British Gas responds to energywatch criticism


Phil Bentley,
Managing Director,
British Gas
London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — November 2, 2007 – British Gas has hit back at criticism voiced by watchdog energywatch about customer service levels and accused it of failing to recognize the improvements in the performance of British Gas. energywatch’s comments were reported on on October 29th.

Since Phil Bentley became Managing Director in March 2007 complaints to energywatch have fallen by almost 60 per cent and are now at the lowest levels since May 2006. Bentley said: "The actions we have taken to overhaul our customer service are showing real results and we call upon energywatch to show an even handed approach and recognize the considerable improvements we have made in the last 6 months."

Since April 2007 British Gas has seen month on month improvement across all its measures on customer service. September energywatch figures show the number of complaints and contacts about British Gas fell by more than half – a 56 per cent fall from April 07.

The utility says that the addition of 800 extra customer service staff has seen the average time to answer customer calls fall to 32 seconds, compared to 116 seconds in January 2007. Better training of customer service staff has seen the number of calls being transferred fall to 10 per cent from 17 per cent in January 2007.

In September 2007 British Gas responded to 85.75% of emails within 48 hours, a major improvement on response levels in January 2007 when the company responded to 80% within 7 days. In September 2007 91.69% of all correspondence was responded to within 7 days, while in January 2007 that figure was 80% within 7 days.
"We still have much to do but we’ve led the market on lowering prices. Click 4 is still the cheapest tariff on the market, and we have made real progress on delivering better customer service as well as leading on the fuel poverty and green agenda."