News : Npower Says It's improving: Its Customers Say Otherwise
Aug 25, 2014 -- Npower claims it has drastically improved its appalling customer service by granting call centre staff authority to resolve customer complaints on the spot.
Npower director Guy Johnson said it had completely overhauled its complaints processes, and that front line staff should be able to resolve 90% of problems for customers "on first contact".
Yet the complaints from npower customers keep flooding in with the same lack of common sense in evidence.
In one of many such cases to reach our offices a customer, Ian Mancor, inherited a bungalow in Rugeley, Staffordshire in January last year following the death of his mother. Npower supplied electricity to the property.
Mr Mancor was able to change the account to his name but npower failed to bill him for 18 months, despite repeated requests.
He called npower in February and provided meter readings and was told he would receive a bill within 28 working days.
No bill arrived and in April, Mr Mancor received an offer on the bungalow, which had been empty for the whole period. He called npower on April 24 and explained the property was being sold and complained. He was passed to the complaints department which gave him an estimated bill of £404 for the previous 12 months and asked for current meter readings.
On April 27 Mr Mancor provided these. This time he received an estimated bill of £472, and was promised a final bill was on its way. He was advised the total would be higher to include the full 18-month period.
Still no bill arrived. Mr Mancor called again on June 2 to advise npower that the sale had completed and provided final meter readings.
Eventually a bill dated June 17 arrived - for £1,095.39. His mother had paid just £690 in the year to November 2012. The Telegraph questioned npower about the amount, and it subsequently offered Mr Mancor a reduction of £69.34 to reflect the "billing delay" and a £139.66 goodwill gesture, bringing the total bill to £900.
But it insisted the energy was used, even though the property was empty.
A spokesman said: "We have billed the account using readings provided."
But after months of broken promises and conflicting information Mr Mancor, like many of our readers, has no faith in npower’s ability to maintain accurate records and bill accordingly.
Mr Mancor said: "Expecting me to pay £900 for a house that was unoccupied is absolutely ludicrous."
Npower has been ordered by the regulator, Ofgem, to tackle outstanding complaints, or face further penalties.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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npower is one of Britain’s largest energy suppliers and supplies gas, electricity and related services to 6.6 million customers across the UK.
Published: Tuesday, August 26, 2014