Energy company reviews
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 28 of 33
Spark Energy formed in 2007 and was bought by Ovo Energy in 2018. Spark focuses on meeting the needs of the rental market: letting agents, landlords and tenants.
Spark Energy started as a small independent supplier which claimed to offer competitive prices and be better than the Big Six on service. It grew fast and was the first energy supplier to be built around the rental market.
It stopped trading in November 2018 and Ovo Energy subsequently took over supplying energy to its 290,000 customers.
However, because Ovo Energy bought Spark Energy's operating company and brand, customers continue to be billed by Spark and contacted by its customer service staff. Ovo supplies customers’ gas and electricity, but Spark customers' tariffs won't change.
Spark also offers phone and broadband services for tenants.
See how Spark’s prices match up to the rest of the market by comparing gas and electricity prices with Which? Switch to find the best energy deal for you.
Spark Energy customer score
Spark Energy came 29th out of 30 energy companies rated by 7,429 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey. Last year it ranked similarly but in 2017 it finished mid-table
Only Solarplicity's customers rated their supplier worse.
Spark Energy score breakdown
The graphic below shows the breakdown of Spark Energy's score from our latest survey.
Scroll down to find out more about why Spark Energy’s customer score is among the lowest in the survey, plus how its prices compare with other energy suppliers.
Find out how Spark Energy compares with other energy companies – click to see the full results of the best and worst energy companies.
Which? verdict on Spark Energy
Spark Energy is ranked near the bottom of our table of 30 energy firms for the second year running. However, it hasn’t always been rated so poorly by its customers; in 2017 it was ranked mid-table.
Spark scored an unimpressive two stars out of five from customers on every aspect, bar one, of its service we asked about.
It had the joint-worst proportion of customers ranking its bill clarity poor or very poor, along with Solarplicity. A fifth of customers we spoke to gave this verdict.
Customers weren’t much more positive about its customer service. Again, 20% said its online customer service was poor or very poor.
When we put 36 energy companies’ phone lines and online response times to the test in our snapshot customer waiting investigation, Spark Energy was the fastest of the 12 firms that offered live chat. It took just 30 seconds on average to respond to us. The slowest firm took more than seven minutes.
It wasn’t quite as impressive on the phone, however, taking 8mins 14secs on average. Across all 36 firms included the average phone wait time was 4mins 24secs.
On complaints handling, Spark was one of five companies in our survey with more than 30% of its customers rating complaints handling poor or very poor.
Overall, customers were more positive about Spark’s prices, considering it fair value for money. Other firms are rated good, or even excellent, for value for money however.
Spark Energy has grown quickly and, from our years of studying energy companies, we’ve seen rapid expansion as one cause of other firms’ falls from grace. Now it’s owned by Ovo Energy, we’ll be keeping an eye out to see if its service improves.
Pros: Customers consider it reasonable value for money
Cons: It’s one of the worst-performing energy companies for customer satisfaction; it's fairly slow to pick up the phone
Spark Energy electricity sources
Spark Energy in the news
November: Ofgem announced Spark Energy had failed and that Ovo Energy would take on its 290,000 customers. Ovo Energy also bought Spark Energy's brand and operating company, so customers will keep Spark tariffs and continue to be billed by Spark and deal with its customer service staff. But energy will be supplied under Ovo's licence.
Spark Energy is the biggest domestic energy company to go bust to date. Spark Business Utilities is still operating as usual.
It stopped trading just a day after Ofgem begun investigating Spark Energy for failing to make Renewables Obligation payments on time. Suppliers that don’t source the amount of electricity from renewable sources that Ofgem requires must pay into a fund. If Spark Energy doesn’t pay, Ofgem can issue a final order to make it do so.
September: Spark Energy raised the prices of both its variable tariffs. Super Tracker customers saw a 6% increase, customer them £68 more a year on average. Digital Saver v1 customers saw a 9% increase, adding £113 extra a year on average to their bills.