If the IT meltdown, poor security, numerous errors, poor service and tin ear to customers aren’t enough to put you off The Co-operative Energy, not to mention the paucity of interest in these issues shown by those running to be directors of Midcounties Co-operative, who own it, here’s another reason.
These are the official statistics for complaints made about each of the largest utility firms in the second quarter of this year, calculated on the basis of complaints per 100,000 customers so that they are comparable across companies of different sizes.
Complaints per 100,000 customers, Q2 2015
- Scottish Power 121.53
- The Co-operative Energy 57.95 (up from 19.63 and 4th place in Q1)
- npower 57.11
- First Utility 37.52
- E.ON 13.60
- Ovo 9.74
- British Gas 9.05
- EDF 7.47
- Utility Warehouse 4.81
- SSE 3.98
What’s particularly worth noting about complaints to the Ombudsman is that the Ombudsman only covered cases where people have first tried complaining to the firm itself. So these figures aren’t only a reflection of the quality of the original service, they are also a reflection of failures to handle complaints when they are made to The Co-operative Energy.As rather neatly demonstrated by my case, where the Ombudsman has ruled in my favour… and then The Co-operative Energy failed to follow the Ombudsman’s ruling on paying me compensation. So having repeatedly lost my complaint, followed by failing to handle it properly when finally it wasn’t lost, Co-op has rounded this off with not obeying the Ombudsman.
And yet despite all this – the national figures showing that my case is hardly the rare exception – none of the candidates to be directors of its owners, The Midcounties Co-operative, have thought any of the problems at Co-op Energy are worthy of mention in their manifestos. No word of apology, no mention of lessons learned, no whispers of plans to do things differently in future.
Update: there’s now a Facebook group for unhappy Co-operative Energy (ex-)customers.