EDF Energy to pay £3m after new SAP IT system migration led to complaints handling breaches

Utility company EDF Energy is to pay £3 million to compensate for a breach of complaint handling rules during a migration to a new SAP IT system.

An investigation by energy industry regulator Ofgem found that the company did not have the appropriate procedures in place to receive, record and process all customers’ complaints efficiently between May 2011 and January 2012. The investigation was started when EDF recorded a 30 percent increase in complaints during the migration of a new IT system in 2011, built on SAP with Genesys contact centre software to replace multiple legacy systems..

“EDF Energy failed to have sufficiently robust processes in place when they introduced a new IT system and this led to the unacceptable handling of complaints,” said Sarah Harrison, Ofgem’s senior partner with responsibility for enforcement.

According to a 2012 report on the investigation, Ofgem said that EDF had brought in external advisors - believed to be Accenture - to implement the IT system. EDF confirmed to ComputerWorldUK that "Accenture were one of many contractors involved in the project."

Outages and doubling of complaints

Under the Gas and Electricity Consumer Complaints Handling Standards (CHSR) Regulations 2008, utility providers are required to receive, handle and process consumer complaints in an efficient and timely manner; electronically record prescribed information when a consumer complaint is received and where a consumer complaint has not been resolved by the end of the working day after the day it was received.

However, due to technical problems during the system migration, EDF breached these rules. The system experienced outages of over 700 minutes in June 2011 and nearly 400 minutes in July 2011.

This led to many customers experiencing high call waiting times, with many hanging up before their call was answered. For those that did get through to a customer services operator, EDF failed to record all the required details for the complaints, such as the date of receipt, a summary of the complaint and action taken.

At times, when the system went down, EDF did not log complaints until some time after they were received.

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