5th Jun 2018
Small energy supplier Iresa has failed to meet targets to improve its customer service and is now facing an indefinite ban on taking on new users, until it meets a number of requirements outlined by the regulator Ofgem.
The original ban, which also prevents Iresa from increasing direct debits or asking for one-off payments, was put in place for up to three months. Now Ofgem has issued an extension to the ban, claiming that Iresa has not taken sufficient steps to improve its service.
The firm, which has 100,000 customers, has until 21 June to respond to the proposals, or else it will face a longer ban until it can prove it has met all customer service targets.
Issues such as a 40-minute average wait for answering calls, unexpected increases in direct debit demands and an inability for customers to log complaints prompted the intervention.
The regulator has ordered the company to: extend call centre hours to bring down the average call wait time to under five minutes; respond to customer emails within five working days; clear a backlog of emails; log customer complaints; and offer to add vulnerable customers to a priority services register. Failure to comply could lead to Ofgem revoking Iresa’s licence.
“This order sends out a very clear message to suppliers that where they fail their customers on service, Ofgem will step in and take strong action," said Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem. "It's crucial that all suppliers provide customers with good service, including acting quickly and effectively to sort things out wherever problems occur."