The energy firm Npower has been ordered to provide free energy to customers whose complaints it hadn’t responded to on time.
OFGEM, the industry regulator has confirmed that households which have an outstanding ombudsman ruling against the energy supplier for more than 28 days would benefit. In some cases, customers may see some debts written off.
Npower has received a large number of complaints since it brought in a new billing system. The company has admitted problems with the bills of approximately 700,000 households but insists that significant progress is being made to rectify the issues.
The investigation by OFGEM which began over a year ago is still continuing and could lead to fines issued to Npower.
In the wake of the free energy ruling, Npower said: “For these 1,000 customers, Npower will write off any debt on their account and also provide free energy until the ombudsman’s rulings have been applied in full.
“This measure has been agreed with OFGEM and the ombudsman.
“If there are any customers similarly affected after the ruling date on the 21 July, we will review on a case-by-case approach in line with the ombudsman’s current policy and also provide free energy where the remedy has not been completed due to our process or system.
“Npower continues to make steps to improve its service, including halving overall complaints and reducing ombudsman complaints by nearly 10% since the beginning of this year, but sometimes a delay in finally resolving a complaint can occur, for which we apologise.”
Senior partner from OFGEM, Anthony Pygram said: “We’re pleased that we have been able to secure free energy for Npower customers waiting longer than 28 days for a resolution to their ombudsman complaint. We welcome the company’s commitment to working with us to put things right. We expect Npower to implement ombudsman decisions on time. Our intervention has only been necessary because of Npower’s failure to do this. This has led to further frustration for affected customers who have already been waiting some time to have their issue resolved.”