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What do you think about your energy supplier?

We’ve published the results of our annual energy satisfaction survey – once again finding that the Big Six energy suppliers aren’t up to scratch. So, is your energy supplier one of the best or one of the worst?

In our latest energy company satisfaction survey we asked 8,902 people about their experiences with their energy suppliers. And once again we’ve found that the smaller energy companies are topping the table for customer satisfaction. There’s a distinct gap in customer satisfaction between them and the Big Six (those are Npower, British Gas, Scottish Southern Electric, Eon, EDF Energy, and Scottish Power).

Does size matter?

Overall the average customer score for satisfaction from their energy company was just 53%. But, smaller companies certainly seem to be leading the way.

OVO Energy once again came out on top with an 82% satisfaction score, and were closely followed by Good Energy with 81%.

Nicki told us that her experience with a smaller energy company has been positive:

‘They are always friendly and helpful – unlike my experiences with other suppliers. I haven’t had any problems, I like the app and that they are using more sustainable energy where possible.’

The Big Six companies continue to lag behind the small companies, with none featuring in the top group of our survey. Disappointingly Npower have come last for the sixth year running with a 41% satisfaction rating.

In response to our findings, Npower’s Managing Director, Simon Stacey said:

We’re really disappointed to see these results. We have been focussing our efforts on improving our overall customer service and we are seeing results improve in some key areas as this report shows. For example, complaints have dropped by nearly 70% compared to last year. We recognise we still have a huge amount of work ahead of us to do and we’re absolutely determined to get it completed as fast as we can.

Interestingly, what we found was that almost nine in ten of the people we surveyed remain customers of the Big Six suppliers, and only one in ten having switched energy provider in the past year.

As a customer of larger suppliers, Sandra shared with us her experience with us:

‘I switched in 2014 from Npower to Eon. The process was difficult, and I had to submit meter readings on 4 occasions before the switch went through. Npower was a nightmare – up until the end of July I was still receiving estimated bills.’

We need a fix

In 2015 our research found that household energy bills should be reduced to reflect the lower wholesale energy costs. And then again, last week we saw in the news that wholesale gas and electricity had fallen by nearly a third in a year, yet energy companies have failed to lower bills in response. So far we’ve only seen British Gas cut prices in the last six months, but this was just 5%.

As Sean from Aberdeen put it:

‘Consumers consistently pay a ridiculous amount of money for gas and electricity, allowing energy suppliers to make record breaking profits, yet when there are reductions in the cost of energy production suppliers never pass savings on to consumers.’

With the current cold weather, people paying over the odds for their energy on top of poor customer satisfaction in the Big Six suppliers, we need to fix the broken energy market. If the Competition and Market Authority’s energy market inquiry is to be a success it has to set out proposals that will address the appalling levels of customer service, switching and value for money.

It’s time for these energy companies to up their game and provide the service their customers deserve. If you agree that with us then back our campaign today.


So over to you, what have your experiences been like with your energy supplier?

Comments
Member

My feelng is to keep my existing conventional meters and send in monthly meter readings until there is some genuine advantage to me in having a smart meter. For example the option to use 1 hour tariffs or to have selective load shedding in case of a capacity problem – this would help those dependent, medically say, upon an uninterrupted mains supply .

Member

It’s wise for anyone dependent on electrical equipment to have a backup supply for equipment and emergency lighting. Oxygen concentrators and air pumps use little power.

Member

Oxygen concentrators don’t have back-up batteries in my experience, so cylinders are necessary. Bipap machines are essential to many and have back-up batteries that will last 2 hours. So we need to think about ensuring such appliances are not prevented from working by loss of supply. Smart meters are one way of supplying electricity to essential users when choices have to be made.

Member

Any mains-operated equipment can be connected to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which consists of an automatically charged battery linked to an inverter to produce mains power. I have a small one to power my desktop computer to prevent possible damage if the mains fails. I knew a chap who made his own setup powered by a large battery.

If smart meters were used to turn off mains power for any reason other than a national emergency there could be riots in the streets. The possibility of remote switching off of power is one of the concerns about smart meters.

The number of people with medical needs is relatively small and UPS is a perfectly adequate solution.

Member

I must say I think a UPS is quite useful. I had one installed in our hall cupboard where the consumer unit is situated to provide light if it is necessary to reset a breaker on the lighting circuit or if there is a general power failure. The light can also be switched on at any time to illuminate the dark cupboard.

Member

We must think about the vulnerable, not just ourselves. Most people will not have UPS’s. There will not be “riots in the streets”; if there is a major fault on the system but the supplies to a small minority of customers at risk can be maintained by smart meters the vast majority will see that as a worthwhile application of technology. Many more people than you think will have mains medical equipment and would much prefer to have supply maintained than, for example, to have to retrieve large, heavy oxygen cylinders from storage – if it happens while they are awake of course.

Perhaps w you would give a reference to the claim about “remote switching concerns” from people who have been properly informed?

Member

“The number of people with medical needs is relatively small”. Really? As just one example their are 1.2 million people with COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder – many of whom require home oxygen treatment, most effectively supplied by a mains-powered electrical oxygen concentrator. Many of these may also requires breathing help from a Bipap – again electrically powered – to both relieve their breathing muscles and to remove excess CO2.

That doesn’t seem like a “relatively small” number to me. Let alone all those with other medical conditions.

Perhaps we should be thinking about more positive ways to help these people and less about the inconvenience we might have to put put up with for a few hours at most? If there is a way smart meters can help, we should be supporting it, in my view, not suggesting these people have to go out to buy and install UPSs to protect their health

Member

Where we live power cuts are not – sadly – uncommon. We have two UIPS systems to cope with this, but on one occasion we were off for four days.

Recently, however, spikes have become a more worrying problem; in fact, it was the spikes that wrecked a couple of HDs and prompted me to get a second UIPS. This is, of course, down to the distributors and not the Power company itself, which is OVO, and tends to be pretty good.

What’s important is to log spikes and cuts, so you have a record when asking the distributor for compensation. They paid for new HDs for me because I’d done that.

(I’m sure I’ve posted about this before, but it doesn’t seem to be in this topic )