Customer satisfaction with energy suppliers has risen to record highs, according to the 11th annual uSwitch.com Energy Customer Satisfaction Report of over 5,000 consumers.
- Average customer satisfaction with the UK’s eight largest energy suppliers has risen by three points since last year to 78%
- Ovo Energy sweeps the board for the third consecutive year, with an overall satisfaction rating of 96% – the highest in the report’s 11-year history
- Collectively, big six suppliers continue to improve levels of customer satisfaction, up an average of four points to 74% – the highest ever recorded
- E.ON is Large Supplier of the Year for the fifth year running, with a customer satisfaction score of 79%
- Although npower comes in last place for the ninth consecutive year, its ratings soar ten points to 67% – making it by far the most improved supplier
- 84% of Ovo and First Utility customers would recommend their supplier, compared with just 57% of big six customers
- 89% of Ovo and First Utility customers are satisfied with the value for money they receive, compared with 63% of those with the big six.
The 2017 report from uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service, ranks Britain’s big six suppliers and the two largest independent providers, based on a survey of over 5,000 energy customers. Ovo Energy retains pole position for the third year in a row, winning 11 out of 12 award categories including customer service, billing and value for money, securing a 96% overall satisfaction rating – the highest in the report’s 11-year history. Rival provider First Utility comes in second place with a score of 87%.
Big six supplier E.ON comes in third and top of the big six for the fifth year in a row with a 79% rating, up three points from last year. By contrast, npower’s rating of 67% sees it in last place for the ninth consecutive year. However, it is by far the most improved supplier, going up an impressive ten points – suggesting that the provider’s efforts to turn the company around are paying off.
Table: Overall customer satisfaction
||Overall customer satisfaction score
Source: uSwitch.com Energy Customer Satisfaction Report 2017
ScottishPower remains in second to last place, but has managed to increase its rating for three years in a row. Elsewhere, SSE narrowly regains fifth place from British Gas – which it lost to its rival last year – but is three points behind EDF Energy, which improved its rating to come just one point short of E.ON.
The latest results also reveal a continuing gulf in customer satisfaction between the country’s two largest independent providers and the big six. Over eight in ten (84%) of Ovo and First Utility customers would recommend their supplier and 89% say they get value for money, compared with just 57% and 63%, respectively, of big six customers. As more big six consumers remain stuck on expensive, standard variable tariffs, the results suggest the largest suppliers need to do more to help encourage their customers to switch to better tariffs.
This year also saw further increases in satisfaction with the energy switching process among consumers, suggesting that measures to reduce the time it takes to switch are proving to be a continuing success.
Claire Osborne, energy expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Customer satisfaction with energy suppliers is rising, but the biggest independent providers continue to set the bar ever higher and higher. It’s encouraging to see the big six continue improving, but they’ll need to up their game even further to catch up with the competition.
“It’s time for all of us to play our part, 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 over £200 a year difference between the cheapest deal on the market and the average big six tariff.”
The following 2017 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
David Bird, Managing Director Residential, E.ON UK says: “We’re delighted to have been voted best of the larger suppliers for customer satisfaction for the fifth year running. This success is testament to all our colleagues who have helped us provide a high level of service which is valued by our customers. I’m very proud that E.ON has continued to make significant improvements, this year not only increasing our score for overall satisfaction, but also increasing our rankings for both meter reading and energy efficiency. Our customers are our number one priority, which is why we remain committed to offering excellent service, competitive products and energy solutions that will help them save energy and pay less, making improvements that really matter to them.”
Sarwjit Sambhi, Managing Director of UK Home at British Gas, says: “We’re pleased that our customers are seeing the benefits of the improvements we’ve made to our customer service, and our overall customer satisfaction scores have increased. Our customers are at the heart of what we do at British Gas, and we will continue to listen to them so we can further improve the service we offer.”
Ed Kamm, UK MD, First Utility says: “We’re delighted to see our customers continue to score us highly, recognising the efforts we make to deliver great service. Our mission is to provide customers with fair, great-value energy alongside great customer service. uSwitch’s latest survey suggests we’re on the right track.”
Colin McNeill, Retail Director at ScottishPower, says: “It is good to see we’re continuing to make solid progress. We are working hard to keep making service improvements and developing new products to look after our existing customers.”
Will Morris, Group Managing Director for Retail, says: “Customer service has always been one of SSE’s key priorities and we’re very happy to see that our score has improved once again. But to climb up the rankings we need to improve faster than our competitors. We have a strong track record of delivering on customer service but we know there is always more to be done.
“That’s why we’ve committed to a range of new initiatives to step up our service including increasing the number of SSE customer service advisers, provide more support and advice to customers falling into debt and working with customers to test and rate our service with mystery shopping. We are also the first energy supplier to commit to working with the BSI to make our processes more flexible; helping us identify customers who might need a little extra help and adapt our service to meet their individual needs.”
Notes to editors
Survey conducted by YouGov between 27th October to 1st November 2016 among 5,028 UK energy consumers (aged 18+). Customers were asked their opinions on a wide range of issues relating to satisfaction with their energy suppliers. The figures have been weighted.
Only suppliers with a sample of 150 customers or higher in the survey are included: British Gas, E.ON, EDF Energy, First Utility, npower, Ovo Energy, ScottishPower and SSE. All calculations have been done by uSwitch.
Customers with two suppliers were asked to provide their level of satisfaction with their supplier separately for gas and electricity, dual fuel customers were only asked to rate their supplier once. The customer satisfaction scores were then calculated as follows (“Supplier A” used as an illustrative example). Sum the total number of gas and electricity customers who were very or fairly satisfied with the service provided to them by Supplier A, then divide by the total number of Supplier A’s gas and electricity customers who answered the question. A Dual Fuel response is classed as both a gas and an electricity response.
Reference to satisfied customers includes only those who responded positively that they were very satisfied or fairly satisfied. Satisfaction ratings and rankings in tables are determined only by the percentage of satisfied respondents.
Comparisons to 12 months ago refer to YouGov survey of 5,138 consumers undertaken between 10th October and 4th November 2015. The figures have been weighted.
In the press release, percentages have been rounded to the nearest percentage point.
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