Major energy firms defend their record on customer satisfaction

Which? is urging consumers to switch energy suppliersWhich? is urging consumers to switch energy suppliers
Which? is urging consumers to switch energy suppliers
CONSUMERS have been urged to consider swapping suppliers after a survey suggested the major energy companies are providing poor customer service.

The so-called ‘big six’ were all in the bottom half of a league table ranking customer satisfaction scores compiled by consumer group Which?.

Npower was bottom of the table, the sixth year in a row for the company, while EDF was the best performer of the major firms in 14th place.

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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently carrying out an inquiry into the energy markets following years of complaints that it is not delivering value for money to consumers

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Once again the smaller energy suppliers are leading the way when it comes to customer satisfaction, leaving the Big Six providers in their wake.

“With energy customers facing big bills this winter, energy companies need to up their game and provide the service their customers deserve.

“If the energy market inquiry is to be a success it has to set out proposals that will address the appalling levels of customer service, switching and value for money.”

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Ovo Energy emerged at the top of the league table which asked consumers to rate their supplier on service, bills, value for money, dealing with complaints and help to save energy.

Good Energy and Ecotricity were also among the high performers in the table compiled based on the responses of almost 9,000 people.

Despite the number of campaigns to encourage customers to switch supplier, the survey suggested just 10 per cent had moved companies in the last year.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of industry body Energy UK, said: “Customer service is very important for energy suppliers.

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“ Companies work hard to get things right and, when things do go wrong, most complaints are dealt with by the end of the next working day.

“The majority of complaints are about billing and the roll-out of smart meters will improve this.

“There are now 34 suppliers operating in the market and deals and services to suit every customer so it pays to shop around. Almost 4 million people switched in 2015 and 338,253 in December showing that it is now quicker and easier for customers to switch.”

In the preliminary findings of its inquiry released last year, the CMA found dual-fuel customers were missing out on significant savings by failing to switch suppliers.

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It estimated more than 95 per cent of dual fuel customers could have saved up to £234 a year by switching.

The current stage of the inquiry is looking at issues including whether there are grounds in the accusation that the energy firms are slow to cut bills when the wholesale price they pay falls.

Labour’s Shadow Energy Secretary Lisa Nandy said: “This survey is the latest evidence that under the Tories people are paying through the nose to boost the profits of big companies that don’t even provide a decent service.

“It’s a scandal and time the government fixed our broken energy market.

“Given the raft of evidence that exists, the Competition and Markets Authority must be bold and not just tinker around the edges.”