Npower is fined £2m by Ofgem

City A.M. Reporter
ENERGY regulator Ofgem has slapped a £2m fine on Npower, one of Britain’s “Big Six” power companies, for improperly handling customer complaints.

Ofgem said npower -- owned by German utility RWE -- was in breach of regulations that set standards for the way energy companies handle customer complaints.

Complaint handling regulations, which took effect from October 2008, set out the service that domestic and micro-business energy customers should expect from energy companies if they raise a complaint.

Npower is the second of the so-called big six power providers to be fined after Centrica’s British Gas -- the biggest household energy supplier -- was docked over similar breaches. A third, EDF Energy, is being investigated.

“Consumers have a right to expect that energy companies will comply with the standards,” Ofgem’s senior partner for sustainable development Sarah Harrison said. “ Npower failed to do so and although it took remedial action, it has incurred a penalty for failing consumers.”

Ofgem said an investigation found npower did not provide key details about services offered by the energy ombudsman to customers with unresolved complaints, and did not have adequate policies in place to deal with complaints.

The regulator, however, said Npower had now addressed and remedied all breaches of the regulations.

Last month energy secretary Chris Huhne said British households struggling to pay rising fuel bills should change supplier, check their tariffs, or insulate their homes to try to save money, after ministers met the Big Six energy companies for talks.