Big energy suppliers slump to new lows in satisfaction ratings

We’ve all been there, wading through the endless phone menus, queues and scripted conversations

The energy market remains broken as customers of the Big Six gas and electricity companies say they’ve been let down once again.

A consumer satisfaction survey reveals that the score for UK energy firms has slumped – from a poor 49 per cent last year to a disastrous new low of 41 per cent –  the worst satisfaction score across all products and sectors measured by the consumer group Which?

Caroline Flint, shadow Energy Secretary, said: “These figures are a damning indictment of a broken energy market that is failing to meet the needs of consumers. People are paying more than ever for their gas and electricity, but all too often the customer service they receive is not good enough.”

The scores for the Big Six firms, which control 90 per cent of the market, were the worst of all. Npower took the wooden spoon for the third year running, with a score of just 31 per cent satisfaction. Next bottom is British Gas with 39 per cent, followed by SSE and Scottish Power on 41 per cent. The other two of the Big Six were slightly above average performers, with EDF getting 44 per cent and E.on 45 per cent.

Showing the big firms the way it can be are two small suppliers – Good Energy and Ecotricity – which gained a82 per cent customer satisfaction ratings.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: “Once again the biggest energy companies have been beaten by the smaller suppliers, but there are no winners in a broken market that consistently fails consumers.

“We want to see radical solutions to improve competition and keep prices in check.”

Ofgem, the energy watchdog, said its own research showed that many consumers are not satisfied and are confused by the number and complexity of tariffs on offer. “We started to implement reforms for a simpler, clearer, fairer energy market last summer. They will be fully in place this summer,” the watchdog promised.

Energy UK, which represents the major gas and electricity suppliers, said: “Change is already underway and will ensure dealing well with customers is at the heart of what our members do. Companies put a high value on the relationships they have with customers and are working hard to improve the service they provide.”

Dale Vince, founder of the independent supplier Ecotricity, said: “The Which? survey shows what we all know to be true, big energy companies provide poor customer service.

“We’ve all been there, wading through the endless phone menus, queues and scripted conversations. At Ecotricity we think people deserve better.”

He advised the big suppliers to concentrate on improving the experience they make consumers endure when they try to contact their energy supplier.

“It’s not rocket science,” pointed out Mr Vince. “We answer the phone ourselves and quickly, and that first person you speak to resolves around 90 per cent of all queries right there and then. And if we promise to do something, we do it.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk