Npower publishes apology and promises to pay £1m to vulnerable consumers.

npowerOfgem welcomes the apology made by npower today, and its £1m payment to vulnerable consumers. npower has also given a commitment that its customers should not lose out financially as a direct result of its billing system problems. Following Ofgem intervention, npower has also set out its recovery plan to ensure that service levels improve.

This announcement represents an important step for npower customers. Ofgem has been increasingly concerned about npower’s consumer complaint levels, which have shown a sharp increase in the last year. This has been mirrored in recent analysis by Consumer Futures which found that npower currently gets about five times as many complaints as the least-complained-about major supplier. npower cases reaching the Energy Ombudsman have also trebled since last year.

npower has highlighted three areas where there are particular issues: problems setting up customer accounts; direct debit payments; and billing. The recovery plan sets out detailed actions that have been taken or are currently being put in place in all these areas.

Sarah Harrison, Ofgem senior partner, commented: "Many npower customers will have noticed a serious deterioration in service levels over the last year. The huge growth in complaints about npower is wholly unacceptable and is an issue that Ofgem takes very seriously and is why we intervened in this case.

"We are pleased to see npower’s leadership team focusing on this issue, acknowledging the scale of the problem and sharing with customers its action plan to put things right. npower’s commitment that its customers will not lose out financially as a direct result of the company’s billing system problems is important and we will expect npower to do all it can to identify and rectify such cases. We also welcome npower’s £1m payment to benefit vulnerable consumers.

"npower has agreed to provide Ofgem with additional regular reports on service levels, which will allow us to monitor progress and keep the need for any further action under review."