Investigation into EDF's compliance with its obligations under Regulation 4(1) of the Gas and Electricity (Consumer Complaints Handling Standards) Regulations 2008

Opened:
Jan 2009
Closed:
Jun 2010
Company:
EDF Energy
Regulation Area:
Sectoral Regulations
Breach Area:
Customer service

Following an investigation, the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority ("the Authority") found EDF in breach of obligations under Regulation 4(1) of the Gas and Electricity (Consumer Complaints Handling Standards) Regulations 2008 (the "CHSR").

The breach related to the obligation in Regulation 4(1) for the regulated provider to record in written electronic format the details of every complaint received, irrespective of whether such complaint is immediately resolved or not.

The Authority found that EDF breached Regulation 4(1) between October 2008 and March 2009, for the following reasons:

  • over this period EDF recorded a significantly lower number of complaints compared to other suppliers with a similar market share;
  • following contact about this issue by Ofgem in January 2009 and following the introduction of a number of changes to internal procedures and communications thereafter by EDF, a material increase in the number of complaints was recorded;
  • the Authority considered this would not have been the case had EDF’s initial complaint recording numbers been accurate; and
  • the Authority noted that EDF acknowledged that the level of recorded complaints could not be fully relied upon as being representative of the number of complaints received in that period.

In deciding whether it is appropriate to impose a penalty, the Authority is required to take full account of the particular facts and circumstances of the contravention under consideration together with its published guidelines.

The Authority noted that EDF had made payments to two consumer funds totalling £200,000, to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to the CHSR and to its customers. This was in addition to payments the company would otherwise have made to these funds. In all the circumstances of this case, taking into account the nature of the breach, EDF’s acceptance of the problem and the action taken by EDF to resolve it, the Authority considered that these payments obviated the need for a financial penalty.