BRITAIN’S energy regulator yesterday warned one of the country’s leading suppliers that it could be barred from telesales and hit by a £300m fine if it failed to resolve customer complaints over late bills.
Regulator Ofgem started an investigation into NPower’s late billing of customers after 1.4m complaints were received last year. It warned that if NPower was found to have broken rules, it risked fines of up to £300m.
NPower has topped the Big Six complaints table since the end of 2012. Many customers have been left not knowing what they owed, as delays in billing mounted.
NPower, the UK arm of German utility RWE with about 15 per cent of Britain’s energy market, said at the time that the customer service problems were caused by the introduction of a new computer system.
Although NPower had made some progress by clearing many of the oldest cases, its recovery plan had not been delivered as widely and as fast as necessary, Ofgem said.
“Ofgem is requiring NPower to resolve major billing issues no later than the end of August 2014 and publish monthly progress updates on its website,” the regulator said in a statement.
“Failure to meet monthly targets will result in NPower ceasing all proactive telesales to new customers until they are met,” it added.
NPower said this week that it had assigned an extra 650 people since December to help resolve customer service problems and would invest an additional £20m this year to resolve those issues. It added that it was “committed to getting things right” and would cooperate with the regulator.