Energy firms charging double for customer serviceCharges can vary from £87 to £178 a year

30 October 2013

Energy bill with coins

You could be paying anywhere from £87 to £178 a year, for your energy supplier to provide customer services such as call centres and billing.

Scrutiny of energy bills revealed some energy companies are charging as much as 100% more than other providers for these costs, according to new research from This is Money.

This revelation comes at a time when energy bills are under close scrutiny, after price rise announcements from major energy suppliers and increasing political pressure to stop energy bills spiralling out of control.

Use Which? Switch to compare gas and electricity prices and find out if you could be on a better deal. 

Customer service costs include running call centres, billing, sales, IT and meter readings. 

Quality of customer service

It’s not just the cost of customer service that varies between energy companies. Which? research has found that the quality of customer service differs greatly from one supplier to the next.

Earlier this year we tested the call waiting times of 16 energy suppliers for their customer service helplines. The longest average waiting time was for one of the ‘big six’ suppliers, Npower, who kept us hanging on the line for just over 17 minutes. One call to Npower left us on hold for 29 minutes.

The three energy suppliers who answered calls quickly were smaller providers: Ebico, Co-operative Energy and Ecotricity. On average, we got through to a human being at Ebico after just 21 seconds.  

Finding the best energy supplier for you

Each year we ask energy customers to rate their providers on customer service, as well as other factors including value for money and complaints handling. 

The full energy companies satisfaction survey results can help you choose the supplier that best suits your needs.

With energy prices set to rise this winter, you can make big savings by switching suppliers. 

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