Feeds

Botched SAP billing system helps Npower reach No 1 on gripes list

Consumer advocates: 'Unacceptable... serious falings'

Boost IT visibility and business value

Failure to fix problems with an SAP-based customer billing system has seen UK energy giant Npower earn the most complaints for a power supplier during 2013.

One in every 326 customers lodged a complaint against Npower, putting it top of a UK energy supplier league table released today by Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland.

Npower earned 10 times as many complaints as the least complained about supplier, SSE.

Complaints included late bills, bills going early, payments being stopped, new accounts and direct debits not being created.

“The consumer bodies are concerned that despite acknowledging over a year ago that its new billing system is causing problems for consumers there’s not been any improvement in complaint numbers,” the consumer advocates said in a statement.

Npower started to transfer its 5.4 million customers to a new billing system based on SAP in 2011 following completion of the first phase of a multi-million pound IT project to overhaul Npower's legacy, inhouse systems led by IBM Global Services UK and Ireland.

IBM GS ran systems integration, business change and implementation, the design and build of the SAP billing and customer system, and the build of a new contact centre telephony infrastructure that was to be integrated with the SAP system. IBM was also put in charge of training Npower staff.

The idea was for a system that improved customer experience by cutting times spent fixing problems.

The IT system was for use by customer service and sales teams and would handle administration, maintenance, billing and payment.

By December 2013, Npower admitted the wheels had fallen off the project and apologised. It claimed a fifth of its customers had been affected.

Director of customer services Gareth Pickles said Npower had committed an additional 800 staff to fixing the problem with a team “working hard to resolve, test and implement resolutions".

Complaints against Npower were on an unbroken upward trajectory through out the whole of 2013 right from January, according to the consumer groups, while complaints for the UK's other big six saw hovered relatively consistently. Only Scottish Power saw a noticeable spike in customer complaints, starting in October last year.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said in a statement: “It is s unacceptable that Npower has not yet sorted out the serious failings in its billing systems and customer service which are causing so many complaints and serious problems for its customers.”

Npower blamed “implementation and migration” problems, which it categorised as “on-going.”

In a statement to The Register, Npower claimed it was making “good progress” in dealing with the root causes but remained “totally committed" to resolving any problems these had created for customers. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Linux Foundation says many Linux admins and engineers are certifiable
Floats exam program to help IT employers lock up talent
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.