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Customers sick of soaring energy bills

New survey rates companies for service and value


Gas hob

Householders are becoming increasingly fed up with energy suppliers due to a soaring prices, a new survey has found.

A study by JD Power and Associates shows falling levels of customer satisfaction across the gas and electricity sectors.

The poll of more than 2,000 gas customers and 2,600 electricity customers also found that despite customers being aware of overall price increases, many didn’t understand the impact of the hikes on their final bill.

In the past year, the average domestic gas bill has increased by 34 per cent —from £382.20 in 2005 to £510.60 in 2006—while electricity bills rose 14 per cent—from £398.52 to £453.24.

Best suppliers

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) came top of the gas suppliers for customer satisfaction, with good marks for customer service, billing and price and value.

Npower was rated the best electricity supplier, scoring well on billing and payment and price and value, while SSE also performed well on customer service and power quality and reliability.

British Gas came fourth of out six major suppliers for electricity, and fifth out of six for gas. Earlier this week the energy giant was slated for its poor customer service after it attracted more complaints than all the other domestic energy suppliers put together.

Industry watchdog Energywatch says it received more than 15,400 complaints about British Gas in the six months to September this year.

Green tariffs

Caspar Tearle of JD Power said: ‘Customer satisfaction is naturally affected by price increases; however, suppliers can moderate these levels by keeping their customers informed of any price changes in advance while also communicating the rationale behind such changes.’

The study also reveals an increasing awareness in green tariffs but take-up is low. Forty percent of customers were aware of green tariffs, compared with 34 per cent in 2005, but only 1 percent of all customers said they’d opted for one. 

Switch with Which?

Which? runs its own impartial energy price comparison site – Switch with Which? – where you can check which supplier offers the best deal for your gas and electricity.

People can save, on average, £250 by switching suppliers – with the biggest savings likely to be made by those who haven’t switched before.

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