MPs have told energy company bosses to improve their customer service as they struggle to cope with a huge rise in calls from customers unable to pay their energy bills.
Being quizzed as part of a Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee hearing on energy pricing, bosses from E.ON, EDF, Scottish Power and Centrica admitted that call volumes had placed immense pressure on the companies since the price cap rose by 54 per cent at the start of the month.
With data showing that all four companies’ customer service scores have fallen below acceptable levels on the Citizens Advice customer service scorecard, MP Mark Pawsey told bosses in the hearing their firms “need to get back to a better place than where [they] are now”.
All four companies said they had seen an increase in calls from customers worried about debt, with EDF alone recording a 40 per cent increase. Chris O’ Shea, CEO of Centrica, said outstanding debt had “risen more than £50m in the past year”.
While Scottish Power CEO Keith Anderson and O’Shea suggested they had retrained or redeployed staff to deal with the surge in calls, only Simone Rossi, CEO at EDF, indicated the company had hired extra staff.
Around 300 extra staff have been hired by EDF, representing an increase of 15 per cent, Rossi said. Pawsey, however, pointed out that this did not match the 20 per cent increase in customers EDF has taken on due to the collapse of other energy suppliers.