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Citizens Advice launches new tool to help energy customers find the right supplier for them

22 March 2017

Citizens Advice is today launching a new online tool so that people can see at a glance how good the 18 biggest energy suppliers are at customer service.

The tool has been developed to help people find the energy supplier which best suits their needs, so they can make an informed choice about switching based on both price and customer service.

Research undertaken by Citizens Advice found that while price was the biggest factor when thinking about switching, having extra information on what the supplier is like to deal with could also help customers make a final choice.

The tool uses a star rating system from 1 to 5, with the number of stars awarded to each supplier based on a combination of different factors:

  • Complaints -  how well energy suppliers handle customer complaints

  • Ease of switching - the number of switches the supplier successfully carries out within 21 days

  • Ease of contact  - how highly people rate their supplier’s customer service

  • Bill clarity - how easy people find it to understand their bills

  • Switch Guarantee - whether the supplier is signed up to the switch guarantee that commits them to switching a customer within 21 days

The criteria were developed from research carried out with customers who were asked what they valued most from their energy supplier.

The tool will be updated quarterly with the latest information and star rating.  

The star rating for each energy supplier will also appear as part of Citizens Advice’s price comparison tool. This means people will be able to see costs alongside the customer service rating to work out the best deal for them.

GIllian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Customers shouldn’t feel like they have to take a leap of faith when choosing a new energy supplier.

“While people said that price was their primary consideration when switching energy supplier, customer service also has some bearing on their decision. The new star rating  will make it easier for people to tell how good a supplier is at customer service so they can make sure they find the company that best suits their needs: on price and service.

“We also hope the tool will encourage suppliers to improve their level of customer service with customers now able to scrutinise their performance across a range of different service factors - from complaints to ease of switching.”

The ratings for October to December 2016 were:

Supplier

Rating

Ecotricity

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Flow Energy

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Economy Energy

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.17.48.png

SSE

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.17.48.png

Utility Warehouse

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.17.48.png

EDF Energy

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.17.48.png

First Utility

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.17.48.png

E (Gas and Electricity)

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.17.56.png

Ovo Energy

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.18.04.png

Green Star Energy

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.18.04.png

E.ON

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.18.04.png

British Gas

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.18.04.png

Utilita

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.18.13.png

Spark Energy

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Co-operative Energy

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.18.13.png

npower

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Scottish Power

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.18.36.png

Extra Energy

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.18.45.png  

-ends-

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice carried out four 90 minute focus groups with 36 household energy consumers in Edinburgh and Sutton.
  2. Citizens Advice also carried out ten 60 minute interviews with energy consumers on a prototype of the Citizens Advice Energy Supplier rating tool.
  3. Citizens Advice compares energy suppliers' customer service by looking at information from a number of reliable sources. Information about complaints comes from the Citizens Advice Consumer Service, the Energy Help Unit and Energy Ombudsman. Information on customer service and billing comes from the GFK market research survey. Information on switching comes from Ofgem and suppliers. Information on the Switch Guarantee comes from Energy UK. Energy suppliers are given a score out of 5 for each category. 1 is poor and 5 is excellent. Suppliers then receive an overall star rating out of 5. Scores are rounded to the nearest 0.25. 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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.