Ofgem orders Iresa to resolve customer service issues

Publication date
27th March 2018
Information types
Policy areas

Ofgem has banned Iresa from taking on new customers, increasing existing customers’ direct debits, and asking them for one-off-payments, for up to 3 months until it resolves customer service issues. (1)

Over this period, Ofgem has ordered Iresa to improve the service it provides to its customers, including in the following ways: (2)

  • extending call centre hours, bringing down average call waiting times to below 5 minutes, and responding to customers who request a call back by the end of the next working day
  •  responding to customer emails within 5 working days
  • clearing a backlog of consumer emails
  • logging and recording all expressions of customer dissatisfaction
  •  acting to manage and identify all of its vulnerable customers, including offering to put them on a priority services register

Ofgem will monitor Iresa’s response.

If Iresa fails to take these steps within the next three months, Ofgem could take further action which could include, ultimately, revoking the supplier’s licence. Ofgem has taken this action due to the substantial information it has received suggesting that Iresa’s customer service failings risk causing its customers immediate harm.

Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, said: “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.

“It’s crucial that all suppliers provide customers with good service, including acting quickly and effectively to sort things out wherever problems occur.

“Iresa now needs to act quickly and put its house in order otherwise ultimately its licence could be revoked.”

This provisional order is a temporary measure that allows Ofgem to make a supplier stop or perform specific activities within a short timescale, where there’s a high level of information to suggest it may be breaching their licence, and need to quickly change its behaviour to prevent further consumer harm.

Ofgem continues to run a separate longer-term investigation into the company.

Notes to editors

  1. Ofgem has issued this provisional order following substantial information that suggests Iresa risks causing immediate consumer harm due to its customer service processes. Sources include Citizen’s Advice, the Ombudsman, and Ofgem’s own monitoring function.
    This does not imply that we have found conclusive evidence of a breach at this stage. We will examine the information further over the next three months to determine the scope of any failures and any action we may need to take.
    This provisional order is separate from our wider investigation, and does not imply that we have found evidence of, or set outcomes for, any of the points on which we have opened this investigation. Ofgem does not comment on its ongoing investigations.
  2. Ofgem has ordered Iresa to take specific actions, and set them deadlines, that run over the next three months. For more information, see Iresa: Provisional Order. If Iresa fails to improve its service within these deadlines, Ofgem may confirm the provisional order, and ultimately could revoke their licence.  

Further information

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Ruth Somerville: 0207 901 7460

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