A survey by consumer group Which? has placed smaller energy companies above the Big Six suppliers for customer satisfaction.
The Big Six performed poorly in the opinion poll compared to their smaller competitors, all falling in the bottom third of the rankings.
The survey considered criteria such as customer service, billing accuracy, and overall value for money, and took note of the opinions of over 8,000 consumers.
The top performers in the sector were: Octopus Energy, Robin Hood Energy, So Energy, Ebico and Tonik Energy.
The survey covered over 90% of the market for England, Wales, and Scotland – with 30 energy companies being put to the test. A further six of the seven suppliers in Northern Ireland were also ranked.
Who was the best?
Of all the energy suppliers included in the survey, relative newcomer Octopus Energy received the best average ratings. Growing fast, Octopus was already awarded a ‘Recommended Provider’ award last year. It was also the only supplier to have been awarded five stars by its customers on every single measure tested.
Ebico, Robin Hood Energy, So Energy and Tonik Energy were also highly recommended, having all achieved five stars for value for money. Robin Hood Energy and Ebico are not-for-profit organisations. So Energy and Tonik energy only provide tariffs that have energy produced wholly from renewable sources.
How did the Big Six fare?
The survey indicated that customers of the Big Six were considerably less satisfied with their energy supplier than customers of smaller outfits.
Small and medium suppliers achieved a 33% ‘very satisfied’ rating, whereas the Big Six were given just 18% collectively.
Of the Big Six, only SSE achieved a four-star rating for its customer service, and was subsequently the highest ranked of the group.
Two-star ratings were dished out to Scottish Power and Npower, both coming joint last out of the six.
Simply Switch’s Mike Rowe responded to the survey: “These will serve as vindication for all energy users who have made the jump from the Big Six over to smaller suppliers. Although many will still be able to find great deals with the Big Six, it’s always worth shopping around to see what’s available, as improved customer service and smaller bills might be just around the corner.”
Citizens Advice recently published a study showing how frequent switches are in different regions of the country.
The region with the most households switching was Yorkshire and Humberside, with over one in five households switching energy supplier in 2018 (at 21.1%).
The least likely to switch were those living in the Greater London area, with just 16.3% changing supplier last year.