Business

Extra Energy to be investigated after customer complaints

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One of the new small energy suppliers, Extra Energy, is to be investigated by regulator Ofgem after a record number of customer complaints.

Ofgem will examine whether the supplier broke the rules on billing, customer service and complaints handling.

Last month, Citizens Advice said Extra Energy had had more complaints than any other supplier for the past five years.

The company - which has 400,000 customers - said most of the problems had now been fixed.

In the first quarter of 2016, Citizens Advice said it had received 1,682 complaints for every 100,000 of Extra Energy's customers - the highest rate it had recorded in the past five years.

Some callers were left hanging on the line, while many customers did not receive their bills on time.

Ofgem will also look at claims that account holders were prevented from transferring to rival suppliers.

Possible fines

The company says it has now made a series of changes, including:

  • Hiring 150 extra staff
  • Moving to new offices in Birmingham
  • Becoming "less aggressive" with sales
  • Reducing call waiting times to an average of 45 seconds

Extra Energy also admitted that it had expanded too quickly.

If Ofgem decides that Extra Energy did break the rules on dealing with customers, it has the power to impose a fine of up to 10% of the company's turnover.

It is not known when the investigation will be finished.

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