EDF faces Fine of £3m for Breaching Complaint-Handling Rules

EDF faces Fine of £3m for Breaching Complaint-Handling Rules

Ofgem, energy industry regulator, has slammed EDF for violations of complaint-handling rules. EDF has been forced to pay £3m for making its customers face long waits when they tried to contact the call centre and not recording the complaints properly.

EDF has been ordered by Ofgem to pay the amount directly to the Citizens Advice Bureau's debt helpline. The industry regulator has decreed that Energy giant EDF would have to pay one days' profit as punishment for making flaws in customer service.

EDF has made the profit of £560million in the first half of the year from both its UK supply and generation arm. Immediately after the new IT billing system was introduced in 2010, EDF started to receive too many complaints. Customers had to wait for too long before getting through to EDF's call centres.

Ofgem has revealed that one in five people had to give up between January and March 2011 because they were kept on hold for so long. More people were hanging-up by June that year and the problem became worse in July when the average waiting time became 13 minutes.

Beatrice Bigois, EDF Energy's managing director of customers, said, "We recognise that for a period of time the service to our customers was not up to the standards they deserve. We apologize to those customers who were impacted during this period".

According to Ofgem's Sarah Harrison, there were no sufficiently robust processes in place at the time of introduction of a new IT system, which led to unacceptable handling of complaints.

Caroline Flint, Labour's Shadow Energy Secretary, said customer service problem with EDM has once again showed that big energy companies are not concerned about the troubles their customers face.

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