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10 November 2020

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.
Energy companies satisfaction survey
SI
Sarah Ingrams

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. 

They are:

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, carried out in September 2019, 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
1

Octopus Energy

83% 82%
2

Ebico

- 79% 60%
=3

Bulb Energy

78% 80%
=3

Pure Planet

- - 78% 79%
=5

People's Energy

- - 77% -
=5 Powershop - - 77% 74%
=7

Ecotricity

- 75% -
=7

So Energy

- 75% 76%
=9

Bristol Energy

- 73% -
=9

Co-operative Energy

73% -
=9

Engie

- - 73% 71%
=9

Ovo Energy

73% 78%
13

Green Network Energy

- 72% 70%
=14

Tonik Energy

- 71% 63%
=14

Utility Warehouse

71% 71%
=16

Avro Energy

70% -
=16

Flow Energy*

- 70% -
18

Utility Point

- 68% 63%
19

Outfox the Market

- 67% -
=20

Boost Energy

65% 74%
=20

Robin Hood Energy

- - - 65% 70%
=20

Utilita

65% 67%
23

iSupply Energy

- - 64% 60%
=24

E

- 61% 65%
=24

Eon

61% -
=24

SSE

61% 88%
=27

British Gas

60% 80%
=27

EDF Energy

60% 88%
29

Shell Energy

58% 84%
30

Npower

57% 85%
31

Green Star Energy

55% 78%
32

Ampower

53% -
=33

Scottish Power

51% 84%
=33

Spark Energy

51% 71%
35

Together Energy

- - 48% -

Table notes

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
  • pricing.

Who's top of the Which? energy survey?

Octopus Energy tops the table for customer satisfaction for the second year running, followed closely by Ebico, Bulb and Pure Planet.

Taking into account other factors we look at, including an assessment of their policies and procedures, 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. 

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.

Scottish Power is the lowest-scoring among them, finishing in joint 33rd position. Only one smaller supplier rank below Scottish Power. Npower fares slightly better, in 30th place.  

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 latest 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 2020, we contacted energy suppliers a total of 804 times. We made 384 phone calls to 32 energy companies, sent 420 emails, online form requests and live chat messages.

Which energy companies are quickest?

It may not have done well in our customer satisfaction survey, but Together Energy does pick up the phone quickly. It answered calls to its customers in 51 seconds on average in our latest call waiting investigation, making it the fastest supplier to put us through to a person. 

Overall, five firms put us through to a person in less than two minutes on average.

Four firms, Boost, British Gas, Npower and Orbit, kept their customers waiting more than 20 minutes, with the worst performer, Boost, scoring a median average waiting time of over 40 minutes. 

A further seven firms kept customers waiting more than 10 minutes.

One of these was Which? Recommended Provider So Energy. In last year's investigation it was the fastest to answer calls, with an average median waiting time of 38 seconds. This year it kept customers hanging on for more than 16 minutes on average. 

We will be reviewing So Energy's WRP status, along with all other suppliers, when we have full results from our annual energy survey in early 2021

Together Energy vs Boost: customer service telephone waiting times

In September and October 2020 we made 12 calls to energy companies' customer services teams at set times of the day and timed how long it took us to get through to a human. The times are median averages.

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. 

We can help you save money on your energy bills. Use our independent free switching site, Which? Switch, to find the cheapest energy deal.

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