A spot check by the utilities' regulator of energy suppliers’ compliance with rules around the publication of Time of Use Tariffs last year found eleven findings of non-compliance against eight suppliers.

The breaches related to clarity of the time bands, display of discount information, accuracy of information and consistency of terminology.

The suppliers were ordered to take remedial actions including clearly displaying the time bands in hours, displaying discount information incrementally or in a cumulative way and they were told to review tariff information to avoid inaccurate or misleading information.

The details are contained in the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) Compliance and Enforcement Annual Report 2022.

A separate audit was carried out between June and September last year that looked at payment plans for customers in arrears, identification of vulnerable customers at sign-up, accuracy of energy bills in Braille and fixed-rate tariffs for non-household customers.

It found three findings of non-compliance against two suppliers.

The CRU also examined price comparison websites to see if they complied with 11 principles of the framework that governs them.

It found general compliance with the principles, but identified six minor infringements against three of the sites around issues such as inclusion of all publicly available tariffs and messages explaining estimate price calculations.

An audit of Irish Water was also carried out between February and June of last year.

It found that Irish Water was not compliant with its obligation in relation to the categorisation of customer contacts, as it did not accurately categorise a contact as a complaint rather than as a query.

Irish Water was also found to be not compliant with its obligation to close a Stage 2 complaint, as no written notice of closure of the complaint was provided to the customer in a case which escalated to Stage 2 of Irish Water's complaints process.

Irish Water has implemented remedial actions for this issue and is liaising with the CRU to take action on the first problem identified.

Regarding a water quality incident on an Irish Water supply in Gorey Regional Creagh in Co Wexford in 2021, a follow up investigation by the CRU last year found Irish Water did not accurately categorise several contacts as complaints despite customers expressing dissatisfaction and an expectation of a response or resolution.

The CRU also found that Irish Water did not provide clear and updated information to customers on its website between the 2 September and 17 September 2021, as it was required to.

While a probe of Irish Water’s handling of a water quality incident in Cavanhill, Dundalk, Co Louth in 2021 found Irish Water again did not accurately categorise several contacts as complaints.

The utility also did not follow up with some customers who contacted it in relation to discoloured water and were not provided with any explanation for the issue they were reporting.

It was also found that Irish Water failed to provide information to customers impacted by manganese exceedances in 2020 and failed to ensure information was made available to customers on its website in a timely manner.

"The report seeks to further strengthen the regulatory principle of transparency, ensuring the CRU is accountable for its compliance monitoring and enforcement processes, and in allowing public scrutiny of this work," said Karen Trant, Director of Customer Policy and Protection.

"It also highlights the need for Uisce Éireann to review its contact handling and categorisation processes and to provide a clear and easy process for customers who wish to make a complaint and for customers to be provided with timely and accurate information."