Energy switching – why customer service matters

Attention-grabbing low tariffs can be a good deal, but look deeper than the headline price when shopping around for the best energy deals

Customer Experience Concept, Best rating for Satisfaction present by Hand of Client giving the best Rating

If you’re considering switching energy suppliers before cold winter weather kicks in, make sure you check which suppliers are rated highly by their customers.

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Although finding a competitive tariff should be your top priority, it’s important to make sure you move to a company which has a reputation for good customer service.

If you don’t, you could end up dealing with a supplier which provides late or inaccurate bills, doesn’t connect you when they say you will, or which has metering issues, such as registering the incorrect numbers to your property.

According to the energy regulator Ofgem, customer satisfaction with energy suppliers declined from 74% in the first three months of the year to 73% in the three months to the end of June.

A lack of clarity regarding how bills are calculated remained the most common problem, with 79% of customers saying they are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Look beyond price

So far this year, six energy companies have gone out of business, Economy, Our Power, Brilliant, Cardiff, Solarplicity, and Eversmart, affecting more than 300,000 people.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “There is still a big gap between those firms who provide an excellent service to consumers, and those who are letting people down.

“Attention-grabbing low tariffs can be a good deal, but we recommend looking deeper than just the headline price when shopping around for the best energy deals.

“We’ve seen six energy suppliers go bust this year. In our experience, when a company is struggling, customer service is often the first thing to suffer.”

Energy companies which rank highly for customer service

Only one of the big six energy suppliers, SSE, is amongst the top five energy suppliers for the period from April to June this year, according to Citizen’s Advice. It gives suppliers a star rating based on different aspects of customer service, such as accuracy of bills, call waiting times and complaint handling.

The other suppliers which make it into the top five for customer service are Breeze, Igloo, So Energy and Engie.

At the other end of the table, the suppliers which rank lowest for customer service include Ecotricity, Green Star, TOTO, Utilita and Nabuh Energy.

If you’re switching suppliers through a comparison site, use one which shows a service rating in their tables, so you can save money on your energy and have peace of mind that your new supplier will treat you well and offer good customer service.

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Make sure you check your current tariff’s end date too, as if you move to a new deal before it finishes you may have to pay a cancellation fee.