18th December 2015
Npower has been slapped with Ofgen’s largest ever fine following billing problems and disastrous complaints handling.
Ofgem has fined the energy supplier £26 million for failing to treat its customers fairly after problems started in 2011 with the introduction of a new IT system by Npower owner RWE.
The system meant up to 500,000 customers received inaccurate bills, no bills for long periods, and more than one bill in some cases between September 2013 and December 2014 alone.
In this time it received over two million complaints about late and inaccurate billing but despite the huge deluge Npower did not resolve issues quickly and continued to pursue debts that were in dispute.
Although Ofgem said the company had improved a little, it has set it new targets which, if not met, will mean Npower is stopped from advertising or going after new customers.
Dermot Nolan, Ofgem chief executive, said: ‘Npower failed its customers.
‘Not only have its billing and complaint handling procedures been chaotic, it treated many of its customers poorly, which is completely unacceptable. Npower’s management failed to act quickly enough to protect its customers when things went wrong with changes to its IT system.
‘It’s important that all suppliers ensure they follow the principles of treating customers fairly at all times.
‘The payment of £26 million sends a strong message to the industry that we expect them to act quickly and effectively to ensure a good customer experience.’