Octopus Energy is the top-scoring energy company for the second year running, while most of the biggest energy providers fail to deliver high-quality service.
The results of our latest energy satisfaction survey, based on the opinions of nearly 8,000 energy customers, also found a great divide between customers’ experience with newer energy firms.
Our three Which? Recommended Providers (the most ever in one year) are all challenger brands, while several of the lowest-scoring companies are also relative newcomers to the energy market. The brand at the bottom of our table is Together Energy.
We rated 35 of the biggest energy companies in England, Scotland and Wales, including British Gas, Eon and Ovo Energy, to find out which offer great customer service and good value for money – and which ones fall down on the basics.
For the full results of our survey – including how your gas and electricity provider fared – see our round-up of the best and worst energy companies for 2020.
Then compare gas and electricity prices using Which? Switch to see if you can find better service, and a cheaper deal.
Best energy suppliers for 2020
This is the first time that three energy firms have been made Which? Recommended Providers in one year. They are:
All are relative newcomers to the market, and all have impressed customers in our survey.
Octopus Energy is the highest-ranked energy firm for the second year running. The first customers joined it in 2016; now it has more than a million customers and they’re still content.
It was the only firm to gain three five-star ratings in this year’s survey, including being the only energy company whose customers rated it ‘excellent’ for customer service.
Octopus Energy is a Which? Recommended Provider for the third year in a row – the only energy company to have achieved this.
Pure Planet was included in our survey for the first time and is the highest-scoring newcomer.
Customers were the most enthusiastic about its value for money, compared with customers of all other firms included in the survey.
Its customer support is online-only, and largely via an app.
So Energy customers rated it well across the board, from customer service, to value for money.
Last year it was the fastest firm to respond to calls and emails in our snapshot investigation into energy companies customer waiting times.
Scoring well in our survey isn’t the only criteria to become a Which? Recommended Provider. These firms also passed all of our tough assessments on their procedures and practices, how fast they respond to customers, how they handle complaints, and how their prices compare.
See the full Which? Recommended Provider criteria and which other firms narrowly missed out.
Also among the highest-scoring energy companies in our survey were: not-for profit supplier Ebico; Bulb, which promises ‘simpler, cheaper, greener’ energy; profit-sharing People’s Energy; and Powershop, which claims it has a new way of buying energy.
Worst energy suppliers for 2020
Together Energy is the lowest-ranked energy firm for 2020. It received ‘poor’ ratings, based on customer feedback, for all aspects of its service we were able to rate:
- Bill accuracy
- Bill clarity
- Customer service
- Value for money
Although placed slightly higher overall, newcomer Green Star Energy was the only other firm to receive exclusively ‘poor’ ratings in our survey.
Scottish Power and Spark Energy shared 33rd position, with an overall customer score only three percentage points higher than Together Energy. Both were rated poor for all aspects of their service, bar one: how they handle complaints. But customer feedback only rated this as fair.
Ampower finished in 32nd position out of 35 firms. Its service is poor in most areas, according to customers in our survey, although complaints-handling stands out as being good.
British Gas, Eon, Npower and the energy company giants
British Gas might be the biggest energy firm, but it’s far from the best. Finishing in joint-27th position this year, it’s middling among the biggest energy firms. It’s joint with EDF Energy, while Eon and SSE are also jointly ranked, scoring just one percentage point higher overall.
Npower is ranked several places above Scottish Power this year, while they were joint last year.
But all of these firms finished within the bottom third of the 35 energy companies included in our survey, according to their customers’ feedback.
Ovo Energy joins the ranks of the biggest energy firms this year, as Ovo bought SSE Energy Services’ customers in mid-January. It ranks much better than all the traditional biggest firms, finishing in joint-ninth position overall.
It’s rated good value for money, and good for how clear and easy its bills are to understand – ratings not achieved by any of the previous six biggest firms.
Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which?, said: ‘Consumers have dozens of energy suppliers to choose from – and it is clear that some newer challenger providers are better than their larger counterparts at keeping customers happy and delivering a better service.
‘Customers shell out hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pounds a year on their gas and electricity bills, so it’s right that they expect good service from their energy supplier.
‘If you are one of the many customers out there who feels their supplier is falling short, consider moving to one that can offer a better service as well as cheaper prices – you could save hundreds of pounds a year.’
Which? energy companies research
We asked 7,355 members of the public in England, Scotland and Wales in an online survey in September 2019 about their energy company.
Customer scores are calculated from how satisfied customers are, and how likely they are to recommend their company.
We also asked customers to rate other aspects of their providers’ service:
- Accuracy of bills
- Clarity of bills
- Customer service
- How they handle complaints
- Digital tools
- Value for money
These are used to calculate the star ratings. They’re not directly related to the customer score.