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10 November 2020

Spark Energy

Spark Energy formed in 2007 and was bought by Ovo Energy in 2018. In 2020 its customers are being moved to SSE. Spark focused on meeting the needs of the rental market: letting agents, landlords and tenants.
Spark energy company logonew_2 449992
Sarah Ingrams

Spark Energy started as a small independent supplier that claimed to offer competitive prices and be better than the biggest firms on service. It grew fast and was the first energy supplier to be built around the rental market.

Ovo Energy has supplied gas and electricity to its 350,000 customers since November 2018 when it stopped trading.

Spark still provides customer service, your tariff, account and bills, though, because Ovo Energy bought Spark Energy's operating company and brand too.

Spark also offers short-term phone, broadband and Sky TV contracts for tenants, as well as shorter-term packages for homeowners.

Spark’s app lets customer submit meter readings, see billing and account history, plus lets you pay your bill and check your gas and electricity usage.

It has a dedicated app for pay-as-you-go customers, Swift, which provides top-up via app for those with smart meters.

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 joint-33rd out of 35 energy companies rated by 7,355 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey. It ranked similarly overall last year.

It shares its position with Scottish Power. Only smaller brand Together Energy was ranked lower.

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 companiesclick 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 35 energy firms again this year. Some 63% of customers in our survey said that they were satisfied or very satisfied with Spark as their energy provider.

This sounds reasonable, but the average across all energy firms included in our survey was 77% of customers satisfied or very satisfied, while the top-scoring firms achieved more than 90%.

Spark scored an unimpressive two stars out of five from customers on every aspect, bar one, of its service we asked about.

It has one of the worst proportions of customers ranking its customer service poor or very poor in our survey. Some 22% gave this response, compared with 10% on average across other firms.

Spark Energy’s best star rating was for how it handles complaints. It gained a ‘fair’ rating.

Data from energy regulator Ofgem shows that Spark received an average number of complaints per 1,000 customers when compared with other brands, in the first half of last year.

It solved three quarters on the same or next working day – a far better record than Together Energy, which ranked lowest in our survey and solved less than a quarter of its complaints in the same timescale.

There’s plenty of room for improvement, however, as a third of Spark’s customers in the survey told us that its complaints handling was either poor or very poor.

Spark’s billing (accuracy and clarity) received a two-star rating, showing that its customers weren’t particularly impressed.

And they were similarly not very enamoured with its digital tools, despite the fact that Spark offers two apps – one specifically for smart prepayment meter customers.

Value for money gained another ‘poor’ rating overall, putting it alongside British Gas, Npower and other big rivals with customers unconvinced that they are getting good value.

When we put 31 energy companies’ phone lines and online response times to the test in our snapshot customer waiting investigation in September 2020, Spark Energy responded to live chat in 3 minutes 2 seconds on average.

This was very slightly faster than the median average of all 18 firms we contacted in this way (3 minutes 6 seconds) but a bit of a drop from last year, when it was the fastest to respond, taking just 30 seconds on average.

On the phone it took 8 minutes 38 seconds before the caller was put through to a human, on average. Across all 31 firms included, the average phone wait time was 5 minutes 57 seconds.

Pros: Reasonably fast to respond on live chat

Cons: Poor customer service, bills and value, according to our survey

Spark Energy electricity sources

Spark Energy in the news

November: Ovo Energy took on Spark's customers after it failed financially. Ovo Energy also bought Spark Energy's brand and operating company, so customers kept Spark tariffs, billing and customer service. Energy is supplied under Ovo's licence.

Spark Energy was the biggest domestic energy company to go bust to date.

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.

Paying too much for energy? Use Which? Switch to find the cheapest gas and electricity.

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