Energy companies rated
Good Energy is the best energy supplier, according to the 2013 Which? Switch energy satisfaction survey, followed by Ecotricity and then Ebico and Utility Warehouse.
The results show that small providers are streets ahead of Britain's six biggest energy suppliers, British Gas, EDF, Eon,Npower, SSE and Scottish Power. Npower languished at the bottom of the table with a customer satisfaction score of just 39%.
Compare energy prices now to see how much you could save by changing to a top-rated energy supplier.
Which? satisfaction survey 2013 results
Our Which? Switch survey rates 17 UK gas and electricity suppliers through the biggest publicly available survey of its kind. It gathers opinions from more than 10,000 energy customers and rates energy suppliers on a range of measures including customer service, value for money and accuracy of bills.
Each energy supplier receives a customer score based on their overall satisfaction and the likelihood they would recommend it to a friend.
|2013 energy companies satisfaction survey|
|Supplier||Customer service||Value for money||Bills (accuracy and clarity)||Complaints||Helping you save energy||Customer score|
|England, Scotland and Wales|
|1. Good Energy||85%|
|= Utility Warehouse||76%|
|5. Ovo Energy||74%|
|6. The Co-operative Energy||69%|
|7. Marks and Spencer Energy||63%|
|8. Sainsbury's Energy||n/a||54%|
|11. First Utility||50%|
|= British Gas||50%|
|= Scottish Power||50%|
|14. EDF Energy||46%|
|2. Power NI (NIE)||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||48%|
Customer score combines overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend. Weighted overall average is 49% (weighted to market share of each energy company). There are no star ratings for companies in Northern Ireland because the market is different from the market in Britain and star ratings would not be comparable.
Sample sizes: Good Energy (90), Ecotricity (93), Ebico (66), Utility Warehouse (175), Ovo Energy (167), The Co-operative Energy (252), M&S Energy (99), Sainsbury's Energy (69), SSE (1,727), Eon (1,349), First Utility (167), British Gas (2,780), Scottish Power (1,028), EDF Energy (940), Npower (1,074), Airtricity (76) and Power NI (111).
Good news for small energy suppliers
Though smaller gas and electricity companies generally do better than household names, First Utility doesn't do as well as the other smaller suppliers. It ranks in the bottom half of the table, along with the 'big six'. It received the lowest rating of all companies for how it deals with complaints, with only one star.
But satisfaction with the smaller players isn't enough to pull the average overall satisfaction above 49% - one of the lowest of all sectors covered by Which? surveys.
Other small companies, including Spark Energy, Utilita, Green Energy UK and LoCO2 Energy did not make it into our table because we received too few responses from their customers.
Bad news for energy giants
Of the big six energy suppliers, SSE and Eon come first with a customer score of 51%, while Npower comes last with only 39%.
You can find further information about how each company did in the survey by looking at our energy suppliers section, or choosing a company name from the menu on the left of this page.
Co-operative Energy: new entrant
The Co-operative Energy is a new entrant in our survey and shoots straight in to sixth place with four stars in every category.
Set up in 2010, it is owned by its customers and offers a small number of simple tariffs. In May 2012 it won The Big Switch auction, the UK's first collective switch organised by Which? and 38 Degrees, earning itself 30,000 new customers and doubling the size of its business.
What about Northern Ireland?
Northern Ireland's results are presented separately in the table. There are no star ratings for companies in NI because the market is different from the market in Britain and star ratings would not be comparable.
The energy market in NI was only recently opened up to competition. NIE has become Power NI and still powers most homes in Northern Ireland. Airtricity, owned by SSE, is getting more and more customers and does marginally better than Power NI in our survey. We did not get enough responses to have a customer score for Budget Energy, a new entrant in the NI energy market.
Star ratings explained
We provide each company with a star rating for each measure. One star is the worst and five stars the best. The more stars a company has, the better. We looked at four core areas of satisfaction.
- Customer service: how well customers feel they are treated overall.
- Value for money: how the supplier is rated for value for money.
- Bill accuracy and clarity: how the energy supplier is rated for the accuracy of its bills, and the ease of understanding energy bills from that supplier.
- Complaints: how the supplier deals with customer's complaints.
- Helping you save energy: the supplier's efforts to encourage customers' to be energy efficient.
The customer score combines overall satisfaction and likelihood of recommending to a friend.
Our customer research
In October and November 2012 we surveyed 10,436 UK adults, who pay for their household energy, about their experience with their gas and electricity suppliers.
The percentage customer satisfaction score is based on the responses consumers gave for both overall satisfaction and their likelihood to recommend the energy supplier to a friend. Both questions are given equal weighting, and only those giving a valid response to both questions are included in the analysis. The responses are analysed and scaled to give a rating from 0-100%.
What's different about Utility Warehouse?
While Utility Warehouse (UW) scores highly in our survey, it is worth mentioning that it operates a different marketing model from other suppliers. UW makes use of distributors (or agents) who receive commission for signing up new customers.
Customers of the UW Discount Club (for a membership fee of between £1.50 and £3.50 a month) can also benefit from the ‘Refer a Friend’ programme where customers receive a discount on their bill if they recommended someone else who signs up to UW. Some 37% of respondents in our survey said they were either an agent for UW or receiving a discount for recommending someone else.
Cut your energy bills with Which? Switch
The average saving when switching gas and electricity is £217 - compare gas and electricity tariffs now to find the best deal for you.
This figure is based on the 53,459 households who switched suppliers using Which? Switch and The Big Switch between 1st September 2011 and 31st August 2012.