Smaller energy firms score better than Big Six for customer satisfaction

The 2017 Which? energy supplier satisfaction survey table is topped yet again this year by smaller energy companies, with Ovo Energy coming top and Npower scoring the lowest for the seventh year running. Smaller energy firms generally scored higher on key areas such as value for money and customer service, while the Big Six continue to languish in the bottom half of the table.

The UK’s biggest energy satisfaction survey asked almost 9,000 people to rate their energy provider on their customer service and the way they deal with complaints, value for money, accuracy and clarity of bills and whether they feel the energy company helps them to save money. Twenty three energy suppliers in Great Britain and all six energy providers in Northern Ireland were ranked.

The survey comes just two weeks ahead of the Which? deadline for energy suppliers to submit plans on how they will help customers stuck on the most expensive deals. Which? found:

  • Npower was the lowest-scoring supplier for the seventh year running, with a customer score of just 44%.

  • The remaining Big Six suppliers sit in the lower half of the table once again this year with lower customer scores than many small suppliers: Eon (57%), British Gas (56%), SSE (56%), EDF Energy (55%) and Scottish Power (50%).

  • Ovo Energy has come top for the second year running with a customer score of 78%, followed by newcomer Places for People Energy (76%), Ebico (75%) and Flow Energy (73%).

  • Small suppliers Good Energy (66%) and M&S Energy (55%) slipped eight and nine places in the table respectively, compared with 2016.

  • Electric Ireland (80%) came top out of the suppliers in Northern Ireland, followed by Budget Energy (76%).

  • Price was the most important consideration when choosing an energy supplier.

  • Which?’s Consumer Insight Tracker also found that energy prices now top the consumer worry list, along with fuel prices and public spending cuts with nearly two thirds (64%) of UK households worried about energy prices.

  • No energy supplier has been awarded Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) status, as none of the suppliers scored highly enough to achieve the coveted status.

With energy prices still a major concern for consumers and trust in the sector dwindling, Which? is calling on energy firms to outline how they will help customers stuck on the most expensive deals. The Which? deadline of 31 January for plans from energy firms is looming and to date, not one energy company has stepped up and outlined how they will solve the problems they are creating.

With price rises expected to hit customers hard, as part of its’ Fair Energy Prices campaign Which? is calling on energy companies to act now to make sure their customers are not needlessly paying over the odds for their energy.

Richard Headland, Which? Magazine Editor, said:

“Yet again we have found the Big Six energy firms performing poorly and smaller suppliers leading the way when it comes to customer satisfaction. Larger suppliers need to urgently up their game in line with smaller providers.

“Energy companies should now be doing much more to genuinely engage their customers who are stuck on these poor-value deals. If nothing is done, then the energy companies will have no one to blame if the Government and the regulator have to step in to ensure this market starts working for consumers.”

Which? found that, on average, customers with the ‘Big Six’ could be saving up to £330 a year by moving to the cheapest dual fuel deal on the market this winter. Consumers looking for cheaper energy deals can compare deals with Which? Switch, a transparent and impartial way to compare energy tariffs and find the best gas and electricity supplier.

 

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Notes to Editors:

  • Full table of results:

  • In September and October 2016, we surveyed 8,917 members of the general public on what they thought of their energy company. We asked them to rate its customer service and  complaints handling, value for money, accuracy and clarity of bills and how their supplier helps them save energy.

  • The full breakdown of each energy supplier’s performance, including results of our customer satisfaction survey, policy assessment, call waiting investigation and complaints performance assessment can be found at: http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/energy-companies/article/guides

  • Which?’s Northern Ireland energy guide can be found at: http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/energy-companies/article/northern-ireland-electricity-and-gas

  • None of the suppliers scored highly enough on all areas we take into account ‐ customer score, price, performance on complaint handling and call answering times, whether their policies and practices are in the best interest of the consumer, and regulator fines or sanctions ‐ to achieve the coveted Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) award.

  • In November 2016, Which? called on all energy companies to find new ways of getting customers stuck on poor value deals to move. Our ‘Fair Energy Prices’ campaign is challenging the energy companies to publish plans by 31st January 2017 detailing how they will engage standard tariff customers and take immediate action this winter to deliver against this plan. Responses from all suppliers will be published on the Fair Energy Prices website once submitted to Which?.

  • The energy satisfaction survey does not take into account the Fair Energy Prices campaign.

  • A standard variable tariff is a supplier’s ‘default’ tariff. It has variable prices that can go up and down with the market, but is usually an energy supplier’s most expensive tariff.

  • Which?’s Consumer Insight Tracker is a nationally representative online survey of around 2,000 UK households which found, in November 2016, that energy prices was the top worry for consumers.

  • Average energy tariffs were calculated for the Big Six variable rate dual fuel tariffs from Energylinx data. The prices calculated were for typical medium household use (12,500kWh per year gas and 3,100kWh electricity), by monthly direct debit. Prices were averaged across all regions.

  • Which? is encouraging members of the public to sign its ‘Fair Energy Prices’ petition to support the campaign, which has had over 500,000 signatures.

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