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Energy star rating “raises serious questions” for some smaller firms, says Citizens Advice

29 March 2018

Economy Energy has come bottom of Citizens Advice’s energy star rating system. The company scored just 1.2 stars out of a possible 5 for its customer service for the period from October to December 2017.

Other companies near the bottom of the table include Iresa, who last year Citizens Advice referred to the regulator Ofgem for its poor customer service, and Avro Energy.

So Energy came top of the table, with a score of 4.7 stars, followed by Bulb Energy and Octopus Energy.

The charity believes that the performance of a number of new and smaller suppliers at the bottom of the table is further evidence of the need for Ofgem to tighten its licensing rules. Citizens Advice has said that it is currently too easy for firms to set themselves up as a new energy supplier and that some firms are serving customers before they have the systems and processes in place to deliver good quality customer service.

Citizens Advice developed the star rating system to help people find the right energy supplier for their needs. Suppliers are awarded a score out of 5 stars based on a combination of 5 factors, including how complaints are dealt with, and how long consumers wait to get through to call centres. The ratings appear as part of Citizens Advice energy price comparison tool, to enable people to take customer service into account when choosing their energy supplier.

The latest ratings have been expanded to provide information about more suppliers than ever before. The rating tool now ranks 28 energy suppliers in terms of customer service, and covers 99% of the energy market by customer numbers.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“The performance of some smaller energy suppliers raises serious questions for the companies themselves, and shows why Ofgem needs to get tougher on licensing.

“The performance of those at the top of the table shows that small suppliers can deliver great customer service. Those at the bottom of our table need to improve their offer to consumers. All customers deserve accurate bills, a supplier that’s easy to contact and that will resolve problems quickly and effectively when things do go wrong.

“Ofgem also has an important duty in protecting customers from companies which don’t provide appropriate levels of customer service. The regulator must now take action and tighten the rules for new companies becoming suppliers. Ultimately it’s customers who suffer when firms aren’t up to scratch”.

Supplier

Star rating October to December 2017

So Energy

4.7

Bulb Energy

4.4

Octopus Energy

4.15

British Gas

4.05

E (Gas and Electricity)

4

SSE

3.95

Bristol Energy

3.8

Utility Warehouse

3.75

Ovo Energy

3.7

EDF Energy

3.7

npower

3.6

ScottishPower

3.45

E.ON

3.3

First Utility

3.3

Flow Energy

3.2

Co-operative Energy

2.85

PFP Energy

2.85

Ecotricity

2.55

Good Energy

2.25

iSupply

2.25

Green Star Energy

2.2

Utilita

2.2

Robin Hood Energy

2.05

Extra Energy

1.9

Spark Energy

1.9

Avro Energy

1.4

Iresa

1.3

Economy Energy

1.2

Notes to editors

  1. 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.
  2. Consumers can use this information to find their best energy deal on the Citizens Advice Energy Comparison Tool.
  3. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  4. 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.
  5. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  6. 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.
  7. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  8. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.