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npower to pay £3.5m after breaching energy sales rules

npower has agreed to pay £3.5 million to help vulnerable customers after it was found to have breached energy sales rules on the doorstep and over the phone, Ofgem announced:

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Npower agrees to pay £3.5million to help vulnerable customers following Ofgem energy sales investigation - http://t.co/sWNPSqhF7z

npower boss facing 'reduced bonus' over poor service

The boss of energy firm npower has said he would be receiving a "much reduced" bonus because of his company's poor customer service.

Chief executive Paul Massara apologised for what regulator Ofgem dubbed the "serious deterioration" in customer service.

He told Daybreak: "The fact is we haven't delivered the customer service they deserve.

"When the board sit down and review my bonus they will reduce my bonus because I haven't actually delivered for customers."

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Energy companies guilty of 'outrageous blackmail'

Ann Robinson
Ann Robinson accused energy companies of "outrageous blackmail". Credit: DaybreakITV

Energy companies were guilty of "outrageous blackmail", according to a consumer campaigner, who saw the latest attempt to cut bills by £50 as an empty gesture.

"I'd be more impressed if energy companies had said they were going to lower bills by an average of £50 and were going to do it now," Ann Robinson of Uswitch told Daybreak.

She expressed scepticism over the "Big Six" energy companies motivation and what the Government could do to intervene on behalf of struggling consumers:

"I think there is a limit to what can be done. It is playing around the edges. It is not real. I also hear for example, is that one of things that the energy company is looking to is to delay even more the smart meter programme."

Read more: npower's billing error apology

npower received five times more complaints than SSE

npower received five times as many complaints as the best performing energy firm SSE, research showed.

  • npower had 202.5 complaints per 100,000, compared with 38.3 for SSE - the lowest level of the main energy providers - from the April to June period, Consumer Futures research showed.

Read: Surge in complaints against energy companies

npower also recently announced a 10% average bill increase but has said that it will reduce bills as a result of a shake-up of Government green levies.

Ofgem: npower complaints rise 'wholly unacceptable'

Many npower customers will have noticed a serious deterioration in service levels over the last year.

The huge growth in complaints about npower is wholly unacceptable and is an issue that Ofgem takes very seriously and is why we intervened in this case.

npower's commitment that its customers will not lose out financially as a direct result of the company's billing system problems is important and we will expect npower to do all it can to identify and rectify such cases.

– Sarah Harrison, Ofgem senior partner

Read: Surge in complaints against energy companies

npower: 'We've let many of you down recently'

npower's chief executive has apologised "unreservedly" after billing errors affected thousands of customers.

Npower's chief executive Paul Massara. Credit: npower/PA Wire

Paul Massara wrote in a letter to npower's 3.4 million customers: "We've let many of you down recently in the overall levels of customer service we've been providing. We apologise unreservedly."

He said the billing problems arose after customer details were transferred on to a new computer system. Around 700,000 customers are thought to have been affected by the problems, though it is believed the vast majority are not financially worse off.

Mr Massara said the issue was being dealt with as "our top priority", and hundreds of staff were working to address it.

Many customers affected had already been contacted individually to address specific problems and others would be, he added.

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npower apologises after complaints over billing errors

Gas and electricity supplier npower has written to its 3.4 million domestic customers and donated £1 million to vulnerable consumers after billing errors led to it being the most complained-about energy company.

npower has written to its customers apologising for recent errors. Credit: Andy Hepburn/PA Wire

Read: Surge in complaints against energy companies

Regulator Ofgem said there had been a "serious deterioration" in customer service levels after the German firm admitted a glitch had led to a number of errors.

The errors included; a number of bills and statements failing to go out on time, direct debit payments not being set up properly and some customer accounts having problems being started

npower chief executive Paul Massara said that anyone affected would not lose out financially as a result in his letter to customers.

Ofgem said it had been increasingly concerned about npower's customer complaint levels, which have risen sharply in the last year, but welcomed the apology and payment.

Labour MPs slam npower over 'irresponsible' job cuts

Labour MPs have criticised the "irresponsible behaviour" of energy giant npower after it announced job cuts affecting 1,460 workers in the UK.

Stoke-on-Trent North MP Joan Walley said it was the "last straw" from one of the so-called "Big Six" energy companies.

Joan Walley, the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, whose constituency is facing job losses due to npower's plans.
Joan Walley, the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, whose constituency is facing job losses due to npower's plans. Credit: ITV News

Ms Walley's fears were echoed by her Labour colleague Tom Blenkinsop, who has constituents that could also be affected by the cuts.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey admitted it was a "very worrying announcement".

npower 'aims to deliver improved customer experience'

The chief executive of npower said its restructuring proposals aim to deliver a more "efficient, flexible and improved customer experience".

Paul Massara said in statement:

I understand that these changes would be incredibly hard for some of our employees and we’ll be doing everything we can to support them over the next few months.

This restructure is necessary if we are to deliver the levels of service our customers deserve.

We would have the flexibility to keep call waiting times down during busy periods, and continue to keep costs down so we can keep bills down.

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