Economy Energy BANNED from taking new customers until it fixes 'unacceptable' customer service

ENERGY firm Economy Energy has been hit with a ban over its "unacceptable" customer service.

The medium-size firm, which has 250,000 customers, won't be able to take on any new customers until it fixes the issues, watchdog Ofgem ruled.

The ban will also stop the supplier from increasing bills paid by direct debit and requesting one-off payments from existing customers.

The order by regulator Ofgem will be in place for three months.

In that time, the company has been told to improve its customer service problems.

There have been issues with customers contacting the company by email and webchat as well as billing and payment failures, Ofgem said.

The firm has also been slow to hand out refunds, according to the watchdog.

How to complain about your energy provider

If you’ve got a complaint about your energy supplier, don’t just bury your head in the sand, ensure it’s heard.

You should first complain to your energy provider.

Your supplier's phone number and website will be on your energy bill.

Explain what the problem is and what you want your supplier to do about it – you can use template letters from Citizens Advice.

Energy suppliers have up to eight weeks to come to tell you their decision on the complaint.

If you can't reach an agreement with your supplier after eight weeks, you can ask for a "deadlock letter", which enables you to take your case to the free Energy Ombudsman.

The Energy Ombudsman will then decide which party it agrees with and how to resolve the issue.

If the company fails to improve the issues in three months, Ofgem can extend the ban.

It could even take away Economy Energy's licence to operate if it fails to fix the problems.

Anthony Pygram, director of conduct and enforcement, said: "Ofgem is taking action to protect customers from suffering more harm from the unacceptable level of customer service provided by Economy Energy.

"We expect the supplier to take immediate action to rectify its failings or face having its ban extended."

The Energy Ombudsman said it opened investigations into 399 complaints about Economy Energy in November alone last year, compared to 112 in January 2018.

Matthew Vickers, chief executive and chief ombudsman at the Energy Ombudsman, said: “We have seen a significant increase in complaints about Economy Energy in recent months."

He added: "It’s really important that consumers are made aware of their right to bring unresolved complaints to us. It’s also important that businesses implement our decisions in full and put things right for their customers."

An Economy Energy spokesman said: "In light of the news received from Ofgem today, in which we are very disappointed, we wish to advise our customers we will be cooperating fully with Ofgem and are always committed to continual improvement of our business.

"We thank our customers for their support."

Critics said the issues at Economy Energy point to a larger problem within the industry.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "Today’s action by Ofgem is a welcome and necessary step towards fixing the consistently poor service experienced by Economy Energy customers.

She added: "But there’s a wider problem behind this news. Ofgem’s upcoming licensing review offers a major opportunity to stop underprepared firms entering the market.

How do I compare deals and get a better deal?

SARAH Broomfield, energy expert at, gives her verdict on the best way to get the best deal:

  • Get your latest energy bill or statement and then go to a price comparison site such as, or
  • Enter the details about where you live including your postcode
  • Enter the name of your current supplier and the tariff name
  • Enter the details about how much you currently use or spend (useage is best)
  • You may be asked if there are additional details to include, such as whether you have a smart meter or a time of use tariff or receive any benefits
  • That’s it – compare the results. And on many sites, you can compare tariffs from the wider market, as well as from energy companies that the site can switch you to.

"Further action is needed now to address the ongoing issues caused by poorly performing companies already operating."

Economy Energy scored just 2.4 stars in Citizens Advice’s latest customer service star rating.

This isn't the first time Economy Energy has been warned about its poor customer service.

Ofgem issued a warning in 2014 when the firm was found to be slow in resolving customers' problems.

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The news comes days after Ofgem's energy price cap came into force.

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to crack down on big firms to prevent consumers being overcharged by big businesses.

That's just as well – because 2018 was said to be the worst year for energy price rises.

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