How to make a complaint to or about your business energy supplier
If your business energy bills aren’t accurate, you’re having issues with your supply, or your provider just isn’t offering the service that you expected, you’ll need to make a complaint to get it sorted. But, there’s a certain process you need to go through to make sure your complaint is heard and dealt with as efficiently as possible.
Here’s all you need to know about complaining to, and about, your business energy supplier.
What is a business energy provider complaint?
This is simply the process of complaining to, or about, your business energy provider. If you’re having a problem or issue with your supplier, you’ll first need to raise it with them and give them a chance to put things right.
If they don’t sort the issue within a certain amount of time, you might be able to escalate the complaint to the Energy Ombudsman. But before we get into that, let’s take a look at the types of things you might need to complain about.
What can I complain about?
Although it’s unlikely that you’ll need to complain to your business energy provider, things do sometimes go wrong and need flagging. Here are some of the main reasons why you might need to make a complaint:
Late or inaccurate bills
If you’re not getting your bills on time, this can lead to all sorts of problems like missed or late payments and possibly even cash flow issues. If your bills aren’t accurate, this could see you overpaying or underpaying for your energy.
If you’re overpaying, then you’ll needlessly be spending money that could be used on other business costs. Although you can claim this money back, it’s just more hassle that you don’t need.
If you’re underpaying, then you’ll soon find yourself in debt with your energy supplier and you’ll need to work out a repayment plan to pay the money back. Again, more hassle that you could do without.
Not receiving energy bills
If you’re not getting your energy bills at all, then you’ll quickly fall behind on your payments and will eventually need to set up a repayment plan. If the problem persists long enough, you may be subject to recovery action from your supplier, who might even threaten you with disconnection.
If your energy bills are higher than you expected, it could be because your energy supplier is overcharging you. This can happen when your bills are estimated and will mean you’re needlessly spending money on energy you’re not using. The good news is that you can claim this money back from your supplier.
If you’re not being overcharged, your bills could be high because you’re on an unsuitable deal or you’re paying out of contract or deemed rates. These are the rates your supplier puts you on if you don’t arrange a new energy deal before your current one expires. If this is the case, speak to the tech-enabled team at Bionic to see if you can switch to a better deal.
Problems with your account
If you’re having issues with any part of your business energy account, from problems accessing your online portal to metering issues, then you need to raise the issue with your supplier as soon as possible.
Although most switch energy to cut the cost of their energy bills, many consumers also decide to look for a new supplier because they’re getting a poor level of customer service from their current one. If you have an issue with your supplier, you’ll want to have it sorted as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
But, some suppliers either don’t have the inclination or the capacity to offer the level of customer service that business owners need and deserve.
Figures from Citizens Advice show that while the best suppliers respond to 86% of customer emails within two days, the worst suppliers only respond to 35% in this timely manner. If you’re with one of the lesser suppliers and you phone them with an issue, you can expect to wait more than six minutes for your call to be answered - 3.5 times longer than those with suppliers in the top five.
At Bionic, we work with a panel of trusted suppliers who provide competitive rates with great customer service. If you’ve switched energy with us and you’re having a problem with your supplier, we can contact them on your behalf to help resolve your issue.
How can I make a complaint?
If you’re having trouble with your supplier, you’ll first need to raise it with them to give them a chance to put things right. If they can’t or won’t resolve the issue, you may then be able to escalate your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.
What do I need to make a complaint?
When you make a complaint to or about your energy supplier, it helps if you can gather as much information or evidence as possible to support your claim. Try to have the following to hand:
Name on the bill & energy account number
Before any action can be taken, your supplier will need to know whose account they are dealing with. Make sure you can give them the full name on the bill (they might need your business name as well as your name) along with the account number. This can be found on your bill.
Photos/evidence of the meter
If you’re having issues with your meter or the amount you’re being billed, take some photos of the meter and the latest reading before contacting your supplier. They may also need to know the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) for gas and the Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) for electricity. For more information on these numbers, check out our guide to MPAN and MPRN numbers.
Copies of unusual bills
If you’re having billing issues, it will help your case if you have to hand copies of the bills in question, along with photos of your latest meter readings. If you don’t have paper bills, you’ll be able to find copies of your bills by checking your online account.
Previous email or phone correspondence evidence
When you make a complaint to your energy supplier, always make a note of the times and dates of any phone calls, along with a record of the name of the customer service representative you spoke to. If you’re complaining via email, always keep copies of your emails and any responses from your supplier.
Who can I make a complaint to about my energy provider
You can make a complaint to your energy supplier and the Energy Ombudsman. It might also be worth speaking to Citizens Advice for additional guidance and support if necessary.
Your energy supplier
If you have an issue with your supplier, you first need to raise it with them. Once they’ve logged your complaint, they have eight weeks to respond and try to put things right. If, after eight weeks, they’ve not resolved the problem or you’re not happy with the response or outcome, you might then have your complaint heard by the Energy Ombudsman. But, it might be worth getting some additional advice first.
Get in touch with Citizens Advice
If you’re having problems with your energy supplier, you won’t be the first person to have run into trouble with them. Citizens Advice has launched a non-domestic energy supplier performance league table to compare how energy companies rank on handling complaints from best to worst.
You can also contact them over the phone or by email to discuss your problem. You can find their contact details at the Citizens Advice contact us page.
Take it further with the Energy Ombudsman
You can escalate your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman if the following apply:
- You’re a microbusiness
- It’s been more than eight weeks since your first complaint
- You’re not happy with the outcome of your complaint or it has reached a ‘deadlock’ and your supplier says it can do no more
In order for the Ombudsman to consider your complaint, you must refer the case within 12 months of receiving a deadlock letter.
If you’ve switched energy with Bionic and you’re having a problem with your supplier, we can contact them on your behalf to help resolve your issue.
What complaints does the Energy Ombudsman handle?
If your complaint is about any of the following, the Energy Ombudsman should be able to look into it:
- Billing issues – This includes any issues relating to back-billing, late or missing bills, inaccurate or unclear bills, or disputed bills.
- Installation faults and delays – This includes meters that don’t record accurate readings and any other equipment faults.
- Supply issues – This includes any disruption to or complete loss of your energy supply. This includes loss of supply due to severe storms.
- Contract issues – This includes disputes over contract renewals or problems related to switching suppliers.
- Mis-selling disputes – If you have an issue with the contract you’ve been sold, or you feel it was mis-sold to you, the Ombudsman should look into it.
- Poor customer service - This includes unsatisfactory handling of your complaint and difficulty getting in touch with your supplier.
The Energy Ombudsman will also look into problems with microgeneration and Feed-in Tariffs (FITs).
What complaints does the Energy Ombudsman not handle?
The Energy Ombudsman will not handle complaints related to liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or any commercial decisions made by your supplier, such as pricing.
How to switch energy supplies with Bionic
If you’re having any issues with your current supplier, it might be time to switch.
The simplest way to switch business energy supplier is to let Bionic do the hard work. Give our tech-enabled experts a call on 0800 077 4673 or give us your postcode and we’ll call you back.
We save time when comparing business energy suppliers by using smart data to find the details we need to start tailoring your quote. We then need a few more details about your business to compare quotes and deals from our panel of suppliers.
One of our experts will then explain the quotes on screen and answer any questions. You choose the best deal, and we’ll handle the rest of the switch.