Energy firm Solarplicity banned from taking on new customers

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Energy supplier Solarplicity has been banned from taking on new customers for three months due to its poor switching process and customer service.

Energy regulator Ofgem has also banned the company from increasing vulnerable customers’ direct debits.

Ofgem warned that the firm, which has 60,000 customers, could have its licence revoked if it did not improve.

Solarplicity said Ofgem’s decision “disregards the vast improvements that we have made to our customer service”.

Abandoned calls

Ofgem said it had been seeking improvements to Solarplicity’s customer service, “which has been poor for a number of months”.

It said that between March 2018 and September 2018, “there was an unacceptably high proportion of calls abandoned and unacceptably long call waiting times”.

“Whilst call handling has improved, Ofgem has not seen the required improvements elsewhere.”

The regulator said that the ban would remain in place for three months unless it saw significant improvements in the company’s customer service and switching process.

Mary Starks, executive director of consumers and markets at Ofgem, said: “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.”

‘Old data’

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Solarplicity languishes at the bottom of our energy star rating league table, which assesses suppliers’ standards of customer care.

“We’ve shared our concerns about the service consumers are getting with both Solarplicity and Ofgem. It’s now up to Solarplicity to address these matters and start delivering for its customers.”

However, in response to Ofgem’s decision, a spokesperson for Solarplicity said: “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.

“In November, Which? themselves rated us as the fastest energy company to respond to customer calls thanks to substantial additional investment into our staff and IT systems.

“This investment has also significantly strengthened our account switching service, and the vast majority of our customers are able to switch their accounts well within the 21 day-limit.”

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