UK energy firms see their reputations plunge to a new low

A new low in customer satisfaction with gas and electricity suppliers has revealed "the failings of a broken energy market", according to consumer group Which?

The watchdog’s latest annual energy company survey found that the overall customer satisfaction score has dropped from 49% last year to 41%.

The score is one of the lowest recorded by Which? from all of its satisfaction surveys across a range of products and sectors.

The consumer group said the survey exposed a market “that is falling short of its customers’ needs” as satisfaction plummeted and the biggest companies fared worse than the smaller suppliers.

The six largest companies, which account for more than 90% of the market, ranked bottom of the table, with Npower scoring the lowest for the third year running with 31%.

British Gas scored 39%, below SSE and Scottish Power on 41%, EDF Energy (44%) and E.On (45%).

British Gas and Npower both fell below the industry average of 41%.

Good Energy held the top spot for the third year running, sharing it with Ecotricity, with both scoring 82%.

Latest statistics from Which? show that energy prices are the top worry for 84% of consumers, while just 20% trust suppliers to act in their best interests.

Some 60% of consumers told Which? that they are already “dreading” the cost of their winter energy bill.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Once again the biggest energy companies have been beaten by the smaller suppliers but there are no winners in a broken market that consistently fails consumers.

“Our findings highlight why it’s vital that Ofgem’s first annual review of competition clearly identifies why the market is failing and what needs to change.”

Npower’s director of domestic retail business, Roger Hattam, said: “We know we’ve let many of our customers down following recent issues with our new billing system but it’s still disappointing to see these results.

“Our priority is to put right these issues. While we still have a long way to go, we are making progress.”

An Energy UK spokesman said: “Major change is already under way and will ensure dealing well with customers is at the heart of what our members do.” 

23 Jan 2014 The Journal

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