Business

Small firms top Which? annual energy survey

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Small energy suppliers have beaten the so-called Big Six in a customer satisfaction survey by Which?

The consumer group surveyed 8,000 UK energy users about their provider and issues such as value for money, customer service and accurate billing.

The top five were small suppliers: Octopus Energy, Robin Hood Energy, So Energy, Ebico and Tonik Energy.

The Big Six - British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE - were in the bottom third of the table.

'Much improved service'

Which? rated 30 energy companies in England, Scotland and Wales, covering more than 90% of that market, as well as six of the seven companies in Northern Ireland.

"Our survey shows the importance of value for money and good customer service - energy suppliers delivering both to their customers tend to be thriving, while the Big Six and other poorly-ranked firms are paying the price for not giving customers what they want," said Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services.

"All energy companies should be working to give their customers competitive prices and excellent customer service.

"If you're not getting a good deal, you should look to switch, as you could potentially save over £100 and get a much improved service."

Satisfaction

Octopus, which supplies more than 400,000 homes, was rated as good or excellent value for money by nine in 10 customers and 96% of its customers gave it the same rating for online customer service.

However, small supplier Solarplicity, rated for the first time in the Which? survey, was the worst energy firm according to its customers, with an overall customer score of 44%.

It was the only provider to receive one-star ratings, including for customer service, both online and on the phone

SSE was the highest-ranked of the Big Six - and the only one to receive four-star ratings for its customer service online and on the phone.

Npower and Scottish Power were joint lowest ranked of the Big Six and were the only two of them to receive two-star ratings for their complaints handling.

Which? found less than one in five (18%) Big Six customers are very satisfied with their supplier, compared with a third (33%) of customers with medium and small suppliers.

Data from Citizens Advice released today showed that some areas of the country were more likely to switch than others, with Yorkshire and Humberside leading the way.

Its research suggested that 21.1% of households in Yorkshire and Humberside switched energy supplier in 2018. Greater London, with just 16.3% of households switching last year, was bottom of its regional table.

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