There’s a common narrative that surrounds the big six energy firms that the only thing they really care about is their profits. Over the years, that’s meant high prices, atrocious customer service records and even worse customer satisfaction levels.
Much of those complaints might still be true, but there’s at least one area which has seen improvement over the last few years – customer service. As more competition has entered the market the big six energy providers have been forced into cleaning up their act, and if Citizens Advice are to be believed, they’re doing just that.
Big six boost
A new league table released by CA has revealed that some of the UK’s biggest energy suppliers are currently amongst the best for handling customers’ complaints.
Related: Who are the Big Six?
SSE, who for a long time were regarded as rather poor on customer complaints, now have the lowest level of complaints in the industry at just 22.5 per 100,000 customers. Meanwhile, other big six members EDF, British Gas and E.On took second, fourth and fifth place respectively.
That’s a strong improvement for the big energy companies, but nothing short of what’s required as upstarts like Ovo Energy and other get established in the market.
Extra Energy, extra complaints
The worst of the 21 firms measured was Extra Energy, a new entrant to the market who had a complaints record that was 80 times greater than that of SSE.
The firm, which was launched in 2014, apologised to its customers and said it was now dealing with more complaints by its internal target of the next working day.
Ben Jones, the firm’s managing director of operations said:
“These figures reflect historic customer service issues that occurred during a period of time where Extra Energy saw our number of customers expand rapidly and unfortunately some of these complaints have taken longer than expected to resolve,”
Complaints to energy companies are typically about late or inaccurate bills or the poor customer service experience many get when they try to contact their energy supplier.
In their report, Citizens Advice said that performance of firms in dealing with their complaints had fluctuated significantly in the first six months of 2016 and that the gap between the best and worst firms was at its widest in five years.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of CA said: “The latest league table shows some suppliers are getting much better at sorting out their customers’ problems, but it’s disappointing to see others getting worse at dealing with complaints,
Patchy and unpredictable customer service affects people in many ways – from the financial stress of being hit with a late bill, to the time wasted trying to get hold of a supplier on the phone.”