Making a complaint about your energy supplier
This step-by-step guide is a great place to start if you need to make a complaint to your energy supplier.
For any product you buy - or service you sign up to - it’s really important that you’re aware of what to do if something goes wrong and you need to complain about any aspect of the product or service.
How do I make a complaint about my energy supplier?
If you have a complaint about your energy supplier or the service you’re receiving, you should first raise your complaint directly with the energy supplier and exhaust the complaints process with them.
If you can’t resolve your complaint with the supplier, you can then approach the Citizens Information Board for advice, or escalate the complaint to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
Here’s how the process works…
Step 1: Raise a complaint with the energy supplier
In the first instance, if you have an issue you should contact your supplier to discuss it with them. You can do so by phone, email or post, and many suppliers also have online help centres now too, so choose whichever method works best for you and get the ball rolling.
When you contact your supplier, outline your complaint clearly, and be sure to include contact details so that they can update you on the status of your complaint.
Your supplier’s code of conduct will outline the timelines within which they aim to respond to complaints, but if you want clarity on it, ask them when you get in touch.
To give you an idea, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) says that generally suppliers will acknowledge and resolve customer complaints within a few days and consumers should have a final answer within two months.
This timeframe may be extended for technical reasons, or if the supplier states you are not engaging with their process. If it is extended for any reason the supplier has to let you know what the new timeline is.
Step 2: Seek advice from Citizens Information
The vast majority of complaints are explained or rectified fairly quickly by suppliers. However, for a variety of reasons, there will always be exceptions to this. If you’re not happy with how your complaint has been dealt with, one of the things you can do is to seek advice from Citizens Information.
You can reach Citizens Information by phone on 0761 07 4000 (it’s open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 8pm), visit your local Citizens Information centre, or contact them by post or via their website.
When you contact them, you should outline the problems that you’ve experienced and what steps you have already taken - for example the complaints process you’ve gone through with your supplier.
Citizens Information will give you advice about how to proceed, which may include contacting the energy company again to escalate the complaint. You will also be given a reference number which you can reference in further communications with Citizens Information, so they’ll be able to find information on your complaint quickly and easily.
Step 3: Raise a complaint about your energy supplier with the CRU
If you don’t get the resolution you’re looking for after exhausting the complaints process with your supplier and taking advice from Citizens Information, you could look at raising the complaint with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
The CRU protects the interests of customers by making sure that standards of services are set and codes of practices are in place, and it has the power to direct energy suppliers and network operators to award financial compensation to customers or to resolve complaints - according to set guidelines - if the complaint is upheld.
The CRU will only be able to investigate your complaint if you have already contacted your supplier or network operator about the issue and gone through the complaints process with them.
If you’re at a stage where you’re ready to speak to the CRU, the best bet is to take a look at their guide on escalating a complaint and follow the steps they outline. They will investigate and come back to you with a decision - if you’re not happy with this, you can appeal.
Don’t forget, the CRU can also deal with:
- problems with energy bills.
- problems resulting from an energy company’s sales and marketing activity.
- problems resulting from switching gas or electricity supplier.
- physical problems relating to the supply of energy to a home or small business, such as power cuts and connections.
You can contact the CRU by phone on 1890 404 404, by fax on (01) 4000 850, by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at Commission for Regulation of Utilities, P.O. Box 11934, Dublin 24.
Should I switch if my complaint is not resolved?
While the majority of complaints are resolved by suppliers, it is possible that occasionally you may have a complaint that can’t be resolved for whatever reason.
If this is the case, and the particular problem is a red-line issue for you, it would definitely be worth seeing if you can move to a supplier that can rectify it for you.
Switching energy supplier is quick and easy, and if you haven’t switched in over a year, you could save up to €378.