/ Home & Energy

Your views: energy suppliers

energy supply

Is your energy supplier good to you? Or do you find yourself regularly switching and searching for ways to keep your energy bills down?

Whether it’s debating the looming winter bill, examining the collapse of GB Energy, or discussing the sector as a whole, we’ve talked a lot about energy over the past few months.

Here are some highlights of your comments…

The switching game

When talking about energy bills, we found there are a number of serial energy switchers on Which? Conversation.

Jackie, for instance, appears to have saved hundreds by staying one step ahead of the game:

‘I switched a couple of times over the past few years, I was paying dual fuel with British Gas, which was £175 per month. I switched to Scottish Power, because of a small saving and got my bills down to £167 per month. After two months with them, the price went up to the same as BG. I switched again to EDF, and up until last month, paid £88 per month. That was two years ago. They are now putting payments up to £92 per month, which I think is fair. There are four adults here in a three-bed house. I also had a £200 rebate on my last bill.’

We’ve also heard of impressive investigative work going on to tackle energy bills. Which? Conversation commenter, Sean, detailed the findings of his work:

‘I have managed to monitor and record my energy bills over a three-year period and have concluded that the cheapest way is to only put on heating when you come home from work, and not keep it on a constant low, as this is not economical (neither is a Hive, Nest etc…). I have saved over £100 p/month so far. What I have also found is changing light bulbs to LED definitely saves money and if you have an open fire, install a wood burner, as this makes a huge difference.’

However, for others, there’s little appetite to play the switching game, as we’ve also heard from plenty of people who are quite happy to stick with their provider.

John Woodhead explained:

‘I have been with SSE for the past four years, three years on prepay meters and then changed to open meters on a two-year fixed tariff. The change over was free of charge and with the help of their customer service, was completed without any problems.’

And Mike Palmer added:

‘My wife and I have been with British Gas for our electric and gas for the past 28 years, since, in fact, we set up home together. I have been asked, bullied and begged to change my provider, but BG have always given me the very best service. Their staff are friendly and will chat within minutes of asking to talk with someone – something other companies do not or cannot do, some taking up to two hours to get back to you.’

But while John and Mike have had positive experiences, your comments prove that’s not necessarily the norm.

Energy satisfaction

In our annual energy customer satisfaction survey, we quizzed nearly 9,000 people about their experiences with their energy company and ranked 23 energy suppliers in GB and six in Northern Ireland from best to worst.

And once again it shows that the Big Six (British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON UK, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE) continue to lag behind some of the smaller suppliers.

In November 2016, we launched our energy campaign after our research found that energy providers simply weren’t doing enough to help move their customers off Standard Variable Tariffs, which are often the most expensive.


We’ve been calling on energy providers to outline a plan on how they will help these customers switch tariffs, setting the challenge of producing this plan by the end of January. So far we’ve seen signs of movement, but still no concrete plans…

What do you think of your energy supplier? How do you think they could serve you better? And do you have any energy-saving tips to share?

What's most important to you when choosing an energy supplier?

Cost and value for money (89%, 407 Votes)

Customer service (5%, 24 Votes)

Simple and easy billing (3%, 14 Votes)

None of the above... tell us in the comments (2%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 456

Loading ... Loading ...
Comments
Member

I took out a duel fuel contract with e.on in October and at present I am £259.93 in credit, despite having smart meters, so there is no excuse for overcharging me. When I arranged the contract I specifically asked e.on not to hold on to my money in that way, but they obviously did not listen.

I was with Ovo in my previous home and they behaved more responsibly. They might regain my custom when my contract with e.on expires.

Member
bishbut says:
19 January 2017

I am in credit with OVO I do not mind as they pay interest on the money and asked me if I wanted to reduce my Direct Debit payment as I was somewhat overpaying for the energy I was using Why did you change from OVO???

Member

The previous owners of the house were customers of e.on so I thought it would be easier to stay with them to avoid the possibility of problems with switching, as I had experienced with one switch. To start with, e.on was not overcharging so I took out a contract for a further year. Roll on October. As you say, Ovo pays interest on credit balances.

Member

Wow that’s a lot to be in credit by wavechange, especially as you have a smart meter too. Have you spoken to Eon about it?

Member

Not yet, Lauren. It was your Convo that prompted me to have a look at my account last night. When I was with e.on in my previous home I used to call them regularly over growing credit balances. Scottish Power were worse.

Member

Interestingly, OVO has just repaid some £600 to me, and I’m still in credit. The minuscule interest they pay is still more than most banks, anyway.

Member
Dr David Noble says:
19 January 2017

the negotiated industry standard is to return to your nominated bank account any amount over £5

Some utility companies will tell you that they only return monies at certain times of the year ie half yearly

This is NOT the negotiated agreement
If you experience this remind them you know well the industry standards and will raise a formal complaint with the ombudsman if the monies are NOT returned within 5 business days
An air of authority,and, punctuate your email (always in writing!) with a threat always works well

Carry out your threat though if necessary!

Dr David Noble

Member

In my case a telephone call has been all that was needed to obtain a refund of credit balances or – more often – to cancel an unnecessary planned increase in a direct debit payment.

Several years ago I moved from e.on to Scottish Power and was told that SP tried to arrange that customers built up a credit balance during the summer months to offset greater energy use during the winter. I acknowledge that might help many people budget but I can manage my own money adequately without this ‘help’.