Complain about utilities
If you are not receiving the service you expect from your energy or water supplier, or if something goes wrong, you may want to make a complaint. All gas and electricity companies, as well as Irish Water, must have a complaints handling process in place for their customers.
If you have a problem with your gas or electricity service, you should first discuss your problem with your gas or electricity supplier. If the problem is with your water supply, and you are connected to the public mains, you should contact Irish Water.
If you have followed the complaints process and you are not satisfied with the response, you can refer the complaint to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). The CRU is a statutory body responsible for regulation of the energy and water sector in Ireland and can investigate your complaint.
What you should know before you complain
Suppliers of gas and electricity, and Irish Water, must comply with rulebooks put in place by the CRU. These are called the Supplier Handbook and the Water Customer Handbook. These handbooks require suppliers to produce codes of practices that cover a number of areas including complaints handling.
Under the Codes of Practice for complaint handling, energy suppliers and Irish Water must:
- Explain what went wrong, and apologise or give compensation (or both) if appropriate
- Have a procedure in place so complaints can be escalated
- Resolve complaints within 2 months
- Provide you with written notice that the complaint has been closed, once it has been resolved
- Inform you of your right to refer the complaint to the CRU if required
- Accept complaints from agencies or third parties acting on your behalf
Irish Water is also required to respond to your complaint within 5 working days with a resolution or an outline of the steps it will take to resolve the issue.
Every energy company (and Irish Water) must have a customer charter, with information about the level of service you should expect, and what the company will do if something goes wrong. This must be published on the company’s website.
The CRU has more information about customer protection.
How do I complain to the supplier?
Make an informal complaint
If you are not happy with your energy or Irish Water service, you might be able to resolve the matter quickly by talking to the company.
For energy (gas and electricity) customers, contact your:
- Energy supplier for issues such as billing, account problems, marketing or advertising, changing supplier or closing your account
- Network operator for issues such as a faulty meter, connection costs, emergencies, planned outages, or connection delays
It is a good idea to keep notes of:
- What happened, including dates and times of conversations
- The name of the person you spoke to
- What was agreed
Having a record of conversations will make it easier for you if you cannot resolve your complaint informally.
Make a formal complaint
If you are unable to resolve the problem informally or you are not happy with the response you get you should make a formal complaint in writing (for example, letter or email).
Check your bill or the customer care section on the website for contact details and information about how complaints are dealt with.
You can get more advice about how to make a complaint.
How do I take my complaint further?
If you have not received a response within the timeline set out by the company, or you are not satisfied with the response, you can bring your complaint to the CRU.
The CRU’s customer care teams can help you with issues you have with your energy supplier or network operator, or with Irish Water. The CRU is an approved body for alternative dispute resolution.
The CRU will only investigate a complaint after you have gone through the normal complaints process of the energy supplier or network, or Irish Water, and the issue is not resolved or you are not satisfied with the supplier’s response.
To make a complaint with the CRU, you must fill out a complaint form and provide this to the customer care team.
What happens after the complaint is lodged?
When the CRU receives your complaint form, it will:
- Contact the energy supplier or network, or Irish Water to confirm that you have completed their complaints process first. If you haven’t, they will tell you to do so.
- Ask the energy supplier or network, or Irish Water, to provide them with a report on their handling of the complaint
- Try to acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days
- Give you a unique reference number – you should use this in all future communication with the CRU
When the CRU receives the report from the supplier
When the CRU receives the report from the energy supplier or network, or Irish Water, it will:
- Send the report to you, normally within 10 to 15 working days from the date your complaint was acknowledged
- You then have a further 10 working days to respond with comments
What happens then?
When the CRU receives information from both sides, it investigates the complaint. The time it takes to investigate will depend on how complex your case is.
The CRU send a proposed decision to both you and the company. Both you and the company have 10 working days to respond with final comments or information. A final decision is issued within 90 days of the CRU receiving your complaint form.
If the CRU upholds your complaint, it may tell the energy supplier or network, or Irish Water, to fix the problem or pay compensation, or both. If compensation is awarded, it must be paid:
- Within 14 days, or
- Within one billing period if it is in the form of credit to your account
The CRU’s decision is binding on the supplier or network operator. However, it is not bindng on you. If you are not happy with the decision made by the CRU, you may consider taking court action through the small claims procedure.
You can find out more about the CRU’s complaint process in its Customer Charter (pdf).
You can find out more information about the CRU customer care team.
The CRU provides an:
Alternatively, you can download complaint forms from the CRU’s section on making a complaint. This can then be sent to the CRU by email or post.