A record number of complaints have seen many of the big six forced to make payments for failing to provide adequate service levels. Last week EDF Energy agreed to pay £3m as a result of a 30% increase in customer complaint levels.
In addition to rising complaints, small suppliers are now offering the cheapest deals on the market. At present the top five best priced energy deals are all on offer through one of the UK’s independent energy suppliers.
More than 2 million households have switched to a small energy supplier since June 2013. It is estimated that the average saving per switch is £200 per year.
npower: We are improving
npower recently announced that it had lost 62,000 customers, during the first six months of the year. Many customers may have left due to the German-owned energy supplier’s poor customer service levels, which saw it receive a record 306 complaints for every 100,000 customers between October and December 2013.
A failure to drastically reduce complaints by the end of this month, will see npower forced to stop all telesales activities, according to energy regulator Ofgem. npower has since taken steps to improve customer service, including enabling customer service representatives to resolve customer complaints directly over the phone.
Big six losing customers fast
npower is not the only big supplier to have seen its customer base decrease in past six months. In May, British Gas announced that 180,000 homes had chosen to switch from their energy tariffs, since January.
Saving money appears to be the principal motivation for changing energy supplier and consumers who switched to a cheap, fixed plan prior to last winter’s price rises could have saved more than £300 on their energy bills.