New figures show rising customer satisfaction with the country’s energy suppliers, according to the tenth annual independent report of 5,100 consumers from uSwitch.com. This year’s results also reveal the highest ever satisfaction score achieved by an energy company, and the widest ever satisfaction gap between best and worst providers.
- Average customer satisfaction with the UK’s eight biggest energy suppliers has risen by three points since 2014 to 75%
- Ovo Energy sweeps the board for the second consecutive year, with an overall satisfaction rating of 93% – the highest in the report’s ten year history
- Collectively, big six suppliers continue to improve levels of customer satisfaction, up an average of two points to 70% this year
- E.ON comes top of the big six for customer satisfaction for the fourth year running with a rating of 76%
- npower is least popular with customers, coming in last place for the eighth consecutive year with an overall score of 57%
- Eight in ten (79%) customers of Ovo and First Utility would recommend their supplier, compared with just half (53%) of big six customers
- 85% of Ovo and First Utility customers are satisfied with the value for money they receive, compared with just six in ten (59%) of those with the big six.
The 2015 Energy Customer Satisfaction Report from uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service, ranks Britain’s big six suppliers and the two largest new providers. Ovo Energy retains pole position for the second year in a row, winning 11 out of 12 award categories, securing a 93% overall satisfaction rating – the highest in the report’s ten year history. Rival small provider First Utility comes in second place with a score of 86%.
Big six supplier E.ON comes top of the big six and third overall with a 76% rating, marginally up from last year. By stark contrast, npower’s rating of 57% sees it in last place for the eighth consecutive year, stalling the steady progress it had been making since 2012.
|Overall customer satisfaction|
|Position||Energy company||2015 score||Change from 2014|
Source: uSwitch.com Energy Customer Satisfaction Report 2015
British Gas, the only big six supplier to make two price cuts to standard tariffs this year, increased its customer satisfaction scores by four points to 74%, overtaking SSE and snapping at the heels of rival EDF Energy in the league table. Elsewhere, after two consecutive years of declining customer satisfaction, ScottishPower has this year turned a corner by increasing its rating by two points to 66% – however this was not enough to lift it up from second to last place.
The results reveal other gulfs in customer satisfaction between the country’s two largest new providers and the big six. Eight in ten (79%) of Ovo and First Utility customers would recommend their supplier and 85% say they get value for money, compared with just 55% and 59%, respectively, of big six customers. Given the fact that a bigger proportion of big six consumers remain on expensive, standard variable tariffs, the new figures indicate that larger suppliers need to go to much greater lengths to lower prices and encourage customers to switch to better deals.
This year also saw an increase in satisfaction with the energy switching process among consumers, suggesting that measures to reduce the time it takes to switch, introduced by the Government this January, have proved a major success.
Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Customer satisfaction with energy suppliers is rising, but some of the newer providers are setting the bar even higher. It’s encouraging to see the big six continue to improve, but they need to up their game if they are to catch up with the competition. High-level pledges are easy to make, but consumers want to see more evidence of better service, accurate bills and value for money.
“It’s time for all of us to play our part too, as there’s no excuse for putting up with bad service or uncompetitive deals. If you’re unhappy, shop around for something better, especially as there’s a staggering £300 a year difference between the cheapest deal on the market and the average big six tariff.
“This year’s results also show that consumers are more satisfied with the transfer process. Thanks to the introduction of faster switching by the Government earlier this year, switching has never been easier or faster.”
The following 2015 Customer Satisfaction Awards have been made to suppliers:
Ovo Energy – best for: Overall Customer Satisfaction, Most Likely to be Recommended, Value for Money, Best Deal for You, Customer Service, Billing Services, Energy Efficiency, Meter Services, Online Services, Green Services and Transfer Process
E.ON – best for: Reward Schemes
Energy supplier comments
Justin Haines, Customer Service Director at OVO Energy, says: “Energy customers have been getting a raw deal for too long, being overcharged and underserved. We’re delighted today’s results not only show we’ve improved, but also that there’s a genuine shift in our industry towards better service across the board. It’s been a long time coming and there is still a lot of work to do but this signal shows the market is finally waking up and taking action.”
David Bird, Residential and Customer Operations Director at E.ON, says: “Being voted the best for customer satisfaction amongst the larger suppliers for the fourth year running is a fantastic achievement and my thanks go to all the colleagues who’ve helped us achieve a high level of service which our customers expect. I’m also extremely proud that E.ON Rewards has been rated the best reward scheme on offer, with almost two million customers now choosing to receive E.ON Reward points that can be exchanged for Tesco Clubcard points or high street vouchers. Our customers are at the heart of our business, every day and in everything we do, and we’ll continue to listen to them so we can further improve the service we offer and help make energy easier.”
Stephen Beynon, Managing Director of Residential Energy, British Gas, says: “We’re pleased that our customers are seeing the benefits of the improvements we’ve made to our customer service, and that our satisfaction scores have increased. Our customers are at the heart of what we do at British Gas, and we’re investing £50 million over the next three years to improve further the service we provide.”
Steve Hayfield, Customer Services Director at EDF Energy, says: “Our continued effort to improve the service for our customers has been reflected in the further increase in our customer satisfaction score. We are committed to working towards being the best and most trusted supplier for our customers.”
Ed Kamm, Chief Customer officer at First Utility, says: “We want to be top for customer satisfaction whilst still saving customers more than £250 a year off their energy bills. Therefore it’s great to be recognised so highly by our customers for the improvements we are making. For First Utility, it’s not just about doing the basics right, but about making people feel in control of their energy use and spend – that’s why we offer monthly billing, our industry leading app and a unique My Energy tool that provides unrivalled insights into usage.”
Simon Stacey, Managing Director for Domestic Markets at npower, says: “We’re really disappointed to see these results. We have been focussing our efforts on improving our overall customer service, and we are seeing results in some key areas. For example, complaints have dropped by 61% since the beginning of the year. We still have a huge amount of work ahead of us, but no one should doubt that we are determined to do it.”
Neil Clitheroe, CEO of ScottishPower Retail and Generation, says: “It is positive to see that we have recorded improved scores in all categories compared to last year’s survey results. Whilst there is still some way to go, our service quality is improving. We want to ensure that our customers experience all of the benefits that our new £200 million IT system will deliver, and there will be no let-up in our efforts to continue our improvements in all areas.”
Will Morris, Group Managing Director, Retail, from SSE, says: “Customer service is SSE’s number one priority so we’re very happy to see that our score has improved. However, the work is not done and we will continue to build on our strong track record. We have recently announced improvements such as introducing SignVideo services, call back technology and have begun informing customers of their right to speak to the Ombudsman after six weeks rather than the industry standard of eight weeks to help speed up complaint resolution.”