By Maximilian Clarke

EDF Energy has become the first of the ‘big 6’ energy companies to be awarded a 0 star rating on the energy company complaints league table, following a spike in complaints in the wake of recent price hikes.

The most recent energy complaints information compiled by Consumer Focus shows an almost universal rise in complaints about energy suppliers in the last quarter, at the same time as energy price rises were announced and started to take effect. Energy prices have soared in recent months and have remained a significant driving force behind the UK’s persistently high inflation.

The figures from July to September 2011 show an increase in complaints to five of the ‘Big Six’ suppliers.2 Complaints across the industry rose on average by just over a quarter (26%). The energy firm which saw by far the highest increase in complaints was EDF Energy — with weighted complaints figures up by almost three quarters since Spring and up by 91% on the same quarter last year.

“It is disappointing, but perhaps not surprising, that complaints on energy issues have risen at a time when energy bills are increasing,” commented Adam Scorer, Director of External Affairs at Consumer Focus. “Energy companies have repeatedly said they want to rebuild consumer trust. Good customer service and complaints handling are key ingredients to building consumer trust but suppliers still have a long way to go.

“Complaints about EDF Energy over the summer have had a catastrophic impact on its rating. While system changes inevitably cause disruption to customers, this must be minimised. Its current complaints performance is unacceptable and the company must take further steps to tackle this.”

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