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Utilities Consumer AdviceFrom 13th June 2014 if you enter into a contract for gas or electricity (or water) on the phone, over the internet or at your home, in most cases you must be given at least 14 days in which to cancel the contract.  You can agree for the service to start before that time, but you still have the 14 days in which to cancel.  If you cancel after the services have been provided but within the 14 days period, then providing all of the information set out in the Consumer Contract Regulations have been set out properly, you will have to pay for the services that you have used.

Guaranteed Standards Scheme

All electricity and gas companies have to follow the scheme and compensation can be claimed if you lose your power supply, if the company fail to keep appointments etc.  How much compensation and when you can claim is set down in the Scheme and will depend up

How much notice you were given for a planned power cut;

How long the power was off for;

How many times you have had power cuts in the last year.

If you are unhappy with your gas or electricity company, then you should follow its complaints procedures and if you are still not happy with the response, you can refer your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.

If you are unhappy with the services being provided by your water company, again follow its complaints procedure and if you are not happy with the response you can refer your complaint to the Consumer Council for Water.

Some complaints about the standard of service provided by a water company can be referred to OFWAT

It is also worth remembering that under the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, traders are under a legal duty to respond to any complaints as quickly as possible, and to use their best efforts to resolve any complaints. This means that companies must respond to your emails and any written letters of complaint that you may send. They must also return any phone calls. If any complaint appears to be valid, then the company should deal with the complaint and try and put things right as quickly as they can. If your complaint is disputed then they should give you a clear explanation of their reasons.