Best and worst energy companies
Which? energy survey results
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 1 of 3
Which? energy survey results
Frustrated with your energy firm? Find out what thousands of energy customers think of their suppliers. Use our research to choose the best energy company for you.
Electricity and gas are essential services, but that doesn’t mean you should put up with poor service or high prices.
Our annual UK energy satisfaction survey covers 35 suppliers in Great Britain and six in Northern Ireland.
It captures the experiences of more than 8,000 energy customers who tell us what they really think of the service they receive. This gives you the inside track on finding the very best energy companies you can rely on and avoiding those you can't.
As well as rating the traditional big energy suppliers – British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, SSE and Scottish Power – we also investigate smaller companies. This includes fast-growing firms such as Bulb, Octopus Energy, Ovo Energy and Shell Energy, as well as newcomers you might not yet have heard about.
This year, three energy companies have impressed us enough to earn our prestigious Which? Recommended Provider award; more than ever before, wowing their customers with top-notch service and delivering against our stringent assessment criteria.
Our league table below reveals the energy winners and losers in Great Britain. If you live in Northern Ireland, we've rounded up the best and worst energy providers in our review of Northern Ireland electricity and gas firms.
Just want to save money on your energy bills? It's quick and easy to switch energy supplier with Which? Switch, our impartial free switching site. Compare gas and electricity prices now.
Best and worst energy companies
Click on each company's name in the table to find out more about it. We’ve included the results from our customer survey as well as those from our unique procedures and practices assessment. We compare companies’ approaches to service, including opening hours, accessibility of websites and having bills that don't require a degree in analytics to make sense of.
|Energy companies rated|
|Company||Bill accuracy||Bill clarity||Customer service||Complaints handling||Digital tools||Value for money||Customer score||Procedures & practices score|
The customer score combines customers’ overall satisfaction with their likelihood to recommend, and is not directly linked to the star ratings.
Overall average customer score: 63%.
(-) indicates too few responses to give a rating.
In bold – customer scores over 70% or procedures and practices scores above average. In red – Which? Recommended Provider
Sample sizes: Octopus Energy (153), Ebico (60), Pure Planet (51), Bulb (377), People's Energy (53), Powershop (50), So Energy (92), Ecotricity (64), Ovo Energy (164), Engie (54), Co-operative Energy (122), Bristol Energy (63), Green Network Energy (80), Utility Warehouse (80), Tonik Energy (88), Avro Energy (125), Flow Energy (63), Utility Point (88), Outfox the Market (55), Utilita (144), Boost Energy (66), Robin Hood Energy (44), iSupply Energy (49), SSE (465), E (62), Eon (839), British Gas (1,668), EDF Energy (570), Shell Energy (167), Npower (320), Green Star Energy (79), Ampower (52), Spark Energy (65), Scottish Power (389), Together Energy (52).
*Flow Energy has since become part of Octopus Energy and the brand has not been retained.
Survey: September 2019.
If you live in Northern Ireland, take a look at our scores for six Northern Ireland electricity and gas firms.
Interpreting the Which? energy survey results
As well as our exclusive energy companies customer survey, we assess firms on measures that it’s harder for customers to rate. All these factor into our Which? Recommended Provider assessment and include:
- how fast they respond to customers online or on the phone
- how well they resolve complaints
- the results of our procedures and practices analysis
Who's top of the Which? energy survey?
Octopus Energy, Pure Planet and So Energy are this year’s Which? Recommended Providers (WRP) for energy.
Which? Recommended Providers compared
All our Which? Recommended Providers score highly for customer satisfaction so, to help you decide between them, we've pulled out some key features that could make a difference when you're choosing an energy supplier - including whether they offer phone-based customer service.
All three have similar customer service opening hours (9am to 5 or 5.30pm) and sell 100% renewable electricity.
Ebico and Bulb, also rated highly by their customers with scores of 79% and 78% respectively, missed out on WRP status because they failed to meet other assessment criteria.
Ebico scored below average on our procedures and practices assessment, which looks at arrangements for customers around billing, complaints, customer service and product management.
Bulb missed out on the award because it was below average in our performance assessment. This includes how long it takes companies to answer the phone and respond to customer queries online.
Find out more about our WRPs as well as Ebico and Bulb on our Which? Recommended Provider page.
Price is the most important consideration for you when choosing a new energy supplier, according to our survey, so it’s no surprise that the highest-scoring energy companies are considered good value for money by their customers.
Price isn’t everything though – and being rated good value for money by customers doesn’t mean an energy supplier is the cheapest on the market. Not-for-profit firm Ebico (in second position) rarely offers the cheapest deals but customers still rate it good value for money, indicating it demonstrates its value in other ways.
Traditional energy companies
Six energy firms have dominated the market for decades and still supply more than seven in 10 energy customers today – British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, SSE and Scottish Power. But they also consistently rank in the lower half of our table.
Eon and SSE are the joint-highest-rated of the biggest six firms this year, in 24th. But their customer scores aren't that much higher than Scottish Power's (61% vs 51%). While this is a bigger gap than last year, customers evidently find there’s little to choose between them.
However, the dominance of the existing biggest six companies is set to end. Customers have already been switching to other suppliers in their hundreds of thousands, plus there have been a couple of significant competition shake-ups.
Npower is now majority owned by Eon. While this might simply have turned the big six into the big five, in another acquisition relative newcomer Ovo – which has historically performed more strongly than the big six in our customer surveys – bought SS's customers in January.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on how these changes impact customers.
Who's bottom of the Which? energy survey?
Small firm Together Energy is the lowest-scoring energy supplier in our 2020 survey, according to its customers.
Spark Energy and Scottish Power complete the bottom three. Spark Energy has been in the bottom three for three years running. It was bought by Ovo Energy in 2018 but this doesn’t seem to have changed customers’ opinions of it
Our survey shows the importance of customer service. Nearly a third of Together Energy customers rated its customer service poor or very poor. And it had the highest proportion of customers rating its bills, digital tools and value for money as very poor compared with other suppliers.
Most popular way to contact your energy supplier
Although you can contact most energy companies by email, live chat and social media, the majority of us still choose to pick up the phone to speak with ours.
We regularly carry out snapshot undercover investigations to reveal how long customers have to wait for their phone calls to be answered by a human being. We also contact energy suppliers via live chat (if they offer it) or email or online form (if they don’t offer live chat) to find out how long it takes to get a response that isn’t an automated acknowledgement.
In our latest investigation in September and October 2019, we contacted energy suppliers a total of 852 times. We made 432 phone calls to 36 energy companies, sent 420 emails, online form requests and live chat messages.
Which energy companies are quickest?
Answering the phone quickly is not impossible. So Energy answered calls to its customers in just 38 seconds on average, making it the fastest supplier to put us through to a person.
Overall, five firms put us through to a person in less than a minute on average, and another four kept us waiting less than two minutes on average.
In contrast, Scottish Power kept callers in our snapshot investigation waiting on the phone for 21 minutes 24 seconds on average.
So Energy vs Scottish Power: customer service telephone waiting times
Customer service telephone waiting times for all companies
You can use the search bar, below, to quickly find the results for your energy supplier or companies you're interested in.
Read our full story on energy company customer waiting times 2019, which includes how promptly companies responded to live chat and whether it’s worth emailing if you need a speedy response.
We can help you save money on your energy bills. Use our independent free switching site, Which? Switch, to find the cheapest energy deal.