Energy regulator, Ofgem has opened compliance cases into First Utility, Ovo Energy and Utilita over their poor handling of customer complaints after carrying out its biyearly complaints handling survey.

The energy regulator is also expanding recent compliance engagement on complaints handling performance with ScottishPower through a compliance case which includes the results of the survey.

As well as this new compliance action, Ofgem is also requiring all other domestic suppliers surveyed – British Gas, Npower, Utility Warehouse, SSE, EDF Energy, E.ON and Co-operative Energy – to provide improvement plans on how they will deal with complaints and provide appropriate updates.

The survey of over 3,000 complainants found that satisfaction has improved since the last survey in 2016, with a third (32%) of domestic customers satisfied with how their complaint was dealt with, an increase of five percentage points from 2016 (27%).

However, the survey found that the proportion of customers who are dissatisfied (57%) remains higher than those satisfied with how their complaint had been dealt with. The main contributors to high levels of dissatisfaction were the length of time taken to resolve the issue, not being kept up to date with the progress of the complaint and suppliers not providing complainants with a clear view of how long the resolution will take.

Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, said “Although the level of satisfaction about complaint handling has increased over the past two years, it is still unacceptably low. Some suppliers need to be doing considerably more to get the basics right and provide a service their customers deserve. We will be monitoring the level of all suppliers’ customer service performance particularly closely after announcing proposals to introduce a price cap to protect those on poor value default deals from being overcharged. We are ready to – and will – act against those who fail their customers.”

The opening of these compliance cases does not imply that Ofgem has made any findings of non-compliance by the suppliers. Ofgem will report in due course on the findings of its compliance engagement.