UK consumer organisation Which? has uncovered a ‘bleak picture’ of customer dissatisfaction with energy suppliers.
In its latest annual energy company satisfaction survey, Which? reports that the UK’s Big Six energy suppliers received over 4 million complaints last year.
Green energy supplier Ecotricity topped the ranking of suppliers with the least number of complaints unresolved by the end of the next working day. Most of the Big Six suppliers performed less well with npower ranked 11 out of 12 with over 120,000 unresolved complaints.
According to Which?, since 90% of unresolved complaints do not get referred to the energy ombudsman, consumers could be missing out on up to £4 million in unclaimed compensation.
The Big Six also fall short when it comes to customer scores, with all performing only at or below the average score of 47%. SSE leads the larger companies with a score of 51%, but npower achieved only 41%.
“These findings reveal shockingly high levels of complaints and low levels of customer satisfaction in the energy industry, at a time when domestic bills have gone through the roof,” says Which? executive director Richard Lloyd.
“The Government must do more to answer fundamental questions about why the energy market is allowed to work against the consumer interest,” he adds.
By contrast, small companies lead the way in customer satisfaction, with Good Energy achieving the top score of 84% followed by Utility Warehouse (78%) and Ecotricity (77%).
Good Energy’s CEO Juliet Davenport welcomed the result saying:
“We think our score is reflective of the combination of our customers feeling appreciated together with consistent pricing.”
She said the company’s renewable portfolio has enabled it to deliver stable energy prices over the past few years.
The findings come as EDF becomes the first Big Six utility to announce price cuts on gas supply in the wake of falling wholesale costs. The Co-operative and Ovo have also cut domestic gas bills.
For further information:
Rising energy costs delay heating switch on in British homes (10-Oct 2011)
EDF claims lowest energy price rises of UK’s Big Six suppliers (16-Sept 2011)
UK price rises could increase fuel poverty to 6.6 million homes (16-Aug 2011)
11 January 2012