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The top reasons to choose your next energy supplier

Should you pick price over customer service?

Getting a lower price is one of the main reasons eight in ten people chose their current gas and electricity firm, exclusive Which? research* reveals. But cheap prices doesn’t always guarantee happier customers.

In fact, some of the companies with the highest proportions of customers choosing them primarily for price are rated among the lowest when it comes to overall satisfaction.

More than three quarters of Economy Energy and iSupply Energy’s customers in our survey said getting a lower price was the main reason they chose these firms. But they’re ranked 28th and 21st, respectively, out of 31 firms in our annual energy customer satisfaction survey.

Keep reading to find out what you need to consider when you choose your next energy firm.

Are you paying too much for gas and electricity, or frustrated by your energy firm? Use Which? Switch to compare gas and electricity prices and find the best supplier for you. 

Should you choose the cheapest energy firm?

Overall, 79% said that a lower price than their previous supplier was an important factor in choosing their current energy firm. It was the most important factor for 60%.

Price is a good reason to switch. Our research** regularly finds that you can save more than £300 per year by switching from the priciest Big Six standard variable tariff to the cheapest dual-fuel deal on the market.

But price isn’t the only thing to consider. Our latest annual satisfaction survey found big differences between customers’ opinions of energy companies.

Find out the best and worst energy companies in Britain. Live in Northern Ireland? Go to Northern Ireland’s gas and electricity companies.

Beyond price, better customer service, expert recommendation of the energy supplier and it having a good reputation were the factors customers considered most often when choosing their energy firm.

Better customer service was a key factor for 31% selecting an energy supplier. A fifth (22%) of you looked for a supplier with a good reputation or one recommended by experts.

Smart meters and more environmentally-friendly tariffs were the least-cited reasons for choosing an energy firm.

Why energy company customer service matters

The best energy firms, according to their customers, deliver great online and phone customer service. For example, top-scoring Utility Warehouse was one of just four firms to achieve a full five stars for phone customer service, as well as four stars for online customer service.

The lowest-ranked firms in our survey, including Npower and Spark Energy, received just three stars out of five for customer service from their customers.

Nearly a third (31%) of people in our survey said getting better customer service was among the most important factors when picking an energy supplier. But only 8% said it was the most important factor.

When customers leave their energy firm, price (bills being too high or a fixed deal ending) is still the main reason. But poor customer service is a key reason for a quarter (23%) moving their business elsewhere.

Our research

*We surveyed 8,397 GB energy customers online in September 2017.

**Based on a dual-fuel tariff available in all regions in England, Scotland and Wales for an average user (using Ofgem averages of 3,100kWh of electricity and 12,000kWh of gas per year), paying by monthly direct debit, with paperless bills. Data is from Energylinx. Prices given are averages across regions, are rounded to the nearest whole pound and correct on 5 March 2018.

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