Thursday 23 May 2019

Ofgem says it will not confirm Solarplicity’s provisional order

Ofgem says it will not confirm Solarplicity’s provisional order

Ofgem has decided not to confirm the provisional order issued to Solarplicity earlier this year over its poor switching process and customer service issues.

The energy supplier was banned from taking on new customers and increasing vulnerable customers’ direct debits due to “unacceptably high proportion of calls abandoned and unacceptably long call waiting times” between March 2018 and September 2018.

The provisional order required the energy supplier to submit information and documentation to the regulator in respect of its performance against the relevant conditions.

Ofgem said its review of the information provided by Solarplicity found the obligations set out in the provisional order was either achieved or is in progress.

It added: "The supplier has significantly improved its customer service arrangements in relation to complaints handling and the switching process. However, Ofgem still has some concerns in relation to how it treats vulnerable customers and those struggling to pay their bills. We will be actively monitoring Solarplicity’s performance in these areas and the supplier has committed to provide weekly reports to us. If Solarplicity does not improve in these areas, Ofgem reserves the right to take further enforcement action.

"Solarplicity has also agreed to not to take on new customers until 5 August 2019 (other than customers through community energy schemes which it will limit to 200 per week). Solarplicity remains subject to a separate Provisional Order in relation to Feed-in-Tariff payments to generators and continues to work with Ofgem on that issue.”

Letter of undertaking

Solarplicity has provided Ofgem with a letter of undertaking, in which it has agreed to complete the rollout of its new Vulnerable Customers Policy by 7th June 2019 and take other steps to improve its process for identifying and providing services to domestic customers in vulnerable situations.

It has also pledged to update and improve the wording of debt letters that it sends to customers, not take on any new customers until 5th August 2019 and not increase direct debts of vulnerable customers or use debt collection agents to pursue them until it has taken the steps agreed to with regard to vulnerable customers or if agreed to be Ofgem.

Solarplicity welcomed the news and said it has volunteered to continue to work with Ofgem for the next two months.

It adds 60% of all complaints have been resolved within less than 10 days and 90% of emails are being resolved within five days.

A spokesperson said: “The process was thorough on Ofgem’s part and the improvements to our customer service processes, management of vulnerable customers, switching and customer renewals over the weeks will stand us in good stead with our customers going forward. This process has been an opportunity to improve our service delivery and build more robust systems to better serve our customers’ needs.”

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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