In 2018, Ombudsman Services resolved over 68,000 complaints, of which 45000 where in the energy sector. A large majority (60%) were related to billing, showing that suppliers still have problems with getting the basics right in supplying a consumer with a timely, accurate bill. Ombudsman Services also continued to receive complaints related to the smart meter roll-out, with most issues relating to estimated billing and loss of smart meter communications.
In 2018, eight energy suppliers entered administration or ceased to trade in the UK. While this led to a higher number of complaints being lodged with the Ombudsman, at the same time, it has caused a considerable loss of case fees. This has involved extra costs, with the Ombudsman absorbing £1.3m in bad debt. As put by Matthew Vickers, Chief Ombudsman: “this level of bad debt, as well as the additional work we do which is not linked to the case fee, means that in years to come we will have to think about the way we price and fund our service to ensure that this remains sustainable.”