There are now more than 20 energy suppliers in Britain, but over 90% of the market is still covered by the ‘big six’. Our survey shows people are more satisfied with smaller firms, so should you ditch the big players?
Why I chose Good Energy
Sylvia Baron, Which? Energy expert
I switched to a small supplier because I want independent providers to increase their market share to break the dominance of the big six.
I chose Good Energy as I like the fact that when I call them, I can get through to them quickly; when we investigated waiting times on customer-service numbers, it took only 2 minutes 25 seconds to get through, compared with 19 minutes 14 seconds for Npower.
I want to support a firm that matches every unit of electricity I buy with 100% renewable electricity. I may be paying £100 more a year than the cheapest deal, but Good Energy has said it will freeze prices until at least 31 March 2014, and has increased electricity prices only once in the last four years.
Why I chose Npower
Natalie Hitchins, Which? Home Editor
I’m aware that Npower does badly in our customer surveys. But, like many people, my main consideration was price, and on the day I switched it was the cheapest.
My experiences have been mixed. It took a long time for my account to get set up, then a couple of calls to get an incorrect meter reading sorted out, where I waited on hold for ages. On the plus side, I can ring at weekends when some smaller firms are closed.
The website is slick – I like its online monitoring tools and being able to submit meter readings online. But due to a recent computer glitch Npower says many customers will receive late (and higher) bills, and call waiting times are longer due to complaints. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.
If your energy is supplied by one of the big six, why did you pick them? Are you tempted to switch to a smaller company? And if you’re already with an independent, what tempted you away from the big six?