The information, released today (September 9) by Consumer Focus, reveals the leap in complaints during the last quarter.

And, as Consumer Focus points out, the complaints picked up after several prices rises announced early in the year kicked in.

Figures, covering July to September this year, show complaints across the industry rose on average by just over a quarter (26%).

Complaints increased the most for EDF Energy up by almost three quarters since spring and up by 91% on the same quarter last year.

EDF Energy, who apologised to upset customers, said the slip in the league table was down to its roll out of a new billing system, which has left it with a zero star rating.

Along with EDF both npower, who were and E.ON, have dropped a star in the league table rating, with the industry average falling from four stars to three stars this quarter.

Sadly for EDF Energy’s the increase in complaints has led to it becoming the first supplier with a zero star rating in the league table.

Consumer Focus director of external affairs, Adam Scorer, said: “It is disappointing, but perhaps not surprising, that complaints on energy issues have risen at a time when energy bills are increasing.

“Energy companies have repeatedly said they want to rebuild consumer trust. Good customer service and complaints handling are key ingredients to building consumer trust but suppliers still have a long way to go.

“Complaints about EDF Energy over the summer have had a catastrophic impact on its rating.

“While system changes inevitably cause disruption to customers, this must be minimised.

“Its current complaints performance is unacceptable and the company must take further steps to tackle this.”

A spokeswoman for EDF energy said the company was ‘disappointed’ and explained responses to customers had been affected by the installation of a new system.

She said: “Despite careful planning and the recruitment of over 700 additional customer service staff to protect our service levels to customers through the transition, our customer services operated to a lower standard between May and September.

“As soon as delays occurred we recruited an additional 400 service staff, which naturally took time to become effective, and we slowed down our plan to move customers onto the new system to ensure service levels were stabilised and restored.

“As we finish the transition in the next month or so we will strive to maintain the improved service while we finish the job.

“We are confident that the actions we have taken and the investments we have made in our new systems will ensure EDF Energy customers enjoy consistently improving service as we move forward.”

The final league places were SSE, British Gas, E.ON, ScottishPower, npower and EDF Energy.

Luke Walsh

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