Scottish and Southern Energy

SSE provides greater transparency on complaint figures

Press Release   •   Nov 01, 2011 08:51 GMT

SSE is providing even greater transparency on complaints data by publishing for the first time the total number of customer complaints about the company for the quarter between July and September.  These figures record all the complaints sent to the recognised third party mediators and the advisory body for the energy industry namely the Energy Ombudsman, Consumer Focus and Consumer Direct during this period.

SSE has already stated that it supports calls from consumer advocacy body, Which? for energy suppliers to “become more open about the number of complaints they receive” by publishing complaint handling reports on their websites every six months.  Today, SSE is exceeding this by publishing complaints data on a quarterly basis.  

SSE believes the number of customer complaints a company receives and the way it resolves them, is an important step in building trust in the energy industry and is a clear and comparable measure of a company’s overall level of customer service. As is the case in the financial services industry, customers need to be able to see how their energy supplier measures up on complaints handling.   

Consistently voted the top energy company for customer service by Consumer Focus with a five star rating, SSE is striving to be a company that can offer a standard of service that compares well across a variety of customer-facing sectors and not just in the energy industry.  These complaints make up part of the five star league table which Consumer Focus publishes quarterly.  SSE believes the industry should take responsibility for itself and publishing the number of complaints received is another important step in this journey.

Complaints statistics:

  • SSE received 187 Energy Ombudsman complaints during the three month July to September period. Total Energy Ombudsman complaints during the same period - 2261 contacts which were within their terms of reference. SSE’s number of Energy Ombudsman complaints was 8.2% of the total contacts for the industry against a market share of nearly 20%.
  •  Complaints made by customers about SSE to Consumer Focus and Consumer Direct were 58 and 40 respectively.

Consumer Focus said today it is particularly concerned that energy companies seem to avoid directing customers to the Energy Ombudsman.  SSE agrees the Energy Ombudsman has an important role to play in giving customers confidence that energy suppliers are continually driving improvements in their business.  Greater transparency in this area could be achieved by publishing simple verifiable data on the number and nature of the complaints they receive.  By ranking these according to supplier, and proving a supplier’s total customer number or share of the market would provide energy customers with an even clearer picture of the best and worst performers.  

SSE’s Director of Customer Service Tony Keeling said: “Customers have a growing need for objective information and having access to a simple and clear comparison about the number of complaints an energy supplier received is a fair reflection of a company’s attitude to customers.   We believe the way we deal with any customer who has cause to complain is fair and transparent and that is why we are publishing our complaints data on our consumer websites in a clear way.  We now urge other energy suppliers to follow our example and provide clarity to all energy consumers.”