear and easy to understand
  • improving the experience that you have when you visit our website
  • reviewing how we receive and respond to emails from you so we can improve this process

Previously reported complaints performance

Q3 2016

Reporting period

Q3 2016

Complaints received

214,558

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,518

Complaints resolved

213,095

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,507

% resolved same or next working day

53.9%

% resolved within 8 weeks

90.6%

Q4 2016

Reporting period

Q4 2016

Complaints received

220,532

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,555

Complaints resolved

218,728

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,542

% resolved same or next working day

50.5%

% resolved within 8 weeks

91.0%

Q1 2017

Reporting period

Q1 2017

Complaints received

204,071

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,463

Complaints resolved

203,060

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,456

% resolved same or next working day

50.1%

% resolved within 8 weeks

89.9%

Q2 2017

Reporting period

Q2 2017

Complaints received

192,399

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,393

Complaints resolved

193,147

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,399

% resolved same or next working day

50.4%

% resolved within 8 weeks

89.8%

Q3 2017

Reporting period

Q3 2017

Complaints received

173,350

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,304

Complaints resolved

176,437

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,327

% resolved same or next working day

51.3%

% resolved within 8 weeks

89.3%

Q4 2017

Reporting period

Q4 2017

Complaints received

135,230

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,050

Complaints resolved

140,418

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,091

% resolved same or next working day

48.0%

% resolved within 8 weeks

89.6%

Annual Consumer Complaint Report

View our Annual Consumer Complaint Report, which details how we’ve performed in relation to the number of complaints we weren’t able to resolve on the same, or next working day.

For the reporting period 1st October 2017 to 30th September 2018 this figure was 270,360.

[1] Sainsbury's Energy was supplied in partnership with British Gas (part of British Gas Trading Limited) until April 2019.