Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Energy firms urged to tackle customer service failings in annual Which? ranking

Energy firms have been urged to improve ‘unsatisfactory’ customer service as several major providers fell to the bottom of an annual league table (Danny Lawson/PA)
Energy firms have been urged to improve ‘unsatisfactory’ customer service as several major providers fell to the bottom of an annual league table (Danny Lawson/PA)

Energy firms have been urged to improve “unsatisfactory” customer service as several major providers fell to the bottom of an annual league table.

While British Gas came bottom in Which?’s annual energy firm survey, the watchdog found there was little to separate the remaining firms with the lowest customer scores – Boost, Scottish Power, Ovo Energy, Shell Energy, EDF Energy and E.ON Next.

At the other end of the scale, Octopus Energy, Ecotricity and E (Gas & Electricity) achieved the highest customer scores.

(Which?)

The watchdog surveyed more than 9,000 energy customers in October for its annual customer satisfaction survey and also assessed 18 energy firms’ behind-the-scenes practices and policies to compile an overall score.

Octopus Energy received an overall score of 73% and was the only firm to achieve a five-star rating for overall customer service.

Ecotricity and E (Gas & Electricity) scored 72% and 71% respectively, and also received four stars for their overall customer service and quality of communications about energy costs.

The findings come as households suffer a price cap of £1,928 a year for the typical household, with prices predicted to remain above pre-2021 levels until the end of the decade.

While fixed deals have been slowly returning to the market, Which? said it had seen few that were significantly cheaper than the price cap, meaning the quality of a firm’s customer service was the major factor in differentiating providers.

British Gas, Boost, Scottish Power, Ovo Energy, Shell Energy, EDF Energy, E.ON Next and British Gas all received customer scores of less than 60%.

However, Which? named British Gas the worst performer overall after factoring in its assessment of its customer service practices, followed jointly by Boost – part of Ovo – and So Energy.

British Gas, which supplies more than a fifth of households in Great Britain, received an overall score of 56% and scored just two stars for most categories, including accessibility – or whether a customer can engage with it effectively, value for money and accuracy of energy payments.

It received three stars – an average score – for customer service overall.

British Gas received just over half marks for customer service and just one point out of 10 for performance against its smart meter targets.

It also received four out of 10 for how it handled complaints, losing points primarily for the volume of customer complaints it received per 100,000 customer accounts in the first half of 2023 in comparison to other suppliers.

Overall, a quarter of people Which? surveyed who had engaged with their energy firm in the last year to get help with a problem said the company had made it difficult.

Which? director of policy and advocacy Rocio Concha said: “With energy prices still punishingly high and limited chances for consumers to save money by switching suppliers, good customer service is more important than ever.

“While Octopus Energy, Ecotricity and E were all named Which? Recommended Providers and scored highly for their customer service, others fell short of customers’ expectations.

Energy bills
The findings come as households suffer a price cap of £1,928 a year for the typical household, with prices predicted to remain above pre-2021 levels until the end of the decade (Jacob King/PA)

“Which? is calling for any providers who are falling short on customer service to up their game and ensure customers are able to contact them easily and get the answers they need.”

An Ofgem spokesman said: “It is more important than ever that energy suppliers are there for their customers which is why we recently introduced a robust set of additional rules to drive up standards of customer service in crucial areas such as call waiting times and proactive outreach and support for customers who are struggling with debt.

“Suppliers must remember that customers who receive poor service can and will vote with their feet and take their business elsewhere.

“Over the past 12 months we have seen a rise in switching as competition slowly returns to the market. People should weigh up all the information, seek independent advice from trusted sources and consider what is most important for them – whether that’s the lowest price, the security of a fixed deal or a higher standard of customer service.”

A British Gas spokeswoman said: “This survey is behind the curve and is based on data that is up to a year old.

“Since that period, we’ve targeted more than £25 million of investment on improving service and customers are seeing a difference – this includes hiring 700 new contact centre agents and extending our opening times.

“We continue to be focused on customer service and helping our most vulnerable customers through our sector leading £100 million customer support package.’’

Which? surveyed 9,025 energy customers in October 2023.