Ofgem has banned Economy Energy from taking on new customers, initially for three months, until it resolves its customer service issues.
The provisional order against the supplier also bans it from requesting one-off payments and increasing direct debits.
Ofgem says that in the period Economy Energy must:
- Improve and expand its customer contact procedures via email and webchat
- Address its billing and payment failures
- Issue customer refunds in a timely manner
If Economy Energy fails to make improvements within three months, Ofgem can confirm the provisional order to extend the ban. Ultimately the regulator can revoke Economy Energy’s licence.
Ofgem said it has taken action due to the decline in the standards of Economy Energy’s customer service, complaints handling processes and standards, and billing and payment procedures.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Today’s action by Ofgem is a welcome and necessary step towards fixing the consistently poor service experienced by Economy Energy customers. We’ve raised a number of concerns in recent months about Economy Energy to the regulator. These include failing to refund customer credit balances and not properly billing people switching to a different supplier.
“But there’s a wider problem behind this news. Ofgem’s upcoming licensing review offers a major opportunity to stop underprepared firms entering the market. Further action is needed now to address the ongoing issues caused by poorly performing companies already operating.”