The results of the biggest ever energy company satisfaction survey are out. And it’s not good news for the major energy suppliers. Would you be prepared to switch energy provider for better customer service?
In our biggest ever energy company satisfaction survey, we asked more than 10,000 people about their experiences with their energy suppliers. Our full table of results shows ratings and customer scores for 15 energy companies in Britain and two in Northern Ireland.
The smaller suppliers scored highly, with Good Energy finishing top, followed by Ecotricity, Ebico and Utility Warehouse.
Meanwhile, the biggest energy suppliers were left out in the cold. SSE, Eon, Scottish Power and British Gas lagged behind their smaller competitors, while Npower and EDF Energy came bottom of the table.
The results highlight yet another example of how the energy market is broken with the largest suppliers, who dominate the market, failing to compete on customer satisfaction. At Which? we’re calling for radical new action to increase competitive pressure so that you can be certain you’re getting a good deal. We want the introduction of a single unit price so that energy costs can be easily compared at a glance, just like petrol forecourt displays, making it easier for you to find the best deal.
The power of customer service
Good customer service had a big impact on how companies scored in our survey. Good Energy and Ecotricity both scored the highest mark with five stars. Down at the bottom of the table, EDF Energy and Npower only scored two stars for customer service.
We also asked for people’s experiences with their energy supplier’s customer service. This Npower customer struggled to get any service at all: ‘They don’t answer my emails’.
An EDF Energy customer was left hanging on the line: ‘It takes far too long to get through to someone on the phone’. British Gas could have been more helpful for this customer: ‘Not at all helpful when dealing with queries’. And SSE gave one customer the silent treatment: ‘They never returned my phone calls’.
What’s the cost of good service?
Our survey also showed that good customer service doesn’t have to mean paying a premium for it.
Good Energy was about 20% more expensive than the cheapest deal on the market, but that’s just £42 a year more than British Gas’ standard tariff*. Other small suppliers like Ovo Energy and The Co-operative Energy have some of the cheapest tariff on the market at the moment. So, getting good service doesn’t automatically mean having to compromise on price.
Have you had a good experience with your energy supplier, or have you found its customer service seriously lacking?
*Tariff price comparisons based on average annual consumption of 16,500 kWh of gas and 3,300 kWh of electricity, paying by monthly direct debit, credit meter (not Economy 7) and for the region closest to average. Correct on 10 January 2013.