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Smaller and newer energy suppliers bottom of the pile for customer service once again

4 October 2018

TOTO Energy and Solarplicity have come bottom of the Citizens Advice customer service star rating, raising more concerns about the performance of some smaller and newer energy suppliers.

TOTO Energy received a score of 1.45 for the period from April to June 2018, down from a score of 1.6 the previous quarter. TOTO Energy had been second bottom last time, beating only Iresa, which ceased trading in August.

Solarplicity, appearing in the table for the first time, came second bottom, receiving a score of 1.8.

So Energy came at the top of the table for the third successive quarter, with an impressive score of 4.7, closely followed by mid-tier suppliers Bulb and Octopus Energy.

Smaller suppliers’ performance shows why tightening of regulation is needed

TOTO Energy customers have reported problems to Citizens Advice including not being able to contact the company, and problems with billing. One person said their direct debit was increased by over £100, while another said they could not get through to the supplier to resolve their issue for over two weeks.

The data published today backs up these complaints, showing that customers telephoning TOTO Energy spent an average of 23 minutes on hold, and that more than one in 10 customers had waited more than a year for an accurate bill.

Citizens Advice, as the official consumer body for energy, is highlighting the poor performance of some smaller energy companies and newer market entrants, arguing this demonstrates the need for tighter regulation.

Ofgem will shortly consult on new proposals for granting licences to energy suppliers as well as the monitoring they should face after entering the market.

Citizens Advice has called on Ofgem to tighten up the rules around who is able to supply energy. It believes that companies entering the market before they are ready to deliver adequate customer service is damaging people’s experience and trust in the market.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Too many customers are being let down by firms which aren’t ready or capable of providing a decent level of service. These aren’t small problems. Billing errors, blocking people from switching, and poor communications can cost customers money and make people’s lives a misery.

“Smaller companies at the top of the table show that size is no excuse for poor customer service.

“It’s vital that Ofgem now tackles the problem of newer and smaller firms letting people down and tightens up the rules around who can become an energy supplier.”


Star rating April to June 2018

So Energy


Bulb Energy


Octopus Energy


British Gas


EDF Energy


Green Network Energy




Tonik Energy


Bristol Energy


Utility Warehouse




E (Gas and Electricity)


Scottish Power


First Utility


Ovo Energy








Good Energy


Co-operative Energy




Extra Energy


Avro Energy


Robin Hood Energy


Flow Energy




PFP Energy


Economy Energy




Spark Energy


Green Star Energy




TOTO Energy


Notes to editors

  1. TOTO Energy’s transfer of customers was announced on 25.03.2018, and went through on 10.04.2018
  2. In July it was announced that Ofgem was taking out compliance action on TOTO Energy to bring down waiting times on its phone lines.
  3. Citizens Advice compares energy suppliers' customer service by looking at information from a number of sources. Information about complaints comes from the Citizens Advice Consumer Service, the Energy Help Unit and Energy Ombudsman. Citizens Advice uses its legal powers to request information on customer service, billing and switching  from suppliers. Information on customer guarantees comes from Energy UK. Energy suppliers are given a score out of 5 for each category. 1 is poor and 5 is excellent (a zero score is given if a supplier does not provide the necessary data).Suppliers then receive an overall star rating out of 5. Not all categories are equal with some counting more towards the final score than others. Further information on the methodology can be found here.
  4. Consumers can use this information to find their best energy deal on the Citizens Advice Energy Comparison Tool.
  5. Citizens Advice is made up of the national charity Citizens Advice; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.
  6. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers.
  7. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and postal markets. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.
  8. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free and independent support for both prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.
  9. Citizens Advice also offers Pension Wise appointments at 500 locations across England and Wales.
  10. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  11. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit
  12. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  13. We helped 2.6 million people face to face, over the phone, by email and webchat in 2017-18. For full service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.
  14. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 23,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.