Britain’s small energy firms have beaten the country’s Big Six suppliers in a nationwide customer satisfaction survey.
Consumer champion Which? spoke to more than 8,000 users about their energy suppliers with questions about value for money, customer service, accurate billing and complaints.
Top five places
The survey looked at 30 separate suppliers, covering 90% of the market, and all the top five places were taken by small suppliers: Octopus Energy, Robin Hood Energy, So Energy, Ebico and Tonik Energy.
The Big Six – British Gas, NPower, EDF, SSE, Scottish Energy and E.On – were all in the bottom third of the poll.
Which? spokesman Alex Neill said: “Our survey shows the importance of value for money and good customer service – energy suppliers delivering both to their customers tend to be thriving, while the Big Six and other poorly-ranked firms are paying the price for not giving customers what they want.
“All energy companies should be working to give their customers competitive prices and excellent customer service. If you’re not getting a good deal, you should look to switch, as you could potentially save over £100 and get a much improved service.”
Nine out of ten
Overall winner was Octopus Energy, which supplies 400,000 consumers, and nine out of ten rated it good or excellent value for money and the same rating for its online customer service.
SSE was the highest ranked of the Big Six, achieving a four star rating for its customer service online and on the phone. Npower and Scottish Power were the lowest ranked of the big firms, receiving a two star rating for their complaints handling.
The full results of the survey can be found here.
Out of business
In contrast, analysts are saying the dark days of winter ahead could see some of the smaller suppliers going out of business, causing possible disruption and increased costs for their customers.
The latest casualty is Economy Energy which collapsed at the start of the New Year with customers complaining about poor service with delayed bills and refunds.
Last year a number of smaller companies went out of business, including Spark Energy, Extra Energy, Future Energy, National Gas and Power, Iresa Energy, Gen4U, One Select, Usio Energy.
Now experts think there may be another four or five which may not survive the winter. Julie Palmer of Begbies Traynor said there had been a clear rise in the number of companies in ‘significant financial distress’.