Ofgem blocks Economy Energy from taking on new customers

Power transmission lines run from an electricity pylon in Braintree, U.K., on Wedenesday, Sept. 25, 2013. Britain's business lobby groups said that Labour leader Ed Miliband opposition's proposal to break up the "Big Six" utilities and cap power prices threatens the investment needed to avoid blackouts by the end of the decade. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Utilities news

Economy Energy has been banned by Ofgem from taking on new customers until it resolves customer service issues.

The regulator said the order also bans the small energy supplier from requesting one-off payments and increasing direct debits.

The ban will remain in place for up to three months in order for Economy Energy to take steps to improve and expand its customer contact procedures via email and webchat, address its billing and payment failures and issue customer refunds in a timely manner.

If Economy Energy fails to make improvements within three months, Ofgem can confirm the provisional order to extend the ban.

If the supplier fails to improve, Ofgem can take steps to revoke its licence.

Ofgem has taken action due to the decline in the standards of Economy Energy’s customer service, complaints-handling processes and standards, and billing and payment procedures.

Anthony Pygram, the regulator’s 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.

“All suppliers are required to treat their customers fairly. Where they do not, Ofgem will take the necessary steps to ensure suppliers change their behaviour and to prevent further harm to customers.”