Energy supplier Solarplicity has been hit with a ban on signing up new customers by regulator Ofgem, after thousands of complaints from customers.
The supplier has been told it will not be allowed to take on new customers for three months, or until customer service has been improved, after regulator Ofgem slammed their current treatment of customers.
Ofgem has decided to take action after months of complaints from customers about the supplier, accusing them of poor customer service. There have also been problems with its switching processes.
There have been 1,035 complaints investigated against the supplier in 2018, the Energy Ombudsman says.
Solarplicity will not be allowed to sign up any new customers or increase the direct debits of vulnerable customers for the duration of this ban.
The regulator says it believes it is protecting customers, and has called on the supplier to provide the level of service its customers expect.
If the supplier doesn’t clean up its act to Ofgem’s requirements, the regulator could extend the ban, and has warned it could take away Solarplicity’s license.
Ofgem director of consumers and markets Mary Starks said: “We have taken action against Solarplicity to protect its customers from experiencing further detriment. Solarplicity must get its house in order and provide a level of service that its customers expect. If not, Ofgem will take the necessary steps to ensure customers are further protected and will take the relevant action needed to do this, which may result in its licence being revoked.”
However, Solarplicity is not happy with Ofgem’s decision.
A spokesperson for Solarplicity responded: “We are committed to meeting the expectations of every single Solarplicity customer, but Ofgem’s decision, which was made on old historical data, disregards the vast improvements that we have made to our customer service.”
Solarplicity claims the vast majority of customers switch within the limit of 21 days, and that the ban doesn’t cover its partnerships with social housing landlords.
What does Ofgem want Solarplicity to do?
Ofgem says there were “unacceptably long call waiting times” and an “unacceptable” number of calls abandoned between March and September last year, so wants Solarplicity to improve its customer contact channels and have queries and issues sorted faster. They did note, however, that there had been improvements recently. Solarplicity has 60,000 customers.