09 Apr, 2018 | BANKSY
According to a survey where almost 9,000 customers have participated and which includes 31 energy providers in England, Scotland and Wales, the Big Six energy providers performed poorly this year, in comparison to other smaller providers. It has been shown through this survey which was carried out by a reputable surveying firm, that only a third of their customers (32%) confirmed they are satisfied, compared with 52% of medium size energy companies’ customers and 45% of small firms’ customers.
Utility Warehouse was placed on top this year, regaining a position it has held back in 2011. Its score is closely followed by Flow Energy, Octopus Energy and PFP Energy. The top energy companies in the survey are also rated quite highly by customers in regards value for money and how accurate and transparent their utility bills are. Customers reported that the price is the most important factor when choosing an energy provider to switch to, so no surprise that top-scoring firms have customers satisfied about how much they’re paying for their bills. The following chart reveals the scores given from its customers:
1. Utility Warehouse 79%
2. Flow Energy 77%
3. Octopus Energy 76%
3. PFP Energy 76%
5. Utilita 75%
6. Avro Energy 72%
6. Bulb Energy 72%
6. Ovo Energy 72%
9. Ecotricity 71%
9. So Energy 71%
10. Bristol Energy 70%
Utility Warehouse’s business model is different as it allows customers to become agents to sign up new customers. This firm gets a good high score (74% excluding incentivised members, as opposed to 79% including them).
Second-place goes to Flow Energy which is one of the providers to score five stars in three areas of the survey. However Octopus Energy, placed in joint third, is 2018’s big revelation. PFP Energy also in third position is ranked among the best companies for value for money. In total, 11 providers received scores of 70% or higher by their reviewers.
From the worst gas and electricity providers, Npower got the lowest score. Spark Energy and Extra Energy fill the other bottom positions. Npower’s have been scored as the worst provider year after year. Spark Energy placed was in 12th position the previous year but it dropped to 30th this year. Npower and Spark Energy have the joint-largest percentage of very unhappy customers (5%) while the top providers have 0%. A third of Extra Energy’s customers reported the company handles complaints very unprofessionally and official data reveals that Extra Energy took care effectively less than half of the total complaints it received on the same or next working day.
The biggest six energy firms all sit in the bottom of the table. None of them score above average (though EDF Energy and Eon do score the average). Besides Npower, Scottish Power and British Gas also ranked in the bottom which may well be linked to raised prices of their standard tariffs through last year. British Gas and Npower are the only two providers in the survey who got a low rating of two stars out of five for value for money.
Revelation of the year for electricity and gas provider comes to a small energy company named Octopus Energy as is the only energy firm to achieve the highest recommendation. This is the first year it has been big enough to be included in the survey. Octopus start to supply energy since 2015, and it got quickly ranked among the top energy firms. Apart from being rated high, Octopus Energy was the only provider to pass all the tough assessments. These include an assessment of procedures and practices, an undercover investigation regarding how quickly customers can get through to a human, analysis of complaints reports and a check on how its prices compare with other providers. Managing director of home products and services, Alex Neill, said: ‘Energy customers shouldn’t tolerate shoddy service, sky high prices, or failure to resolve complaints.”
The survey was based on reports of 8,761 UK energy customers in September 2017. It was asked of them to rate their gas and electricity providers in regards customer support (online and on the phone), value for money, the accuracy and clarity of the bills, how it handles complaints, and if it helps them to understand and reduce their energy usage. The survey also asked how satisfied they were with their energy providers overall and how likely they would recommend it to a friend.